Point guard Kevin Dillard’s 16 second-half points helped the University of Dayton Flyers snap Murray State’s 16-game road win streak by defeating the Racers 77-68 on Saturday afternoon at UD Arena. Dillard, who was not cleared to play until Saturday morning due to back spasms, had a double-double of 18 points and 10 assists.
Dillard’s running mate at guard, Vee Sanford, scored a career-high 23 points as the Flyer starting backcourt combined for 41 points and 13 assists. UD improved to 9-3 while Murray State falls to 9-2.
Both Dillard and Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan were named to the 2013 Bob Cousy Award watch list on Thursday. Canaan, who is a Preseason First-Team All-American, led Murray State with 20 points, but the Flyers held him to just 4-of-14 shooting from the field (1-for-4 in the final 10 minutes of the game). Canaan scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half after going a perfect 9-of-9 from the foul line. Dillard had eight assists in the first half, but was held without a field goal and scored just two points.
But Dillard took over in winning time, scoring 16 of Dayton’s last 20 points over the final 6:17 of the game. The game featured 13 leads changes and eight ties, and with the scored tied for the final time 57-57, Dillard put the Flyers on his aching back. He broke the tie with a driving layup, and assisted on a Khari Price that gave Dayton the lead for good. And then Dillard scored nine straight points to push UD’s advantage to nine points with 55 seconds to go.
Murray State started the game with three dunks to take a 6-2 lead over UD with 17:46 left in the first half. A pair of Canaan free throws gave the Racers a 26-22 lead with 7:39 remaining in the first half, but then the Flyers tied the game at 26 after Dillard wrapped a pass around Ed Daniel to find an open Alex Gavrilovic for a lay-up.
A three from Matt Derenbecker in the corner off of a Sanford feed gave UD a 34-33 lead with 3:15 left in the first half. Murray State answered with an 8-0 run to take a 41-34 lead with 2:00 minutes left in the first stanza. The Racers led 41-36 at halftime.
A jumper by Brandon Garrett gave Murray State a 55-50 lead with 12:02 remaining. UD countered with a 5-0 run after Sanford had a fast break dunk to tie the game at 55 with 9:37 left. A Dillard lay-in around Daniel with 6:17 remaining gave UD its first lead, 59-57, since the 3:15 mark of the first half. Murray State would regain the lead (60-59) on a three by Dexter Fields with 4:36 left in the game.
UD then went on a crucial 8-0 run, over the span of 51 seconds, where they would take the lead for good. The run consisted of a Khari Price three-pointer, a Robinson lay-in on a fast break and a Dillard three-pointer after Daniel missed a dunk for Murray State.
Dillard made two crucial off-balance shots to give UD a 69-62 lead with 2:28 left to secure the victory. The Flyers made their free throws down the stretch, finishing a perfect 6-of-6 in the last minute.
Devin Oliver grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with six points. Oliver has now hauled in at least 10 rebounds in three of the last four games. Matt Derenbecker finished with 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Derenbecker is shooting 13-of-21 (.619) from three-point range in the last four games.
Overall, the Flyers shot 44.6% (25-of-56) from the field while Murray State shot 40.0% (22-of-55). UD had 19 assists on 25 baskets and forced the Racers to commit 16 turnovers. Dayton’s bench outscored Murray State’s bench 26-8.
The Flyers will take an eight-day break to celebrate the Christmas holiday. They will be back in action on Sunday, Dec. 30 at USC. Tip-off from the Galen Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.