Who are the Dayton Flyers? Arizona’s NCAA Tournament opponent looking for upset

Mar 22, 2024, 12:34 PM | Updated: 2:29 pm

The Dayton Flyers celebrate defeating the Nevada Wolf Pack 63-60 in the first round of the NCAA Men...

The Dayton Flyers celebrate defeating the Nevada Wolf Pack 63-60 in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Delta Center on March 21, 2024 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Fresh off a comeback victory against Nevada on Thursday, the No. 7 seed Dayton Flyers will look to continue their momentum against No. 2 Arizona on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Valley native DaRon Holmes II had 18 points and nine rebounds in Thursday’s 63-60 comeback win in which the Flyers trailed by 17 with 7:39 left.

“Was never a doubt in our minds,” Holmes said. “We went down a lot. There might be times where we argue on the floor, but at the end of the day we know we have each other. That’s what matters. If you want to win big games, you got to stick together, just with anything.”

Holmes was born in Goodyear and originally attended Millennium High School (where he was named the Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior) before playing his senior season at AZ Compass Prep in Chandler.

The junior forward is averaging 20.3 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 54.7% from the field during the season. Only three times this year has he failed to score in double figures. The Goodyear native recorded his 13th consecutive game with at least 10 points on Thursday.

“We have a team that can get hot at any moment, even by metrics, if you just look at it,” Holmes said. “We did a very good job with that. We got hot when we got hot. We stuck together. That’s what happens.”

The Flyers, who finished Thursday’s game on a 24-4 run and made their final seven shots, will look to stay hot against the Wildcats.

Dayton is a team that is known to stick around and also produced two similar comebacks earlier this season. The Flyers beat LSU 70-67 in November after overcoming a 15-point deficit. Dayton also trailed VCU by 17 in the first half of the team’s final regular season game before coming back to beat the Rams 91-86 in overtime.

Dayton went 25-7 in the regular season and 14-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Flyers, who hold a No. 23 NET ranking, have a 4-4 Quad 1 record, a 5-3 Quad 2 record, a 9-0 Quad 3 record and a 6-0 Quad 4 record.

The Flyers are also led by fourth-year guard Koby Brea, who finished with 15 points in Thursday’s win. Brea made all three of his 3-pointers down the stretch for the Flyers. The A-10 Sixth Man of the Year leads the nation by shooting 49.7% from behind the arc.

“Honestly, my teammates looked at me. They were like, we don’t care if you shoot it contested, we need you to shoot the ball,” Brea said. “When I had that kind of confidence from my teammates, that trust and belief, I feel like the only thing I can do is just pay it back to them.

“It’s really easy for me to do those things when I have that kind of trust from my teammates. They make it really easy for me.”

The Flyers lost in the A-10 quarterfinals to Duquesne, which went on to win the A-10 Tournament and later defeated No. 6 BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, giving the A-10 two teams in the second round for the first time since 2016.

The last time Dayton reached the second round of the tournament was 2015 when Archie Miller (former Arizona coach Sean Miller’s brother) was in charge.

The Wildcats won two of the three previous meetings with Dayton, but the Flyers won the only postseason meeting between the two schools. Dayton beat Arizona in the 1951 NIT. The most recent matchup was a 76-59 Arizona win in the semifinals of the 2000 Maui Invitational. The two teams also met in Hawaii in 1991 in what resulted in another comfortable Arizona victory.

The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 28 against either No. 3 Baylor or No. 6 Clemson.

Time and TV channel for Arizona vs. Dayton in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament

Arizona will take on Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. MST on CBS. Arizona is a 9.5-point favorite.

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