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Holmes, Dayton rally from 17 points down to beat Nevada

DaRon Holmes Dayton DaRon Holmes - The Canadian Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- — DaRon Holmes II and seventh-seeded Dayton staged a huge March Madness rally, closing with a 24-4 run to erase a 17-point deficit and beat 10th-seeded Nevada 63-60 in the West Region on Thursday.

Holmes, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, finished with 18 points, including a three-point play with 2:01 remaining that gave Dayton its first lead since the first half.

The Flyers (25-7) trailed 56-39 with 7:36 remaining but responded with a 17-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Koby Brea, who finished with 15 points.

Enoch Cheeks' layup with 34 seconds left gave Dayton the lead for good, and he made two free throws for the final margin. He scored 12 points as the Flyers picked up their first NCAA Tournament win in nine years.

Dayton, which made its final seven baskets, will face No. 2 seed Arizona in the second round on Saturday.

Jarrod Lucas scored 17 points, and Kenan Blackshear and Nick Davidson scored 15 apiece for the Wolf Pack (26-8), who took control by closing the first half on a 16-0 run. Nevada appeared to have the game well in hand when it held Holmes without a basket for nearly 14 minutes of the second half.

Davidson and Blackshear both missed 3-pointers just before the buzzer.

The Wolf Pack, who finished second in a strong Mountain West conference, are winless in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since reaching the Sweet 16 in 2018.

Dayton coach Anthony Grant won in March Madness for the first time with the Flyers in his seventh season. He picked up his only previous NCAA Tournament win with VCU in 2007.

Lucas and Davidson each knocked down back-to-back shots to highlight a string of seven straight field goals for Nevada, which turned a 25-18 deficit into a 34-25 halftime lead while persistently denying Holmes the ball.

The Flyers missed four shots and committed three turnovers — including an offensive foul by a frustrated Holmes — during the final five minutes of the first half.

The Wolf Pack ultimately made 11 of 12 shots during a nine-minute stretch spanning the halves.


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