Vee Sanford tied a career high with 23 points off the bench on a perfect shooting day, and Dayton beat Fordham 87-74 Thursday in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament in another boost to the Flyers' NCAA tournament hopes.
Fifth-seeded Dayton has won 10 of 11 to go from a team with little hope for an NCAA bid to one that will give the selection committee plenty to think about. The Flyers (23-9) face fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's in Friday's quarterfinals in a matchup of two bubble teams. The Hawks swept Dayton in the regular season.
The Flyers led by as many as 22 points, though the 13th-seeded Rams (10-21) briefly made things interesting early in the second half. Dayton shot 59 percent from the floor and made 9 of 19 3-point attempts.
Sanford was 9 for 9 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and made both free throws.