Busting Brackets

Dayton Basketball: 3 takeaways from 1st round win over Nevada

Dayton rallied from a 17-point deficit to stun the Nevada Wolfpack and advance to the Round of 32, where they will face the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats.
Nevada v Dayton
Nevada v Dayton / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Dayton rallied from a 17-point deficit to stun the Nevada Wolfpack and advance to the Round of 32, where they will face the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats.

Arguably, one of the best games on day one of the NCAA Tournament Thursday was Dayton-Nevada in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the Flyers down 34-25 at halftime and down by as much as 17 points with 7:39 left in the game, Dayton strung together a 24-4 to defeat Nevada. This marked the largest comeback in the NCAA Tournament since 2018. Dayton turned to Daron Holmes II, Koby Brea, and Nate Santos when it mattered the most to knock down some clutch shots and defeat Nevada 63-60. With the momentum high for the Dayton Flyers, they'll look to keep this run going and upset the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats of the West region on Saturday.

Here are some quick takeaways from this barn burner.

1. Koby Brea can shoot from the perimeter

Throughout the final minutes of this one, it felt like Dayton could not miss from anywhere on the floor, which allowed the Flyers to jump out to a 24-4 run. Junior guard Brea was a significant reason for Dayton's clutch shooting. With 7:14 to play, the fourth-year guard had three 3s, including one that tied the game at 56-56 with 2:45 remaining. Brea's excellent three-point shooting helped ignite a 17-0 run, leading the Flyers to victory. He finished the game shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range and totaled 15 points. Dayton shot 42.1 percent from range (8-of-19), with Santos, Javon Bennett, and Kobe Elvis contributing one three-pointer.

2. Nevada got too comfortable in the final minutes

Nevada led by seven with 5:06 remaining in the first half, and then Dayton struggled to get things going, missing four shots and committing three turnovers, which allowed the Wolfpack to lead 34-25 at halftime. With the Flyers' poor playmaking and inability to stop Nevada from scoring, it looked like this game had been decided. This would continue into the second half, where Nevada senior guard Jarod Lucas would have 10 of his 17 points in the first 13 minutes to help give the Wolfpack a 56-39 lead; however, this dominance would not continue for much longer. Nevada was scoreless for over five minutes, missing four straight shots and committing three turnovers. The Wolfpack had been 24-0 when having the lead at halftime this season, and a combination of Dayton's defense showing up and clutch shots falling for the Flyers changed the narrative.

3. Don't sleep on the Dayton Flyers against any opponent

This wasn't the first time Dayton came back down by a considerable margin in the second half this season. The Flyers took down LSU in the Charleston Classic in November while being down by 15 minutes and stringing together a run in the final 10 minutes of the game. We can also go back to a more recent come-from-behind victory for Dayton, which was their final regular season game before the Atlantic 10 tournament, where they chipped into a first-half 17-point deficit to beat VCU 91-86 and remain undefeated at UD Arena this season. The score does not matter at halftime for Dayton, as they can match up with any team in the nation if they do everything right on both sides of the floor.

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Looking ahead, the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats will face the seventh-seeded Dayton Flyers in the Round of 32 on Saturday from the Delta Center at a time to be announced. This will be a challenge for head coach Anthony Grant and Dayton, but if there's anything we learned from the Nevada game, you can never count the Flyers out.