DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- Dayton did not place anyone on the Atlantic 10 Conference's first team, but it probably has the league's most balanced team.
The 21st-ranked Flyers showed no rust from an 11-day layoff and displayed their versatility on both ends of the floor in a 74-57 victory over Rhode Island in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Keith Waleskowski, a second team all-conference selection, and center Sean Finn provided the inside power for Dayton (22-5). Waleskowski had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Finn added 15 and nine as Dayton outscored the Rams in the paint, 40-14.
The Flyers have the benefit of playing at home, where they improved to 15-1. The University of Dayton Arena is hosting the league tournament, which had been held in Philadelphia for the last 14 years.
Dayton, which had not played since March 1 because St. Bonaventure forfeited its game last Saturday, will face Saint Joseph's in the semifinals on Friday.
"We had some intense scrimmages over the last week-and-a-half and I was happy with our defensive intensity tonight," Dayton coach Oliver Purnell said.
"We just couldn't wait to play a real game," Finn said. "We were busy beating each other up in practice and we wanted to do it to another team. Hopefully, this is the first of three games in three nights for us."
With an RPI of 20 and non-conference wins over Marquette and Cincinnati, the Flyers are likely headed to the NCAA Tournament, but they would like another crack at Xavier, which swept the season series from Dayton. Xavier plays Temple in the other A-10 semifinal.
This loss likely ended any hope Rhode Island (18-11) had of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. But the Rams more than doubled their victory total of eight from last season and will likely be rewarded with a berth in the NIT after Jim Baron was named A-10 Coach of the Year.
But Baron could do nothing when his team experienced a horrendous shooting drought in the first half, going more than 10 minutes without a field goal.
The Flyers essentially sealed this game with a devastating 31-3 first-half run. After hitting four of its first five shots for an 8-4 lead, Rhode Island missed 22 of its next 24 and Dayton built a 39-16 halftime lead.
Nate Green had three baskets in a 16-0 spurt which opened a 25-10 lead for Dayton with 8:53 left. Rhode Island went more than seven minutes without a point before Brian Woodward converted 1-of-2 free throws with 8:38 remaining.
Dayton then scored the next 10 points on a 3-pointer by Mark Jones, a jumper by Ramod Marshall, a third team all-conference selection, a pair of free throws by Waleskowski and a three-point play by Marshall, giving Dayton its biggest lead at 35-11 with 4:23 left.
After Jamaal Wise converted a pair of free throws for Rhode Island, Dustin Hellenga ended the field goal drought with a 3-pointer with 3:38 left. The Rams shot just 21 percent in the half, making 6-of-29 shots.
However, Rhode Island showed signs of life in the second half, hitting 11 of its first 12 shots, including all six 3-point attempts, to pull within 53-44 with 11:51 left. Hellenga did most of the damage with three 3-pointers and a foul line jumper and Dawan Robinson added eight points, including two shots from beyond the arc.
But Rhode Island got no closer than nine and missed 13 of its last 18 shots.
"We ran out of steam," Baron said. "We expended a lot of energy coming back because we dug a huge hole for ourselves."
Brooks Hall, a second team all-conference selection, and Jones each hit 3-pointers to spark a 15-2 run, increasing Dayton's lead to 68-46 with 4:51 left.
Jones finished with 11 points and D.J. Stelly added 10 for Dayton. Hellenga led the Rams with 18 points.