DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Down by a dozen points with only a few minutes left, No. 19 Dayton finally got around to playing shutdown defense.
Scoochie Smith hit a 3-pointer that put Dayton ahead to stay as the Flyers overcame a late 12-point deficit and beat Duquesne 76-74 on Tuesday night.
The Flyers (20-3, 10-1 Atlantic 10) got their eighth straight win by going on a closing 19-5 run. Smith's 3-pointer from the top of the arc put Dayton ahead 73-70 with 46 seconds left. He made a free throw with 2.7 seconds to go, and Derrick Colter's long shot at the buzzer didn't come close.
''To hold them without a field goal for the last 5-6 minutes, that's what it takes,'' coach Archie Miller said. ''We showed the ability to dig down on a bad night.''
After Micah Mason's 3-pointer gave Duquesne a 69-57 lead with 5:50 left, the Dukes (15-9, 5-6) missed their last six shots and had four turnovers as they failed to get another field goal.
Mason had 27 points for Duquesne, but threw the ball away with 21 seconds left to help Dayton hold on. Derrick Colter had 19 of his 21 in the second half.
''They get a couple points and the crowd goes crazy and it gives them momentum,'' Mason said. ''We were up 10 with about 4 minutes to go and we let up a little bit. We didn't get as good as shots, had the turnovers - including mine - at the end, and then it's a tough one for us tonight.''
Charles Cooke led Dayton with 22 points and Smith added 14.
Dayton took the court with its highest regular-season ranking since Nov. 19, 2009. The Flyers hadn't been ranked so highly this late in the regular season since Feb. 15, 1968.
They needed their home-court advantage to pull it out. They have won 35 of their last 36 at home, and have won 20 straight A-10 games at Dayton Arena.
''It shows where we are mentally,'' Cooke said. ''It was grind-it-out game. It was a toughness win.''
Mason missed the Dukes' 66-58 loss to the Flyers on Jan. 2 with an ankle injury. He made the difference early, hitting his first three shots from beyond the arc and his first five overall. He had 13 points as the Dukes pulled ahead 28-16, making 12 of their first 17 shots overall against the A-10's stingiest defense.
Sam Miller had two 3s and a follow-up basket as Dayton went on an 11-0 run. The Dukes went more than 4 minutes without a basket, helping Dayton pull into a 35-35 tie at halftime.
The Flyers opened the second half with a 10-2 run featuring a layup, a free throw and a 3-pointer by Kyle Davis.
Colter, the Dukes' leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, made only one of his six shots in the first half. He rallied the Dukes after Dayton's opening run in the second half, making two 3s and a three-point play as the Dukes pulled ahead 56-53 midway through the half.
Two 3-pointers by Mason pushed the lead to 69-57 with 5:41 to go, but the Dukes couldn't hold on.
''We got up by 10 and all of a sudden they really locked in defensively and went after Micah and (Colter) and changed the momentum big-time,'' coach Jim Ferry said.
Ferry got a technical foul while yelling at referee Tony Chiazza after one of the Dukes was called for a foul with 3:48 left in the first half.
Duquesne: The Dukes are 47-119 all-time against ranked teams. They beat No. 10 Saint Louis 71-64 on Feb. 27, 2014, and lost to No. 17 VCU 70-64 on Jan. 17, 2015, in their last two.
Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre had only six points, ending his streak of nine consecutive games in double figures. Pierre missed the first part of the season under a university suspension, but has played in the last 12 games, starting 10.
Duquesne: Hosts Massachusetts on Sunday.
Dayton: Plays at Rhode Island on Friday.
Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay