Parker scores 15, Dayton beats Fairfield 56-49
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.—Josh Parker scored 15 points and Kevin Dillard added 12, leading Dayton to the Old Spice Classic championship game with a 56-49 victory over Fairfield on Friday night.
Dayton (4-1) will go against Minnesota, a 76-69 winner over Indiana State earlier Friday, in the title matchup.
"Obviously, a great win," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "It feels really good, and continues to give not only individual players, but our team confidence that we have won games and especially close ones."
Parker went 0 for 5 from the floor and didn't score Thursday when Dayton beat Wake Forest 80-76.
"It was my teammates. They told me, just stay with it and don't worry about what happened," Parker said. "New game, new setting and it's time to go. Everybody just came and we rallied together. Everybody played big."
Rakim Sanders had 17 points for Fairfield (3-3). He had 21 points and seven rebounds in the Stags' 55-44 victory over Arizona State on Thursday.
Dillard had a three-point play as Dayton went ahead 54-49 with 62 seconds to play. He added two late free throws after a technical was called on Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson.
"We played hard enough to win ... You could tell by my reaction at the end of the game," Johnson said. "I just don't think it's a great idea to harp on my reaction because I know it's a really good win for Archie and his squad. I don't want to take anything away from them."
After Matt Kavanaugh's basket with 3 1/2 minutes to play gave Dayton a 51-46 advantage, Desmond Wade hit a 3 to cut the Fairfield deficit to 51-49.
Kavanaugh finished with five points and 11 rebounds.
Consecutive layups by Paul Williams and Dillard put Dayton up 41-34 eight minutes into the second half.
Parker had 13 points as Dayton, despite shooting just 27.3 percent (9 for 33), took a 27-23 halftime lead. Five of the Flyers' baskets came from 3-point range, including three by Parker.
"I thought the last couple games he's pressed without letting the game come to him," Miller said. "But to his credit tonight, when we needed him the most, he stepped up and banged some big shots. Without him we can't win."
Dayton had 10 offensive rebounds, compared to one for Fairfield, which did make 10 of its 19 shots during the opening half.