Dayton rallies, beats LSU in dramatic finish

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Nate Santos sank a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left, and Dayton overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat LSU 70-67 in the first round of the Charleston Classic on Thursday in Charleston, S.C.

Santos totaled 19 points, Javon Bennett added 16 points and Koby Brea scored 13 for the Flyers (2-1), who outscored the Tigers 25-7 during the final nine minutes.

Jalen Reed scored 16 points before fouling out, Tyrell Ward had 12 and Will Baker added 10 to lead the Tigers (1-2), who lost on a 3-pointer in the final seconds for the second consecutive game. Nicholls beat host LSU 68-66 on Nov. 10.

The Flyers took their first lead of the second half as they went on a 19-2 run and grabbed a 64-62 edge with 3:42 left.

Ward ended a four-minute field-goal drought for LSU by making a 3-pointer and Derek Fountain added a layup to give the Tigers a 67-64 lead with 1:25 left.

Brea’s 3-pointer tied the score with 47 seconds left and LSU turned the ball over, leading to the game-winner.

On Friday, Dayton will face St. John’s and the Tigers will face North Texas. St. John’s edged North Texas 53-52 in the first game Thursday.

Just 17 seconds into halftime, Mike Williams III made a 3-pointer to start the second-half scoring and give the Tigers their biggest lead to that point, 35-30.

Baker followed with a jumper and a 3-pointer to push the lead to 10 points.

Daron Holmes made two free throws to produce the Flyers’ first points of the half, but LSU scored the next six points to open a 46-32 lead.

Enoch Cheeks’ jumper ended a 4 1/2-minute field-goal drought for Dayton, which closed within nine points twice.

The Tigers extended their lead to 60-45 with nine minutes remaining.

The first half was extremely close from beginning to end, featuring 11 lead changes and five ties before LSU held a 32-30 edge lead.