It came down to making a wide-open three-point shot. Once again, No. 13 Kentucky just couldn’t make it.
The Wildcats blew a 10-point lead with turnovers and Tayshaun Prince missed an uncontested three-point shot at the buzzer Monday night as Dayton rallied for a 68-66 victory at Cincinnati, its first over Kentucky since 1955.
Tony Stanley scored 23 points and made two clutch three-point shots down the stretch as the Flyers improved to 4-0 for the first time in 17 years.
“I think this win will do us a little bit of justice and get some recognition for our team,” said Stanley, who made five of six three-point attempts. “We wanted this win and I think this definitely helped put us on the map and turn some heads.”
The Flyers also ended their history of searing losses in Cincinnati, where they’d been defeated in 25 consecutive games to various teams since the 1981-82 season. They’ve struggled anywhere on the road over the last few years.
“The myth is over, the jinx is over,” said Mark Ashman, who had 15 points and a team-high six rebounds. “It was probably more our mind-set, but we changed that. We decided we could win on the road and now we have.”
Kentucky, coming off a loss to Arizona in the finals of the Preseason NIT, built a 10-point lead with 14:33 to play and then crumbled under the weight of its turnovers and its inability to hit a long-range shot.
The Wildcats had 20 turnovers against Dayton’s sticky man-to-man defense and its fluid zone. They also went only two of 13 on three-point attempts, which has been their weak spot so far.
“I think we’re just uptight,” Coach Tubby Smith said. “We had open looks, shots that I thought were not hotly contested. We just weren’t able to knock them down. That’s been with us a few games now.”
Stanley’s three-point basket put Dayton ahead for the first time, 58-55, with 4:54 left, and his three-pointer after a long rebound made the score 63-57. Kentucky had a last chance to pull the game out after Edwin Young missed a free throw with seven seconds left, but Prince’s final shot bounced away.
“I felt like it was going in, but it didn’t,” said Prince, who fell to the floor after watching it bounce off the rim. “If the shot’s open, you’ve got to take it.”
Kentucky led the entire first half but couldn’t push the lead to more than eight points because of Dayton’s tough defense.
The Wildcats moved ahead, 52-42, with 14:33 left, then crumbled. They had three turnovers during an 11-point run that gave Dayton its first lead of the game.
“That was the breaking point, the cracking point, yet our guys held their composure and continued to defend,” Dayton Coach Oliver Purnell said. “If you let down defensively there, the game’s over at that point.”
Kentucky had an opening to pull away in the first half when Ashman, Dayton’s top front-line player, went to the bench with his second foul five minutes into the game. But Jamaal Magloire lost his cool and Kentucky lost its chance.
Magloire shoved Stanley hard with his hip long after the whistle, drawing a technical foul only 20 seconds after Ashman left the game. Magloire also headed to the bench with his second foul, and neither played again in the half, which ended with Kentucky ahead, 39-33.
No. 5 Connecticut 89, Coppin State 44--Khalid El-Amin scored 18 points and Souleymane Wane had 10 rebounds and three blocks as the Huskies (4-1) overpowered the Eagles (0-5) at Hartford, Conn.
The Huskies’ size in the post--6-foot-11 players Wane and Jake Voskuhl and 6-10 Ajou Deng-- kept their smaller opponents from getting rebounds and forced several turnovers. The three players combined for 19 rebounds and four blocks. Connecticut is averaging six blocks a game.
No. 10 Temple 69, Florida State 58--Lynn Greer scored 20 points and the inside defense of the Owls (2-1) smothered the Seminoles (2-2) at Tallahassee, Fla.
Sophomore Kevin Lyde had eight of Temple’s 13 blocked shots. Florida State made only 29.9% of its shots.
No. 11 Florida 131, New Hampshire 72--Mike Miller scored 19 points and the Gators (4-1) set a school record for points in a rout of the Wildcats (1-3) at Gainesville, Fla.
Florida’s previous high in points was 121 against Roosevelt College in 1975. Six players scored in double figures for the Gators.
No. 14 Syracuse 83, Colgate 49--Jason Hart scored 18 points and Etan Thomas blocked six shots to set a Syracuse career record as the Orangemen (4-0) dominated the Red Raiders (2-2) at Syracuse.
Thomas’ 332 blocked shots surpassed the previous school record of 327 by Roosevelt Bouie.
Syracuse blocked 12 shots overall.
No. 15 Ohio State 74, Vermont 51--Michael Redd overcame shooting problems to score nine points in a 17-2 second-half run as the Buckeyes (1-1) turned back the Catamounts (0-4) at Columbus, Ohio.
Redd had missed 18 of 24 shots in Ohio State’s opening loss to Notre Dame and the first half against Vermont, but made all three of his shots in the decisive second-half run.
No. 18 Tennessee 102, South Florida 90--Tony Harris scored a career-high 29 points, including five three-point baskets, to lead the Volunteers (4-0) past the Bulls (0-2) at Knoxville, Tenn.
No. 20 Utah 74, Stony Brook 45--Alex Jensen and Nate Althoff each scored 13 points to lead the Utes (2-1) over the Seawolves (0-5) at Salt Lake City.
No. 25 Gonzaga 73, Washington State 63--Casey Calvary scored 19 points as the Bulldogs (3-0) held off a late rally by the Cougars (2-2) at Spokane, Wash.
The sloppy game featured 56 fouls and 36 turnovers.