DAYTON, Ohio, March 15 (UPI) -- Sean Finn ignited Dayton to a quick start and then put an end to a Temple comeback Saturday night, boosting the 21st-ranked Flyers to a 79-72 win over the Owls in the championship game of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
Dayton (24-5) scored the first 14 points of the game and Temple (15-15) did not get on the board until Alex Wesby hit a three-pointer 5:12 into the game.
The Owls trailed at halftime, 39-24, but did not fade away in the second half. A night after Saint Joseph's erased a 19-point deficit but could not topple Dayton at the end, Temple shaved the Flyers' lead to five points on several occasions down the stretch.
Trailing, 70-65, after a pair of free throws by Brian Polk with 1:47 left, the Owls got back the ball 22 seconds later when their defense tied up Mark Jones. On the ensuing possession, though, David Hawkins' fatigue showed as he was short on his attempt to get Temple within three points.
Polk led the Owls with 22 points. Hawkins scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half.
Finn scored 14 of his 20 points before halftime, but fired down an exclamation point dunk with 59 seconds left after Hawkins' miss to make the score 72-65 and ignite celebrations at the Dayton Arena.
The Flyers hit three three-pointers as part of their opening run and shot 11 of 30 from beyond the arc.