Courtesy Auburn media relations
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Kevin Dillard scored 20 points to lead Dayton to a 73-63 victory over Auburn in the Charleston Classic third round in TD Arena on Sunday. Frankie Sullivan had a game-high 23 points and five assists while Rob Chubb scored 11 points and Noel Johnson added 10 to lead the Tigers.
Dayton (3-1) ended the half on a 13-2 run to break open a tight game to lead 35-25 at halftime. Sullivan nailed a 3-pointer to give Auburn a 23-22 lead with 6:02 left, but the Tigers only scored on a Shaq Johnson layup the rest of the half.
“We have a lot of areas we have to improve in, and we have to improve in them quickly,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “The biggest one is our level of toughness. That is the bottom line of what this game came down to. It wasn’t the officials as to why they shot 36 free throws, and we shot only 17. It was our lack of toughness.
“They were tough on every catch. They were tough on every drive. They were tough on every post up, and we weren’t. That is the bottom line in this game. That is why we got so many balls knocked out of our hands, balls that just slipped out of our hands while we fumbled so many rebounds. It is all about our level of toughness which is almost nonexistent.”
Auburn (2-2) scored the first four points of the second half to close to within six, but Dayton used an 11-1 run to extend its lead to 49-33 with 14:53 left. The Tigers closed it to 10 several times but couldn’t get any closer.
“They out-toughed us, and that is supposed to be our motto,” Sullivan said. “In the two games we lost this year, that’s where we lost it. It is toughness and rebounding. We got outrebounded and we got out-toughed in this game, and we need to come out against Boston College and play the way we know how to.”
The game got off to a quick start with both teams shooting over 63 percent from the field as Auburn held a 12-11 lead just over four minutes in.
Dayton outshot Auburn from the foul line, 27-of-36 to 13-of-17 and outrebounded the Tigers 33-27. Auburn shot 41.8 percent from the field to Dayton’s 46.7 percent while both teams struggled from 3 as Auburn was 4-of-16 and Dayton 4-of-13.
The Tigers play at Boston College on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT in the Charleston Classic Finale on ESPN3.