It took an acrobatic steal, a clever pass and a clutch shot for Dayton to turn a laborious season opener into an exhilarating 81-80 victory.
When Dayton's Khari Price leapt in the air to make a free safety-esque interception of IPFW's inbound pass in the final seconds of Saturday's game, the Flyers still needed two points to force overtime or three to go home a winner. Price made a lunging pass to Kyle Davis and Davis found Jordan Sibert spotted up on the left wing, enabling the Ohio State transfer to bury a last-second game-winning 3-pointer in his first game at Dayton.
Sibert's game winner capped a furious second half in which Dayton frittered away an 11-point lead, trailed by as many as seven and somehow won anyway. Dyshawn Pierre kept the Flyers competitive, scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of action.
IPFW's loss shows the downside to fouling when up three points late in a game: It exposes you to possibilities worse than overtime.
The Mastodons decided to foul holding an 80-77 lead after a pair of Mo Evans free throws with just over nine seconds remaining. It seemed the strategy would work for IPFW when Price split a pair of free throws, but the errant pass changed all that and paved the way for Sibert's heroics.
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