Dayton players, including Xeryius Williams (20) and Charles Cooke (4) celebrate after beating Vanderbilt in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Dayton upset Vanderbilt 72-67. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey
December 10, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Dayton coach Archie Miller has seen his Flyers not respond before when an opponent jumped out ahead. This time, they fell behind by 16 points in the first half in an old gym where comebacks are tough.

The Flyers couldn't have answered much better.

Kendall Pollard scored a season-high 21 points, and Dayton rallied to upset No. 21 Vanderbilt 72-67 on Wednesday night in what Miller called a ''terrific'' win.

''The end of the first half was really important,'' Miller said of a run that started with 2:35 left. ''It gave us some confidence at halftime, and I thought once we got our offense in front of our bench it was a little easier to control it, and some guys got some baskets to go in and we had some confidence.''

The Flyers (7-1) now have beaten three teams from the power five conferences this season, with previous wins over Alabama and Iowa. They have won two straight since being routed 90-61 by Xavier.

The Commodores (6-3) not only blew a big lead on their own floor in their second straight loss, but will be without top shot blocker Luke Kornet for four to six weeks after he tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in practice Monday.

Coach Kevin Stallings called Kornet probably the most physical player on their team.

''We got to play harder,'' Stallings said. ''We came out the start of the second half and I mean literally on defense we were walking around. Literally.''

Scoochie Smith added 13 points, and Steve McElvene added 10 as Dayton shot its way back into the lead despite just seven points from leading scorer Charles Cooke.

Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones scored 18 apiece for Vanderbilt, which hit just two of its final 10 shots. Matthew Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance each added 11 points.

Pollard hit just the fifth 3-pointer of his career with 44 seconds left to help seal the upset for Dayton, matching the Flyers' biggest lead. Smith missed two free throws with 36 seconds left, and Fisher-Davis hit a 3 from the left corner with 25 seconds left to pull Vandy within 69-67.

Baldwin missed a layup for Vandy, and the Flyers hit three of four free throws in the final 12 seconds.

Vanderbilt took its biggest lead at 38-22 off a 12-2 run. Darrell Davis answered by scoring the next eight points starting a 23-6 run that spanned halftime and put Dayton ahead 45-44 early in the second half on a layup by Cooke.

The Commodores missed eight of their first nine shots in the second half before Jones threw down a one-handed dunk and hit the free throw to put Vandy back up 47-45 with 13:50 left.

TIP-INS

Dayton: Dayton has won 12 of 15 against the SEC and is 28-11 against power five schools over the past nine years. ... Miller now is 22-7 in December.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores were leading the SEC by holding opponents to 34.6 percent shooting, including 29.1 percent from 3-point range. But Dayton shot 59 percent in the second half (16 of 27). ... Stallings said freshman guard Camron Justice is out until sometime in January with an injured groin.

KEY STATS

The Flyers outrebounded Vanderbilt 41-31, including a 15-7 edge on the offensive glass. That led to a 17-2 scoring edge in second-chance points.

QUOTABLE

''It's unacceptable for a Top 25 team to lose two games in a row, especially losing here on our home court like that,'' Baldwin said.

UP NEXT

Dayton hosts Chattanooga on Saturday.

Vanderbilt gets a 10-day break before hosting Wofford on Dec. 19.

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