Dayton’s Jonathon Joyner hit a game-tying 3-pointer with five seconds left and Sparks coach Dan Schreiber ran a few feet onto the floor near midcourt to call timeout in a raucous loud Dayton gym after the clutch trey.
Schreiber was given a technical foul for running onto the court and Sparks did not get the ball back until .9 seconds remained and Dayton had already downed three free throws.
“When the ball went through I was yelling timeout. It was so loud. They (officiating crew) even addressed it before the game. The game was going to be loud and it’s a small gym. The crowd is really loud here,” Schreiber said. “That’s why I yelled I want five (seconds) on the clock … I turned around to address the kids, because I’m going to timeout, I need as much time as I can and (they gave me a technical foul).”
The Railroaders tried to inbound the ball with .9 seconds left, trailing by three. Dayton jumped in front of a half-court pass and the vociferous Dayton student section stormed the court.
Isaiah Campbell (23 points) scored 19 points in the first half to put Sparks in front 31-16 at the half. He had 15 in the second quarter alone.
After torching the Dust Devils in the first half, Campbell was double- and triple-teamed in the second half.
Led by Austin Fletcher’s 15 second-half points, Dayton took the lead for the first time since the early going with 2:23 remaining in regulation on a Fletcher drive to the hoop. Fletcher finished with a team-high 20 points.
Campbell hit a pair of free throws on Sparks’ next possession to tie the game at 44. The senior hit two more free throws with 1:12 left to put Sparks back in front 46-44.
“You could tell in the second half they tried to double- and triple- team him (Campbell) so that’s just a coaching respect issue in regards to, we have to stop this kid,” Schreiber said.
Dayton and Sparks both missed a pair of free throws on their following possessions before Victor Trinidad (six points) hit 1-of-2 freebies to put Sparks up 47-44 with 10.1 seconds, setting the stage for the late-game drama.
Sparks fell to 1-8, 1-1 in league meetings one night after picking up its first win of the season (52-49) against Truckee. Dayton improved to 6-1, 1-0 in league decisions.
“We are probably one of the teams that has the most room for improvement,” Schreiber said. “We’re young and we are starting to catch onto things. So that’s exciting.”
Dayton trimmed the 15-point halftime to deficit to 31-29 with just more than a minute remaining in the third quarter before the Railroaders went on a 9-0 burst in the final minute.
Schreiber took full responsibility for the technical foul in the game’s final seconds.
The Railroaders will get to enjoy the holiday season with some down time before playing at Lowry Jan. 3.