Marcus Johnson scored 10 second-half points to lift the Flyers to their 13th win at home.
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DAYTON, Ohio - Senior Marcus Johnson shot 7-for-11 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line for a game-high 16 points to lead the University of Dayton to a 68-54 win over La Salle Thursday night at UD Arena.
The game was also a record-setting one for two Dayton seniors. Kurt Huelsman and London Warren tied the school record with their 125th consecutive game played, tying David Morris, Yuanta Holland and their former teammates Brian Roberts and Jimmy Binnie
Dayton led 32-25 at halftime, but the Explorers made a big charge, knotting the game at 49-all with 8:33 to play. That’s when the Flyers answered the Explorer big charge with an even bigger one of their own. A Johnson fast-break layup started a 19-0 run to clinch the UD win. Johnson and senior Mickey Perry each scored six points in the spurt, while junior Devin Searcy added five.
Dayton improves to 18-7 overall and 7-4 in Atlantic 10 action, just one game out of fourth place in the standings. La Salle is now 11-14, and 3-8 in the A-10. The Flyers are 12-0 when holding their opponent to under 60 points.
Junior Chris Wright contributed 12 points, and now needs just 12 to reach the 1,000-point milestone. He also tied career highs for blocked shots (3) and steals (3). Three Flyers scored nine points; sophomore Chris Johnson sank three triples, Searcy went 4-of-8 from the field and added a free throw, and redshirt freshman Josh Benson shot 3-for-5 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the free throw line.
Dayton shot well from the field, converting 47.4 percent of its shots. The UD bench outscored La Salle’s 42-15. The Flyers also notched a season-high 11 steals and the Explorers’ 21 turnovers was the second-highest forced by UD this season, only behind the 26 miscues by Georgia Tech on Nov. 19, 2009 (UD won 63-59).
UD also distributed the ball well; dishing 20 assists as a team, tying for its second-best performance this season. Senior London Warren led the way with six dimes (against zero assists), while senior Rob Lowery added five assists. Chris Johnson got in on the action with four helpers, as did Marcus Johnson with two, and Devin Searcy, Kurt Huelsman and Mickey Perry adding one each.
Dayton’s 19-0 run came over a five-minute span late in the second-half. Marcus Johnson started the Flyers’ run on a layup with 6:55 left in the game. Following that, the play-by-play looked something like an Explorer wrecking ball: Wright block, Perry trey, Searcy block, jumper Marcus Johnson, steal Warren, layup Searcy from Marcus Johnson, Wright block, jumper Wright, steal Marcus Johnson, dunk Searcy from Lowery, steal Searcy, free throw Searcy, rebound Marcus Johnson, and it was all capped off by a Perry three-pointer and suddenly the Flyers had built a 68-49 lead.
Rodney Green, who led La Salle with 16 points, finally scored with 1:51 left. The only other score the rest of the way was a T.T. Carey trey to make the final 68-54 with 1:05 showing on the clock. The Explorer’s (11-14, 3-8 A-10) Jerrell Williams led all rebounders with 11 rebounds.
The Flyers will next head to Pittsburgh to take on Duquesne this Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN2, carried by WHIO Radio and be available with live stats on Gametracker and streaming audio at www.DaytonFlyers.com. UD notched a 78-72 overtime win over the Dukes at UD Arena in the A-10 opener for both teams earlier on Jan. 9.
Head Coach Brian Gregory
“You have to give John (Giannini) and his team a lot of credit. We described them to our team as a very feisty bunch and they played that way tonight.”
“I thought our initial defense was exceptional tonight. They are able to crash and slash to the weak side to get some rebounds and that is what they did. You have to hold the fort on the backside, and we didn’t do a good enough job of that. Give them credit, our first-shot defense was good and our defensive rebounding did not match that.”
“Our upper class played well off the bench. In the last six minutes they executed well on offense. Offensively, I think we executed well the whole night. “
“In this league, you have to take every single win and be happy with it and then move on to the next game.”
“We are in the top 25 in the country in rebounding differential. La Salle is the best offensive rebounding team in the league. That’s been consistent with all of their players. Because of their offense, they put guys in rebounding positions that they are not accustomed to. Usually your bigs on the inside wedging, and your perimeter guys are on the outside cutting out and flying in. When you are playing them, they invert everything.”
“They have a premier player in the league in Rodney Green. I think that London and Rob did an exceptional job on him today. To force him to 16 points on 23 shots and six turnovers is tremendous. Those two guys get a lot of credit because that is a task and a half.”
“La Salle played extremely hard. They tried to muddy up the game and slow things down. We did some good things by getting a couple of good possessions, a couple of key rebounds and extended the lead.”
“In this league every team and every night you have to come to play. If not, they are going to beat you. La Salle is really talented. We were able to stay focused and come away at the end.”
“I wouldn’t say we were struggling. Those guys like (Rodney) Green and (Aaric) Murray do some different things. They can get to the basket and get the ball down low. They are also long and athletic. We were just putting a lot of guys down there, even our guards, to get the rebounds and get it done.”
“The win is the most important thing, especially down the stretch at this point in the season. Every win counts and every game counts. One more win in the A-10 is big. I know myself personally I didn’t have the best game, but the win is more important. I had to do a lot of things to help my teammates make plays and we were able to get the win. It’s a team win.”
“You take it like you would take any other game. We just have to build on it and not make the same mistakes again.”
“Duquesne is hot right now. They just beat Charlotte at Charlotte. We are going in there on Sunday at 1 and play a lot harder with a lot more energy and focus because they are going to be ready to go.”
“It was a hard win. It was a hard fought game. We knew we had to come out and execute our game plan.”
“They are a really talented team with Green and Williamson and those guys. We just played our style of ball with everyone contributing in their own way and we got the W.”