The great blizzard of 2015 fell short of expectations in Amherst, Mass., dropping about 6 inches of snow. That’s good news for the Flyers, who leave tonight for a Thursday game at UMass.
Nineteen years ago, the Flyers played their first game at the Mullins Center and lost 78-58. They lost again two years later, 85-69.
On its third try, on Jan. 20, 2000, Dayton recorded its first victory at UMass. It’s 4-6 at the Mullins Center. That doesn’t include a 2009 loss at the Mass Mutual Center in nearby Springfield.
Here’s a look back at Dayton’s first victory at UMass. This story is by Bucky Albers, former UD beat writer for the Dayton Daily News.
FLYERS RALLY FOR FIRST WIN AT UMASS
Road win big one for team, Purnell says
AMHERST, Mass. — The University of Dayton Flyers, who looked hopelessly overmatched in the first half, stormed back with a great defensive effort Thursday night and knocked off Massachusetts, 57-52, in front of all-time low crowd of 4,835 at the Mullins Center.
Dayton outscored UMass, 39-22, in the second half, and freshman forward Nate Green sank three free throws in the last 26 seconds to clinch it.
The victory, UD’s first in three tries in Amherst, boosted the Flyers’ overall record to 13-3 and their Atlantic 10 Conference record to 3-1. UD leads the A-10’s West Division.
“This is a big win for us simply because it’s an Atlantic 10 win for us on the road, and those are hard to come by,” UD coach Oliver Purnell said. “And they will remain hard to come by for the rest of the season all over the league. Anywhere on the road is a good win and a difficult one. It can help us if we capitalize on it by playing well at home.”
Freshman Brooks Hall, rebounding nicely from his 1 for 12 shooting performance in the loss at Fordham, led the Flyers in scoring with 13 points, making three of his four 3-point shots. David Morris made two big treys while matching Tony Stanley’s 10 points.
Massachusetts came out playing aggressively on the perimeter, double-teamed UD center Mark Ashman and kept the Flyers from scoring in the first half. Ashman would finish with only 4 points before fouling out with 1:58 remaining.
As bad as the Flyers looked for the first 20 minutes, Purnell assured them that they could win if they kept playing tough defense and stuck together.
And, as UMass coach James “Bruiser” Flint said, “It was like we switched uniforms at halftime.”
After giving up a dunk to start the second half, which put them 14 points behind, the Flyers stormed back to force UMass turnovers on five straight possessions and scored 11 consecutive points. They led, 38-35, with 13:30 left and built the lead to seven (47-40) after Yuanta Holland made a drive and a dunk, Hall buried a trey and Stanley sank a 15-foot jump shot.
UMass cut the deficit to one (49-48) with 4:36 left, but the Flyers fought back as Hall sank a jumper from the side and Morris made a trey, the ball circling the basket before dropping.
Massachusetts had a couple of opportunities to tie the score, but the Minutemen were impatient and jacked up three hurried shots that missed.
After shooting 32 percent (6-19) in the first half, the Flyers made a sizzling 58 percent (15-26) in the second half to finish the game at 46.7 percent. UMass shot 50 percent in the first half and only 27 percent in the second.
The Flyers outscored UMass, 34-29, getting 17 defensive rebounds in the second half.
“We just came together as one and said we weren’t going to lose,” Green said. “Defense and rebounding did it. On the half-court, we stepped up and played them tough.”
“Nate was a key,” Stanley said. “He helped out on defense and created a lot of chaos and created turnovers.”
Point guard Edwin Young, who did a dandy defensive job on Massachusetts’ Monty Mack, was delighted to finally win at UMass.
“This is my senior year, and everything is being completed,” he said. “We’re winning at all the places I haven’t won.”
Mack, who is averaging 19.8 points, was limited to 14. He made 5 of 16 shots – three of which were layups in transition. He was 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc.
Stanley bruised his right knee with 4:26 elapsed and had to go to the bench, but he returned wearing a sleeve on the knee.
Flyer notes: Yuanta Holland, who started 10 games last season, made his first start of the 1999-2000 season against the Minutemen. … When Mark Ashman lined up for the center jump, it was his 104th start, tying Jim Paxson (1975-79) for the UD record for consecutive starts. The school record for total starts, held jointly by Negele Knight and Ryan Perryman, is 115. … Ashman, who has had previous problems with his back and a hamstring, now is undergoing treatment for a sore left foot. He put ice on it after Wednesday’s practice.