With former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, seated in Moody Coliseum, the Dayton Flyers and Koby Brea put on an impressive show to beat SMU, 65-63, UD’s first true road win on an opponent’s home court in seven years as Brea scored a career-best 22 points on six of eight three-pointers and seven points down the stretch.
Dallas, TX. — Southern Methodist University second-year coach Rob Lanier said before his Mustangs took on the University of Dayton Wednesday night:
“It’s a game we should expect to win.”
He did also say, “I have the utmost respect for them and I know what we’re up against.”
UD hadn’t won a true road game on an opponent’s floor in seven years and they expended every ounce of perspiration to shed that anvil off their shoulders.
“It was our toughness and it is not easy to win on the road,” said UD coach Anthony Grant. “It was our first true road win of the season (and in seven years), so this was huge for our group.
“These are the types of games on the road that good teams find a way to win,” added Grant. “I’m proud that we found a way. We didn’t play great, we had a lot that we can get better at, but we found a way to win.”
Former President George W. Bush and wife, Laura sat in the stands and watched UD’s Koby Brea put on a shooting show.
Brea knocked down six of eight three-point hoists en route to a career-high 22 points. And he was aided by Daron Holmes II, who did everything needed, and more, to score 20 points, grab seven rebounds and dish six assists.
The Flyers trailed by 60-55 with 5:37 left, but that’s when Brea and Holmes took command.
While SMU made 1 of its last 14 shots in the final 5 1/2 minutes, Brea scored seven and Holmes scored three.
Holmes started Dayton’s drive to victory with a drive to the basket and Brea drove to the hoop, cutting SMU’s lead to 60-59.
Holmes tied it, 60-60, with a free throw., but missed the second.
There was a loose ball scrum under the basket that Brea picked up as if picking up loose change and he dropped it into the basket as if putting that change into his pocket. And the Flyers led, 62-60 with 1:44 left.
And Brea wasn’t finished. The Man Who Comes Off The Bench grabbed a missed SMU shot and knocked down the biggest of his six three-pointers and the Flyers led, 65-60 with 1:02 left, a 10-0 UD breakaway.
After hitting the three right in front of the UD bench, Brea turned and said something to Grant.
“The clock shot was running down and we were looking to go inside to Deuce (Holmes),” said Grant. “Brea’s guy was playing off of him and I said, ‘Shoot it, shoot it.’
“So he let it go then turned around and gave us the acknowledgement that, ‘Yes, I was going to shoot it.’ It was a big shot, a big play and we needed every bit of it.”
And it was the biggest shot of the game, probably the biggest of the season (other than Nate Santos’s three-pointer at the buzzer to beat LSU at the Charleston Classic) and certainly the biggest of
Brea’s five-year career at UD.
And the scramble basket Brea scored to give the Flyers a 62-60 lead?
“That was a huge play, a huge play,” said Grant. “You look at the shot clock and there was something like one-point-something left. It was a loose ball. ..and his presence of mind to know the shot clock and to get it off.
“He made two huge plays down the stretch and I’m really proud of him,” added Grant.
SMU’s Chuck Harris gave the Mustangs hope by ending his team’s 0-for-12 slide with a three-pointer off an offensive rebound with 41 seconds left, slicing UD’s lead to 65-63.
SMU had an unbelievable 17 offensive rebounds. . .and the Flyers survived.
Then it became something out of the wild, wild west after SMU drew within two. Zuric Phelps stole the ball from Brea, but fumbled it off his knee and out of bounds.
SMU fouled Nate Santos with 15 seconds left and he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
With a chance to tie it, Phelps missed a driving lay-up when Brea clogged him. But the ball went out of bounds, off the Flyers.
With 3.3 seconds left, Phelps launched a three from the right corner. It clanked off the rim and the Flyers were winners.
Phelps, SMU’s leading scorer on the season, led the Mustangs with 15 points, but he was 6 for 15 and missed his last seven shots, including the two in the dying seconds.
“We made some hustle plays at the end,” said Grant. “It comes down to the little things. They got 17 offensive rebounds, but we fought and clawed and (Enoch) Cheeks came up with some loose balls and huge rebounds at the end.”
It was a constant coin flip as to which team would prevail because there were 19 lead changes and five ties.
SMU scored 23 of its points off 17 UD turnovers and outscored the Flyers on fast breaks, 12-0.
SMU’s biggest lead was seven points and UD’s was five points.
“The second half was really back and forth and our guys did a good job of making adjustments,” said Grant. “We made enough plays. It wasn’t pretty.
“Give them credit for putting themselves in a chance to win at the end and thankfully the shot went off,” he added. “Our guys did a good job of making it a difficult shot.”
The 5-2 Flyers return home to UD Arena Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. to host Grambling.