The University of Dayton men’s basketball team defeated rival Xavier 70-59 Saturday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd of 13,435 fans to claim the Blackburn/McCafferty Trophy. Dayton (14-11, 4-7) went 23-of-46 from the field (.500) while holding Xavier (14-10, 7-4) to just 20-of-51 (.392).
UD senior Kevin Dillard led the team with 17 points, four assist and four rebounds, and earned the Blackburn/McCafferty MVP Award.
The Flyers were clutch from the charity stripe, going 21-of-24 for the game. The Flyer bench outscored Xavier’s 35-17.
UD tied the Musketeers on the boards 28-28, breaking a 13-game streak in which Xavier has outrebounded its opponent. Dayton had 22 defensive rebounds, while holding Xavier to just 10 offensive rebounds, a 10-rebound turnaround from the previous meeting.
Josh Benson tallied 16 points, Matt Derenbecker and Dyshawn Pierre scored 10 points each, and Jalen Robinson added nine coming off the bench for the Flyers. Robinson also added seven rebounds to lead UD on the boards.
Dayton took a 34-26 lead into halftime. Robinson and Benson each had seven points to lead the Flyers in the first half. Robinson also added five rebounds. Dillard totaled six points in the first half while Derenbecker and Vee Sanford had five.
The Flyers went 12-of-21 from the field and were a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes of action.
Dayton got off to a hot start, opening the game on a 10-2 run. Overall, Dayton continued to find the open man as seven Flyers scored in the first half. After a 9-2 Xavier run, Derenbecker hit a three to put Dayton up 32-24. Dillard converted two free throws right before halftime to give the Flyers a 34-26 halftime lead.
Xavier pulled within three in the second half but Derenbecker hit a three in transition on an assist from Vee Sanford to put UD back up six. Benson made a free throw followed by Dillard converting a layup and free throw to give the Flyers a double digit lead, 49-39. Benson added another bucket giving UD a 9-0 run.
Xavier was forced to foul down the stretch but UD made its free throws. The Flyers’ largest lead of the game was 14 with 1:23 left in the game. The Flyers are 12-1 this season when leading with five minutes left in regulation.
UD improved to 14-11 overall and 4-7 in the Atlantic 10. Xavier fell to 14-10 and 7-4. Dayton now leads the all-time series 85-75 over the Musketeers.
The Flyers go on the road to face Massachusetts next Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. ET.