The two games Xavier won over Dayton in the regular season were decided by a total of 9 points. So it’s not a surprise that the #9 seeded Flyers hung with the Musketeers. What is surprising is that it took Xavier until the final minute of the game to take their first lead of the day.
On a Tu Holloway free throw, the Musketeers took a 67-66 lead with 23 second left. Dayton would miss their shot but Luke Fabrizius got the rebound and was fouled on the floor. He hit the first free throw to tie it, drawing a Xavier timeout with 5.8 remaining. When he made the second, Holloway tried a running NBA range three but it clanked off and the Flyers moved on.
Dayton shot better, handled the glass better, and went to the line more. But Xavier was pesky and forced enough turnovers to even the score late in the game. Holloway scored 23 and fellow guard Mark Lyons added 14 for the Musketeers.
But it was the balanced scoring attack of Dayton, specifically Chris Johnson and Chris Wright that put the Flyers over the edge. They’ll face the winner of Duquesne and St. Joe’s for a chance to go to the A-10 Championship and steal an automatic bid. Xavier should still be looking at a 5 seed in the tournament and will be a dangerous team to anybody who draws them, including a 1-seed.