What Dayton's 68-67 overtime win over VCU lacked in field goal percentage, it more than made up for in excitement. With the Atlantic 10 Tournament's 1-seed on the line, the Flyers and Rams had a back-and-forth slugfest at UD Arena. Kyle Davis nearly went from hero to scapegoat in the closing seconds.
Davis hit the go-ahead layup with 16 seconds left, then stole the ball and was fouled with six seconds to play in overtime. He went on to miss both of his free throws, giving VCU a shot to win on the final possession. After the Rams advanced the ball and called a timeout, Melvin Johnson got a good look at the game-winning shot but couldn't connect.
Dayton junior guard Scoochie Smith set a new career-high for the second time this week, topping his 26-point performance Tuesday night at Richmond with a 29-point outing against VCU. Smith's 8-for-17 shooting night helped drag the Flyers to a 35 percent shooting night from the field. Smith's 3-for-7 night from beyond the arc was also a step up from the team's 29 night from 3-point range.
Typically a shooting performance like Dayton put up Saturday would be a recipe for disaster, but VCU was dealing with its shooting woes. VCU shot just 34.3 percent from the field, 25 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, and 51.9 percent from the free throw line. The Rams stayed in the game by generating extra possessions with 19 offensive rebounds. Justin Tillman led the way for VCU with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting and 21 rebounds. Seven of Tillman's rebounds came on the offensive glass.
A St. Joseph's loss earlier on Saturday opened the door for Dayton to clinch the top seed in the A-10 Tournament. The Hawks were heavily favored at home against Duquesne, which finished the season 6-12 in Atlantic 10 play, but fell 78-70. St. Joe's entered the game tied with Dayton and St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10 at 13-4, and a game back of 14-3 VCU.
With St. Joseph's — which won its only matchup with Dayton and lost its only matchup with VCU — out of the way, the Flyers had control of their destiny thanks to significantly more favorable tiebreaker scenarios. Even though St. Bonaventure still had a chance to make it a three-way tie for first place, the result of the Bonnies' game wouldn't do anything to affect Dayton's seeding after St. Joe's lost.
In the event of a three-way tie for first place, Dayton's 2-1 record against the Bonnies and Rams gave it the 1-seed. A St. Bonaventure loss would make things even more straightforward: Dayton and VCU would be alone in first and Dayton's head-to-head win in the only matchup of the year would give it the 1-seed.
Dayton opens the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Friday at noon EST against the winner of Thursday's matchup between 8-seed Fordham and 9-seed Richmond in a game televised on NBC Sports Network.
The Flyers played Fordham and Richmond once each and won both contests. Dayton came away with a 64-50 victory at Fordham on January 24 and spoiled Richmond's Senior Night with a second half surge to win 85-84 on Tuesday night.