DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Dayton has started the season well against a difficult schedule, inching toward the Top 25. The Flyers have been doing it without star senior forward Dyshawn Pierre because of a suspension. But not anymore.
Pierre returned Wednesday night to a standing ovation and Dayton closed with a 10-2 run for an 85-81 overtime victory over Arkansas. Pierre scored 11 points and a key basket late in regulation. He entered the game at the 17:28 mark of the first half and played 33 minutes.
''I'm happy for the amount of minutes I played and happy I could help pull out the win,'' Pierre said. ''I was anxious to play.''
Pierre scored 11 points in his first game after he was suspended from school because of a sexual assault allegation by a student. Pierre denied it and was never charged. He was the Flyers' leading scorer and rebounder last year.
''I knew deep down inside I was going to play him as many minutes as I possibly could,'' Dayton coach Archie Miller said. ''It's the only way he's going to get back into a rhythm. To me he looked like Dyshawn. I'm just happy he's back.''
With Pierre out, Dayton (10-2) achieved a No. 10 RPI ranking and a No. 7 strength-of-schedule ranking. The Flyers looked like it as they built leads of 11-0, 19-3 and 30-7. But with four big men picking up two fouls each, the Flyers lost their momentum and Arkansas (6-6) rallied to trail 38-34 at halftime.
The second half saw eight ties and eight lead changes. The stage was set for Pierre, who almost won it for the Flyers in regulation. He scored in the lane to break a 69-69 tie with 33 seconds left. Kyle Davis added a free throw with 6.3 seconds left after missing two with 14 seconds left. But the 72-69 lead wasn't enough. Arkansas leading scorer Anthlon Bell, who had scored only two points, hit a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left to force overtime.
The Flyers tried to make Pierre the hero with a long inbounds pass. He caught it just inside the top of the key, but his shot was wide of the basket.
Dayton outscored Arkansas 10-2 in the last 2:33 of overtime. Scoochie Smith's two free throws with 1.5 seconds finally clinched it for Dayton.
''Just the will to win the game regardless of what happened before,'' said Dayton guard Charles Cooke, who scored a team-high 18 points. ''We just really played our behinds off.''
Moses Kingsley led Arkansas with 26 points.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks got great bench production from guards Anton Beard and Dusty Hannahs. Beard scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and Hannahs scored nine of his 13 in the second half. The Razorbacks' bench outscored Dayton's bench 32-24.
Dayton: Point guard Scoochie Smith played 41 minutes, scored 15 points and had seven assists and five rebounds. Smith, who averages 11.2 points a game, had not scored in double figures the past five games. ... A crowd of 13,455 made for Dayton's first sellout this season.
Dayton put six scorers in double figures. In addition to Cooke's 18, Smith's 15 and Pierre's 11, Kendall Pollard scored 15, Kyle Davis 13 and Darrell Davis 12. Pollard and Cooke just missed double-doubles with nine rebounds apiece.
Miller became the fifth Dayton coach to win 100 games. He is in his fifth season and has a record of 100-49.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks travel to Texas A&M on Saturday for their SEC opener.
Dayton: The Flyers open Atlantic 10 play Saturday at Duquesne.