The madness of March arrived a few months early Friday in Orlando, Florida, as Dayton knocked off No. 4 Kansas 74-73 on a buzzer-beater from Mustapha Amzil in the semifinals of the ESPN Events Invitational. It was Amzil’s first shot attempt of the game, and it bounc…….
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The madness of March arrived a few months early Friday in Orlando, Florida, as Dayton knocked off No. 4 Kansas 74-73 on a buzzer-beater from Mustapha Amzil in the semifinals of the ESPN Events Invitational. It was Amzil’s first shot attempt of the game, and it bounced high off the rim, hit the backboard and then dropped through as the buzzer sounded.
Amzil’s miraculous make capped a 15-point rally for the Flyers, who entered the game just 2-3 with losses against UMass-Lowell, Lipscomb and Austin Peay. But after falling behind 44-29 late in the first half, Dayton looked more like the program that finished the 2019-20 season ranked No. 3 than one that entered Friday’s game ranked No. 119 by KenPom.com.
Five players reached double figures for Dayton, led by 16 off the bench from DaRon Holmes II. The Jayhawks, who were favored by 16 points by Caesars Sportsbook, were led by 21 points from Ochai Agbaji, who put KU up 73-70 with 1:09 remaining on a transition dunk. With Kansas up one, Jayhawks’ big man David McCormack committed an offensive foul to give possession back to the Flyers with 19 seconds remaining.
McCormack made up for the blunder by swatting an attempt from Dayton’s Malachi Smith in the final seconds. But the rebound ended up in Amzil’s hands, and the 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman delivered, driving toward the paint and releasing a high-arching prayer that was answered.
Dayton’s improbable win puts it in Sunday’s title game against the winner of Friday night’s game between Iona and Belmont. The Jayhawks will play the loser for third place.