Johnson pulled down seven rebounds and Rob Lowery added 13 points for third-seeded Dayton (22-12), which will face top-seeded Illinois in the NIT quarterfinal round.
In the second half they clamped down on defense, holding Cincinnati to 32.2 field goal shooting percentage.
Deonta Vaughn canned 28 points in the loss for Cincinnati (19-16), while Lance Stephenson contributed 13 points.
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