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Flyers ruin Grant’s return to alma mater; dump Alabama 74-62

DAYTON, Ohio – Senior Chris Johnson scored a season-high 20 points and senior Josh Parker added a season-high 17 points to lead the University of Dayton in an upset of No. 16/15 Alabama 74-62 Wednesday night at UD Arena in front of a crowd of 13,102.

The game saw the return to Dayton by Alabama head coach Anthony Grant, who played for legendary Flyers coach Don Donoher from 1983-1987. The 45-year-old Grant has also been a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth. He received a warm welcome and standing ovation when recognized by the public address announcer during the introduction of the Crimson Tide starting lineup prior to tip-off.

Anthony Grant arriving in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2009 (photo by Rtr10 via wikipedia commons)

Junior Kevin Dillard chipped in 14 points, six assists and a career- and game-high eight rebounds for Dayton. Redshirt junior Josh Benson was the fourth Flyer to score in double figures with 11 points.

The Flyers improve to 6-3 overall, while the Tide are now 7-2, losing their second consecutive game after falling 57-55 to Georgetown on Dec. 1.

Prior to defeating the nationally-ranked Tide on Wednesday, the Flyers’ last win against a ranked opponent was No. 14 Xavier, 71-58, on Feb. 11, 2009 at UD Arena. Dayton has now won nine of their last 10 games against BCS opponents and is 15-5 in the last five seasons against BCS foes.

Alabama scored the first basket of the night and led 6-4 with 17:13 to play, but Johnson’s jumper with 16:54 to play evened the score and Matt Kavanaugh’s free throws at 15:46 put the Flyers up for good. In fact, UD went up by as much as 16 in the first half, 38-22, after a Johnson three-pointer at the 2:07 mark.

The Tide closed out the half with a 5-0 run, but Dayton led 38-27 at the break. The Flyers shot 64 percent with Parker leading the way on 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc for a team-high 12 points at the half. Benson was also automatic, knocking down 4-of-5 field goal attempts.

The Crimson Tide shot just 39.3 percent in the first period. Tony Mitchell paced Alabama with 12 at the half. UD and Alabama were even in three major categories at the break: rebounds (13), turnovers (6) and assists (8).

Dayton’s largest lead of the game was by 17 points after a Benson jumper gave the Flyers a 46-29 lead with 17:33 left in the game.

Alabama got within four points (57-53) with 7:42 to play, but the Flyers hit 4-of-5 from behind the arc down the stretch to pull away, including back-to-back treys by Dillard to boost Dayton’s lead back to double digits.

Dillard knocked down 3-of-4 free throws to give Dayton a 15-point lead, 74-59, with 41 seconds to go.

The Flyers are only the third team to put up 60+ points against the Crimson Tide this season.

 

Portions of article aided from Dayton athletics game press release

PHOTOS AND PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO IN OUR NEXT REPORT FROM THE GAME

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