No. 24 Dayton shakes off rust, beats Lindenwood 73-46

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Mustapha Amzil scored 14 points, DaRon Holmes II and R.J. Blakney each had 13 and No. 24 Dayton beat Lindenwood 73-46 in a sluggish opener for both teams on Monday night.

Dayton was without injured point guard Malachi Smith and didn’t play particularly well until late, but it had a large margin for error against Lindenwood, a school from St. Charles, Missouri, that was playing its first game after moving up to Division I.

Kobe Elvis and Mike Sharavjamts each had 10 points for the Flyers, and Toumani Camara had 11 rebounds. The Flyers shot 48%.

“I love the shots that we were getting,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Obviously, it wasn’t one of our better shooting nights, but those are shots we want our guys taking. I love that we didn’t allow missed shots to impact the intensity we played with on the defensive end.”

Chris Childs had 15 points for the Lions, who shot 33% from the field.

Sharavjamts, the first native of Mongolia to get a D-I basketball scholarship, opened it for the Flyers when he hit a 3-pointer, then Blakney hit one as part of Dayton’s opening 10-2 run. By the Flyers didn’t make another from long range until Zimi Nwokeji connected with 7:09 left in the game.

Dayton led by as many as 17 points in the first half and had a 35-21 advantage at halftime.

Lindenwood scored the first five points of the second half but then went ice cold. The Flyers weren’t much better but finally ripped off a 17-2 run late and cruised the rest of the way.

“It was a good game from us, played the way we wanted to play, able get to get the lead from the beginning to the end,” Amzil said.

BIG PICTURE

Lindenwood: The program is now part of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Lions graduated three starters from last year’s team and added three transfers. They haven’t had a winning season since finishing 16-13 in 2017-18.

“(Dayton) did a great job defensively tonight, (they) limited us, making everything hard on us,” Lindenwood coach Kyle Gerdeman said. “But I give our guys a ton of credit, because I think that I’ve been around some teams that the score would have been about 110-56, and our guys hung in there and they kept battling.”

Dayton: The Flyers, who went 24-11 last season, won their 18th straight opener. All five of last year’s starters returned this season, although Smith, who starred as a freshman, is sidelined. Sixth man Kobe Brea also is out with an injury.

AROUND THE WORLD

The Flyers have a truly international roster. Besides Sharavjamts from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Camara hails from Belgium, Amzil is from Finland, Elvis is from Canada, and forward Richard Amaefule is from England. On the other end of the spectrum, guard Brady Uhl is a Dayton native whose father and grandfather also also played basketball for the Flyers.

BE LIKE MIKE

Sharavjamts was born in Phoenix when his 7-foot father was playing for the Harlem Globetrotters, billed as the “Mongolian Shark.” The younger Sharavjamts played at International Sports Academy in Willoughby, Ohio, and became a four-star recruit.

“It was a great first game for him,” Grant said. “A great learning experience. It was really impressive to see the poise he played with.”

UP NEXT

Lindenwood: Hosts Hannibal-LaGrange on Thursday.

Dayton: Hosts SMU on Friday night. The Mustangs have beaten the Flyers two seasons in a row.

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