NEW YORK — Dayton denied last year's national champs another title and took home one of its own for the first time in 42 years.
Marcus Johnson scored 20 points and the Flyers handed North Carolina one more disheartening loss at the end of a lousy season, beating the Tar Heels 79-68 Thursday night to win the NIT.
Reserve guard Paul Williams added 16 points for No. 3 seed Dayton (25-12), which bounced back from a disappointing regular season to capture its third NIT title and first since 1968.
Picked to win the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Flyers faded late and missed the NCAA tournament before turning things around and ending on a high note.
Will Graves shot North Carolina back into the game in the second half, finishing with 25 points for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (20-17), who started the season hoping for back-to-back NCAA championships.