Third seed Dayton, which won this tournament in 2010, was forced to travel to the sixth seed Cougars because UD is hosting the NCAA tournament's inaugural First Four games at UD Arena, tonight and Wednesday.
Senior Andrew Goudelock, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, made eight three-pointers on the way to a career-high 39 points.
The Flyers (22-14) were led by Chris Wright's double-double of 21 points and 13 rebounds. Chris Johnson scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the A-10 tournament runner-up. Paul Williams added 15 points and a team-high three assists.
Dayton shot jumpers and treys until late in the first half, when the Flyers started focusing on plays shots in the paint. The focus on inside play resulted in 22 offensive rebounds, multiple ones on the same play where frequently the final caroom was a defensive one by the Cougars.
College of Charleston averages 8.06 three-pointers made. The Cougars met that average in the first half and hit 12 over the game.
Dayton stayed with the Cougars in the second half but not well enough get within a game-tying/winning shot. The loss removes the lone Atlantic 10 program in the 64-team NIT.
At the start of this match, Dayton hit a pair of three-pointers for an 8-2 lead. Those six points were UD's highest margin.
College of Charleston head coach Bobby Cremins adjusted their defense and slow the Flyers' offense. Antwaine Wiggins's trey gave the Cougars their first lead, 17-16, at the 9:08 mark. Once they got it, they wouldn't let it go, which wasn't a good thing for Brian Gregory's quintet.
Goudelock's fourth three-pointer, and his 2,500 career point, extended the lead to 38-25. It was 43-30 at the break.
The Flyers were energized at the start of second half and cut the lead to nine. The Cougars quickly answered and raised the score back to 56-41. Dayton got within seven, 81-74, but could not reduce the margin further.
Goudelock had a team high eight rebounds. Donavan Monroe had 23 points and five assists. Freshman 6-foot-8 forward Trent Wieldeman added 15 points and six rebounds in 36 minutes. Wiggins had 11 points, on 4-for-6 shooting, two assists and two blocks.
The Flyers average 19 free throw attempts per game, but shot just three in the first half, 7-of 15 for the game. The Cougars more than doubled that with 30-of-38 (78.9%); Goudelock was 9-of-10, Weideman 9-of 12, and Monroe was 8-of-10 at the foul line.
The College of Charleston is now 25-10.
Note: The Pittsburgh connection, Bobby Cremins began his collegiate coaching career at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1972.