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Dayton vs. Alabama final score: Josh Cunningham hurt in Flyers’ 77-72 win

This one was much closer than their matchup a year ago.

NCAA Basketball: Dayton at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

When Dayton and Alabama met last year, it wasn’t even close. The Flyers dismantled the Crimson Tide, 81-48 at the Advocare Invitational.

This year, when they met in Tuscaloosa for an afternoon game as part of the annual ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, Dayton had to work a lot harder for the win. With Alabama battling the entire way, the experienced Flyers escaped with a 77-72 victory.

With Dayton up five with 14 seconds left, Alabama’s Ar’Mond Davis banked in an off-balance three to pull within two. But the Crimson Tide couldn’t come up with the foul in the backcourt after that, as Josh Cunningham converted dunk, plus the foul to put the game out of reach.

That play, however, put a damper on what was a key win for the Flyers. Cunningham went down hard after that dunk and had to be carried off the floor. We will have more on his condition when it is available.

Cunningham played sparingly in the first half with foul trouble, but still managed to finish the game with 12 points. Charles Cooke had 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Scoochie Smith led all scorers with 20.

The Flyers played from behind for most of the second half, not taking their first lead of the period until a layup from Cooke with 7:03 left. A three from Smith with 4:40 to go gave Dayton the lead for good.

Corban Collins and Braxton Key each had 15 points for Alabama.

With the win, Dayton moves to 2-0 on the season and will face a tough test in Saint Mary’s at home on Saturday.