DAYTON, Ohio – The University of Dayton men’s basketball took sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference after defeating Xavier, 87-72, on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd at UD Arena.
Junior guard Kevin Dillard was named the Blackburn/McCafferty Most-Valuable Player after scoring 16 points and dishing out nine assists. Junior center Matt Kavanaugh led the Flyers with 20 points and nine rebounds. The Flyers matched a season-high of 87 points for the third time this season and are now 10-1 when scoring 70 points or more.
Dayton (14-5, 4-1 A-10) improves its series advantage over Xavier (13-6, 4-2) to 84-72, including a 33-22 mark at University of Dayton Arena. Dayton has won the last two meetings against Xavier and three of the last four at UD Arena.
The Flyers led by as many as 18 points and, aside from an early 3-0 Xavier advantage, the Flyers led for the entire game. After Xavier took its only lead of the afternoon on a Dezmine Wells 3-pointer, Dayton answered with a 10-2 run and never looked back.
Dayton leads, 84-72
at UD Arena: Dayton leads, 33-22 Last four games at UD Arena:
Kavanaugh paved the way for Dayton’s 46-33 halftime advantage with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, 2-for-2 from the free throw line and five rebounds at the intermission.
UD started the second half with two three-point field goals from Dillard and senior Luke Fabrizius to take an 18-point lead at 52-34 with 17:25 on the clock. Despite Xavier’s 54 percent shooting from the field in the second half, the Flyers held Xavier to a double-digit deficit to close out the game.
Senior guards Josh Parker and Paul Williams joined Dillard and Kavanaugh as the four Flyers scoring in double figures. Parker finished with 16 points, including three 3-point field goals. Williams tallied 13 points while converting on all five trips to the free throw line.
Xavier’s dynamic guard duo of preseason All-American Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons accounted for 41 of the Musketeers’ 72 points and eight of the team’s 12 three-point field goals. Holloway led Xavier with 21 points and five assists, while Lyons finished with 20 points and six assists.
Dayton shot 22-of-28 for the charity stripe (78.6 percent) to Xavier’s 12-of-24 (50.0 percent) day at the line. Coming into Saturday’s game UD ranked third in the conference in free throw percentage (74.6).
The Flyers’ bench out-scored Xavier’s bench 27-16. During Xavier’s four-game winning streak, which came to an end on Saturday, the Musketeer bench averaged 24.3 points per game.
UD returns to action on Wednesday at Saint Joseph’s. Tipoff from Philadelphia is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.