Dayton plays Connecticut at 2:30 p.m. (Ohio time) today in the semfinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Thirty four years ago, the Flyers beat the Huskies 76-75 in overtime at UD Arena in the NIT. Fourteen years ago, the Flyers improved to 2-0 all time against the Huskies with a 80-66 victory at the Maui Invitational.
Here’s a look back at that game on Nov. 20, 2000, with stories from former Dayton Daily News UD beat writer Bucky Albers
A1 news story
MAUI, Hawaii — The University of Dayton Flyers lifted themselves squarely into the national college basketball spotlight Monday afternoon with a convincing 80-66 upset of 13th-ranked Connecticut in the Maui Invitational.
Not only was it the most impressive season-opening victory in the history of UD basketball, but it set up a game tonight on ESPN against Arizona, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. Arizona toyed with Chaminade University, the Division II tournament host, 97-57, in Monday’s first game.
“Hey! Isn’t this what Division I basketball’s all about?” 6-foot-6 forward Nate Green asked after scoring 11 points and grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds against UConn players who were several inches taller. “We have the opportunity to play in this game tomorrow (today) and we’re going to do our best.”
Although Arizona’s roster is loaded with the some of the most gifted players in the country, the Flyers showed no more fear of them than they had of Connecticut.
“They’re a real good team,” UD guard Tony Stanley said, “but we can compete for the national championship like anybody else. We’ll be ready to play against them.”
The Flyers had never opened a season against a nationally-ranked team, but they did open last season with a 70-57 upset of New Mexico on its floor in the COSIDA Classic.
Dayton has been unranked in the Associated Press poll, but the UConn victory could change that.
Sports section story
MAUI, Hawaii — After looking at videotape of Connecticut’s season-opening victory over Quinnipiac, the University of Dayton Flyers believed they could beat the 13th-ranked Huskies.
On Monday, in front of 2,500 spectators in sauna-like heat at the Lahaina Civic Center, the Flyers proved their point by thoroughly outplaying UConn en route to an 80-66 triumph in the 17th Maui Invitational.
In doing so, Dayton earned a date with No. 1-ranked Arizona tonight at 9:30 (EST). The game will be televised by ESPN.
The Flyers are convinced that they can compete with the Wildcats, but there is a sobering statistic in the UD media guide. This will be only the 13th time UD has played a team ranked No. 1 in the country by The Associated Press, and the Flyers were able to win on only two of the first 12 occasions. Dayton is winless in nine games against No. 1s during the last 40 years.
That doesn’t take anything away from Monday’s stunning upset of the Huskies.
The biggest question mark about this year’s UD team was how well its undersized post players would fare against taller, stronger opponents. Yuanta Holland, Nate Green and Keith Waleskowski answered that question with solid performances against UConn.
The 6-foot-7 Holland, playing a sensational game, scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed six rebounds.
“Yuanta stepped up big time,” guard David Morris said. “He’s a prime-time player.”
Green fared equally well against the taller UConn big men. The 6-6 sophomore scored 11 points and seized a career-high 12 rebounds to provide another spark for the victory. Waleskowski, a 6-9 redshirt freshman, came off the bench to play 20 minutes and collect 12 points and four rebounds.
“I think we can match up with just about anybody,” guard Tony Stanley said. “We might not have the tallest players in the world, but we’ve got big hearts. These guys are strong and they rebound as well as anybody out there.”
Every one of the Flyers played well. Stanley scored 22 points and gathered five rebounds. Point guard David Morris, darting through a somewhat passive UConn defense, was credited with five assists but set up several free throws for the big men by dishing to them after penetrating in the paint.
Dayton made 50 percent (29-58) of its field goal tries to Connecticut’s 39.7 percent (23-58). The Flyers were particularly effective on defense in the second half, limiting UConn to 33.3 percent (10-30) while shooting 55.6 percent (15-27) themselves. The Flyers fought a good battle on the boards, being outrebounded only 39-35.
The Flyers led most of the game and were ahead by 22 points (74-52) with 6:33 remaining. Dayton jumped to leads of 9-2, 22-11 and 25-13 before UConn whittled away at the deficit and took the lead briefly when a red hot Albert Mouring buried a 3-pointer with 3:11 left in the half. The Huskies had seized the momentum, bu Dayton grabbed it right back to lead, 39-37, at intermission.
At halftime, UD coach Oliver Purnell instructed his team to hit the boards harder.
“You didn’t think it would be easy, did you?” he asked.
Dayton came attacking in the second half and regained control as Hall made his only basket, a well-timed 3-pointer, in a 10-4 run that made it 49-37. The Flyers kept answering UConn baskets with big plays. Holland put UD ahead, 51-43, by driving the lane for a sensational basket with 14:08 left and made it 55-45 with a double-pumping layup at 12:40. After a 12-2 Dayton run, the Flyers were up, 69-51, and it was over.
“We talked before the game,” Purnell said. “Today was the day we were going to establish what kind of team we were going to be.”
The 200 UD fans in the audience liked the result.