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Dayton wins 85-81 in overtime, overcomes Arkansas mad dash to the finish

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Dayton surrenders huge first-half lead, squeezes out overtime win.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It was a big night for Dayton, hosting an SEC team and emerging with an 85-81 overtime victory Wednesday night. And to think, it looked like it would be an easy win from the outset. What changed you ask?

Well, firstly, Dayton jumped all over Arkansas early, going up 21-3 in the game's opening minutes. Nearly eight minutes elapsed before Arkansas scored its second bucket. But a fervent run was coming. The Razorbacks scored 20 of the half's final 27 points, and pulled within four at the break, 38-34. Moses Kingsley scored 16 of his game-high 26 in the first half.

What a night it was overall for the Flyer faithful who saw one helluva game in addition to Dyshawn Pierre's return after a suspension for a sexual assault allegation. Pierre played 33 minutes and put up a line of 11 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. That included a go-ahead bucket with 32 seconds remaining before the Razorbacks responded.

A 1-2 Kyle Davis free throw trip left the game within reach. When it looked like Dayton would still emerge victorious, Arkansas sent a dagger through the hearts of the UD Arena faithful. An Anthlon Bell 3-pointer with one second left sent the game to overtime. Pierre had a chance at a win at the buzzer but no dice.

Two baskets by Kendall Pollard helped get UD going early in overtime, and free throw makes helped the Flyers to secure the win. UD's final 6 points came on free throws though it wasn't without its misses. UD went 7-9 from the line in OT, with Scoochie Smith, Charles Cooke, Darrell Davis, and Pollard all contributing in that respect.

Cooke led the way in the scoring column for Dayton, netting 19 points, which included 4 3-point makes. Five other Flyers finished in double digits, Pollard and Smith (15 both) Kyle Davis (13) Darrell Davis (12) and Pierre (11).

What a win for Dayton in its last game before conference play. After testing itself throughout the early-season slate of games, this team is quite battle-tested for A10 play.