DAYTON, Ohio – The University of Dayton Flyers topped the Ole Miss Rebels 62-50 at UD Arena on Friday night. With the victory, the Flyers recorded their sixth consecutive season of at least 10 non-conference wins. UD will enter conference play with a record of 10-4. Ole Miss falls to 9-4 on the season.
Senior Chris Johnson led the Flyers in scoring with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Johnson also tallied five rebounds and five assists. Senior Paul Williams was the only other Flyer in double figures as he scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Senior Luke Fabrizius missed the last three games with a rib injury but returned tonight to score eight points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field. Fabrizius scored all eight of his points in the second half on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. Redshirt junior Kevin Dillard added nine points and a game-high seven assists.
Redshirt junior Josh Benson scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds in the first half, but left the game with 9:29 left in the half with a knee injury. Benson re-entered the game later in the half, but played very briefly before removed for the rest of the game. Benson’s injury will be evaluated on Saturday.
The first half was close throughout with both teams struggling from the field. UD shot just 27.5% (11-for-40) in the first half while Ole Miss shot 39.1% (9-for-23). The Flyers shot 17 more field goals in the first half because they grabbed 14 offensive rebounds compared to just four offensive rebounds for the Rebels. Overall, UD hauled in 18 offensive rebounds and outrebounded Ole Miss 43-33. The 18 offensive rebounds are the second-most for the Flyers in a game this season. UD had 20 offensive rebounds against UNC Wilmington.
The Flyers held a 25-23 lead toward the end of the first half until a Johnson fadeaway three-pointer from the corner went in at the buzzer to give UD a 28-23 halftime lead. That bucket started the run that put Dayton in control as the Flyers also went on an 11-4 spurt to start the second half that ended when Johnson drilled another three with 17:31 remaining in the game.
UD shot just 4-of-16 from the three in the first half but opened the second half by hitting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Ole Miss went on a 10-2 run to cut the Flyer lead to 45-40 with 10:02 left after two free throws by Jarvis Summers and a lay-in by Terrance Henry. The 10-2 run over the span of three minutes and 30 seconds cut a 13-point Flyer lead to just five.
The five-point deficit would be the closest the Rebels would get as UD answered with its own 13-5 burst over the span of six minutes and 32 seconds to push the lead to 13 points once again, 58-45, with 3:30 left in the game.
UD shot 50% from the field in the second half (11-22) and 35.5% for the game (22-62). Ole Miss shot 38.8% from the field (19-49). After shooting just 4-of-16 (25%) from the three in the first half, the Flyers shot 5-of-11 (45.5%) from beyond the arc in the second half. Ole Miss shot just 1-of-10 from the three.
UD had 18 assists in the game compared to just five assists for the Rebels. The Flyers held the edge 13-2 on fast break points. The Flyers connected on 9-of-11 of their free throw attempts (81.8%).
The 16 points by Johnson moved him into 29th all-time in scoring at UD as he passed Ken May and Alex Robertson. In 15 career starts against BCS teams, Johnson has scored in double figures in 13 of them.
The Flyers are now 16-6 against BCS schools in the last five seasons.
UD is back in action against the Saint Louis Billikens on Wednesday Jan. 4 at UD Arena. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.