Dayton Flyers wins NIT Championship

The Dayton Flyers beat NCAA champ North Carolina to win the NIT championship to the score of 79 to 68, Thursday, April I at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Forward Chris Johnson of the Flyers was hailed MVP of the tournament and finished the game with 14 points, 9 of them coming at the final three minute mark and overcame a pulled hip muscle, limping his way to a three pointer, a dunk and a lay up all in the final 3 minutes of the game to secure the win for the Flyers. Will Graves of North Carolina led the Tar Heels with a game-high 25 points.

Johnson, the 6-6 forward injured his hip thirteen minutes into the first half after throwing a monster dunk and was never the same again until the last three minutes of the second half. The Flyers were in the lead at halftime 45-32 but a 12-1 spurt by the Tar Heels at the opening of the second half reduced the deficit in dramatic fashion, with the injured Johnson unable to keep up with Graves, who spurred the rally and buried two 3 pointers to bring North Carolina back in the game.

Spending only 17 minutes on the floor, Johnson was resigned to the sidelines the rest of the first half with an icepack over his sore hip, came back in the second half and was partly to blame for the Tar Heel’s incredible comeback as the sore hip made it impossible to guard Will Graves in his lateral movements on the floor. Johnson managed to block the severe pain in his hip to make a three pointer and a dunk in the final minutes of the game, giving the Dayton Flyers their first NIT championship since 1971.

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