DAYTON, Ohio — Josh Cunningham caught a lob from Xeyrius Williams and laid it in with one second left, and Dayton opened the Anthony Grant era with a 78-77 win over Ball State in Friday night’s season opener for both teams.

Tayler Persons’ layup with three seconds to go put the Cardinals up 77-76 before Williams threw the ball down court and Cunningham made the winner.

Cunningham scored 22 points for Dayton, the defending Atlantic-10 regular season champion, which led 36-33 at halftime behind his 10 points. Cunningham was limited to 11 games last year because of an ankle injury. Darrell Davis scored 16 points, John Crosby added 13, and Williams, the top returning scorer from a year ago, scored eight with five assists.

Ball State took its first lead, 39-38, early in the second half and led by as many as seven before Davis hit a 3-pointer amid an 8-0 run for a 59-58 Flyers’ lead.

Persons had 14 points and eight assists, Tahjai Teague scored 14 and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Zach Gunn had 11 points for the Cardinals, who were outscored 44-36 in the paint.


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