DAYTON (AP) — DaRon Holmes II scored 18 points and No. 21 Dayton shook off a loss at unranked UNLV with a 60-51 victory over cold-shooting Robert Morris on Saturday.
Mustapha Amzil came off the bench to add 12 points for the Flyers (3-1), who shot 42.1% from the field, compared with 34.5% for the Colonials.
“I think the story of the game was our defense,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “We set the tone early and were able to build a lead. For the first 12-13 minutes, we were really good. Then we got out of rhythm offensively. We had a lull. One of our strengths has to be that we maintain consistency. They attacked our man-to-man, so we switched to a zone. I think, down the stretch, our defense carried us.
“When you have a low level of consistency but your defense is in position, you have a good chance to win every night.”
Enoch Cheeks scored 15 points and Josh Corbin added 12 to lead Robert Morris (2-2), which had won two straight games.
The Colonials pulled to within six, 41-35, on Corbin’s 3-pointer with 12:41 left in the game, but Dayton regained command with a 7-0 run that started with back-to-back dunks by Toumani Camara and Holmes before Amzil connected on a 3-pointer with 7:59 remaining.
Camara finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Dayton’s defense limited Robert Morris to 20-of-58 shooting, including 7 of 22 (31.8%) on 3-pointers. The Colonials went into the game shooting 48.4% overall and 44.9% from beyond the arc.
Amzil and Holmes were a combined 12 of 16 from the field in a game the Flyers led the entire way.
The Colonials missed 13 of their first 16 shots, helping Dayton lead by as many as 15 points, 24-9, with 7:35 left in the first half. Holmes capped a 15-2 run with five straight points on a breakaway dunk off a Robert Morris turnover and a 3-pointer.
Dayton then went cold, missing eight straight shots, including six 3-pointers. That allowed the Colonials to creep within six points twice before halftime before Amzil sank a 3-pointer for a 30-21 halftime lead.
Dayton blew a 12-point lead in a 60-52 loss to UNLV on Tuesday night.
“That’s something we have to remember,” Amzil said. “That was a bad performance, but at the same time, we had to put it out of our minds and forget that. Good thing we didn’t have much time to think about it.”
Dayton’s Malachi Smith said he felt more nervous than rusty after going 2 of 8 overall and 0 of 2 on 3-pointers in his first game of the season. Smith had been sidelined with a right ankle injury. He finished with five points and three steals.
Robert Morris: The game was the first of seven straight for the Colonials away from home, including four true road games and three at neutral sites. They don’t play at home until Dec. 10.
Dayton: The Flyers’ starting lineup included one junior (Camara), two redshirt sophomores (R.J. Blakney and Kobe Elvis) and two true sophomores (Holmes and Smith). Amzil also is a redshirt sophomore.
Robert Morris: The Colonials travel to Savannah, Georgia, to face Mercer in the Hostilo Hoops Community Classic on Friday.
Dayton: The Flyers face Wisconsin on Wednesday at the Bad Boy Mowers Battle4Atlantis in the Bahamas.
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