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Miami RedHawks vs. Dayton Flyers Basketball Final: 'Hawks Just Miss Upset With Second Half Surge, Fall 66-62

RedHawks come back from 16 points down but cannot quite pull off a win over the Dayton.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

With ten minutes left in the second half, the Dayton Flyers held a sixteen point lead over a seemingly tiring Miami squad. The RedHawks, however, were not to be counted out. Led by junior guard Willie Moore, who had fourteen points and was 4-for-5 from 3-point range, Miami mounted a valiant comeback to make it a game again.

The RedHawks had opportunities late, as a full-court man press startled the Flyers and caused turnovers. Aided by 3-pointers by Moore, senior guard Will Sullivan, and junior guard Eric Washington, as well as a huge block by junior forward Chris Bryant, Dayton found themselves flustered and needing to quell the impending comeback attempt.

Down 61-56, Dayton turned the ball over from the zone, but Sullivan, who has been reliable from behind the line all year, was unable to knock it down and the ball went out of play. Immediately after, Moore stole another inbounds pass off the press, but could not handle the ball and it rolled out of bounds.

"They had two steals in their hands that went out of bounds," Dayton head coach Archie Miller said. "They capitalize on those two steals and I'm not sure we win the game."

Miami was forced to foul and free throws knocked down by sophomore Scoochie Smith as well as juniors Dyshawn Pierre and Devon Scott put the game away.

"Eventually you have to ice a game on the road from the line and that's what we did," Miller said.

The fatal flaw for the RedHawks was the turnovers, as Dayton scored 25 points resulting from giving up the ball. Washington had six turnovers Miami.

"We've got to get better in the first half," RedHawks coach John Cooper said following the game. "We have too many turnovers and it's really hard to overcome that against a very good team. I thought they did a good job of making us pay for our mistakes in that first half."

Leading all scorers was Dayton sophomore Kendall Pollard with fifteen points.

The close loss drops Miami to 2-5 on the year. While the turnovers remain an issue for them, the chemistry looked much better. For a team with as many new players as the RedHawks have, this is an inevitable growing pain. Miami's second half performance against Dayton shows a glimpse into the talent on the team.

"I like Miami's team and I like what Coach Cooper does," Miller said. "As those new players learn how to play with one another and get some chemistry going around conference time, they'll be a tough out."