BROOKLYN – The University of Dayton men’s basketball team pulled away late to earn an intense 78-68 win over Fordham Saturday in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship. Dayton wand VCU will meet for the championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
UD captain Toumani Camara led all scorers with 27 points, making 12 of 13 field goal attempts (and four of five free throws). Camara’s 92.3 FG% set the A-10 tournament single-game record.
Dayton improves to 22-11 on the season, while Fordham is 25-8 and awaits its first post-season invitational call in 32 years.
First Half – Dayton 36, Fordham 33
· Dayton scored first, when Toumani Camara powered up, missed a point-blank shot, layup, got his own rebound and laid it back in.
· He would go on to make his next 11 shots in the game.
· Fordham battled back to take a 15-14 lead with 12:32 to go in the half, but UD scored the next seven points to take a lead the Flyers would keep the rest of the half.
· Dayton’s largest lead of the half was eight (28-20) after an R.J. Blakney three-points at the 5:45 mark, but Fordham was able to get back to a one-possession game in the final two minutes before halftime.
Second Half – Dayton 78, Fordham 68
· The Rams scored first to cut the lead to one, the flyers scored back-to-back buckets to make it a five-point game, and then the Rams scored nine in a row to take a 44-41 lead with 16:30 left in the game.
· The margin was no more than two points in the next five minutes.
· Dayton was able to get to a four-point lead three times between the 11:17 mark and the 6:37 mark, but Fordham had an answer every time.
· With UD ahead 59-58 with 6:13 left in regulation, the Flyers went on a 9-0 spurt to make the score 68-58 with 3:38 left. DaRon Holmes II made the first six points in that run, and then Mustapha Amzil’s three-pointer was a dagger.
· From that point on the Flyers did not allow the Rams to score on successive possessions for the rest of the game, and kept the margin no closer than seven.
BY THE NUMBERS
· Toumani Camara (27 points), DaRon Holmes II (20) and Malachi Smith (11) all scored double figures for Dayton.
· It was the first time since the St. Bonaventure game last season that two UD players scored 20 points in the same game.
· Camara’s A-10 record-setting performance tied the fifth-best mark in UD history, with a minimum of 10 makes). The previous top five were Mike Sylvester and Obi Toppin (both 11-for-11), Mike Kanieski (10-for-10), Dave Colbert (13-for-14) and Sean Finn (also 12-for-13).
· Dayton was 23-for-28 in two-point FGA (.821).
· UD shot .604 (29-48) from the floor in the game, and .700 (14-20) in the second half.
· The Flyers were six of 20 from beyond the arc, with Mustapha Amzil make three of four.
· Amzil led all players with eight rebounds. He was also a game-best +12.
· Malachi Smith was the game leader in assists with seven.
· Mike Sharavjamts returned to action and he had three assists in 10 first-half minutes.
· Smith and Holmes had team honors with two steals each, and Holmes also blocked three shots.
· Dayton and VCU will meet for the third time this season in Sunday’s championship game. Each team won on the other’s home court this season.
· Game time is 1 p.m. ET.