Late tip-in lifts Dayton over Texas A&M 55-53
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) Dayton coach Archie Miller entered the season expecting his young team to go through some growing pains.
But he can live with them as long as the Flyers play with the energy they did in their opening game at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Dayton's Devon Scott tipped in a missed layup with 1 second remaining to help the Flyers overcome a woeful rebounding effort and held Beat Texas A&M 55-53 Thursday.
The Aggies' Alex Caruso got off a 3-pointer as time expired, but it bounced off the side of the rim.
Dyshawn Pierre led Dayton with 14 points. Kyle Davis added 10 for the Flyers (2-0), who were outrebounded 48-25 for the game by the Aggies, including 24-4 on offense. Texas A&M didn't help itself, committing 21 turnovers that led to 20 Dayton points.
''Our defense did predominantly what it was supposed to do. We competed very hard and caused some turnovers,'' Miller said. ''It really saved us because our lack of rebounding, and a lack really of offense. We're a work in a progress. I've been saying it's going to take us some time to really figure out who we are.''
Davis, who had four steals in the first half, said he thinks the Flyers deep run in the NCAA tournament last season will help them this year.
''I think last year the Elite Eight run helped us stay focused in a game. We go down and gather each other and stay together and just try to win,'' Davis said. ''Every time in practice we preach defense, defense, defense...If everybody can see I'm working hard, everybody else can get on the bandwagon the same way.''
Caruso led the Aggies with 17 points. Kourtney Roberson had 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Neither team built more than a six-point advantage in the second half, and Dayton's Jordan Sibert connected on a pair of free throws to tie the game with less than a minute to play.
Caruso then had a layup attempt blocked on the Aggies next possession, setting up Scott's eventual winner.
Play was sloppy on both sides during the first half, and neither team shot above 36 percent from the field. The Aggies enjoyed a 28-10 rebounding edge at half and were up 8 at one point. But the Flyers were able to stay in the game thanks to 15 Texas A&M turnovers.
''We've had a hard time finishing even last year,'' Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. ''I think it's just first game jitters. We had so many opportunities to score layups. And when you get layups at this level, you gotta put them through.''
Texas A&M: The Aggies played away from home for the first time this season.
Dayton: The Flyers are now 26-12 the last seven years against teams from Power 5 conferences and have won nine of their last 11 against SEC opponents. They also improved to 13-0 the past two seasons when limiting opponents to less than 60 points.
Both coaches chalked it up to early season issues, but neither will want to hang on to Thursday's stat sheet. In addition to their turnover issues, the Aggies shot just 18 for 53 for the game (34 percent), compared to just 36 percent for Dayton (19 for 52). Neither team recorded a fast break point.
Dayton's fans traveled en masse to Puerto Rico. During Thursday's opener, several hundred fans filled the lower bowl at Coliseo Roberto Clemente.
Dayton plays the winner of the College of Charleston and Connecticut. Texas A&M plays the loser of that game in the consolation bracket.
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