Dayton experienced a game of completely different halves in their game against Furman last night. After an uninspiring first half which saw UD take a mere two-point lead into the break, the Flyers came out firing in the second half and eventually pulled away from Furman, 70-50.
Gem City started the second half with a 10-2 run to take a 41-31 lead. Furman, to their credit, kept themselves within shouting distance before three consecutive three-pointers from DURRELL Davis, John Crosby and Kyle Davis allowed UD to take a commanding 59-40 advantage. The game was in hand, the Sweaters went home happy and Dayton walked away with a 8-2 record on the year, with just two games remaining on their non-conference schedule.
The Flyers primarily relied on their perimeter attack against the Paladins, connecting on 9-of-21 (42.9%) shots from behind the arc. Most encouraging was UD’s accuracy from the charity stripe, Dayton hit on nineteen of their twenty-two attempts from the line — Steve McElvene, in particular, was impressive, converting all five of his foul shots on the night (Kendall Pollard went 4-of-6 from the free-throw line, which is essentially the most you can hope for from the junior forward).
Charles Cooke had an underwhelming shooting performance, but managed to pull down a career-high fifteen rebounds against Furman. The Chief was once again a factor against an undermanned lineup. The freshman had a double-double, scoring eleven points and pulling down ten rebounds in Dayton’s twenty-point victory.
DURRELL came alive last night, nailing 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line. The sophomore guard finished his twenty-two minutes of playing time with nine points and seven rebounds. Discounting his output in the season opener against Southeast Missouri State, it was his most complete and efficient performance on the season thus far, a hopeful sign that he can get going and be the type of perimeter threat he was last season. DURRELL is shooting just 29% from three this season, down from 45% a year ago.
UD’s bench finally got extended minutes last night, with John Crosby, the X-Man and Chip Mikesell combining for forty-two minutes in last night’s victory. Crosby continues to struggle with his shot, but has proven his ability to penetrate and dish the ball. X was quiet in the scoring column, by which I mean non-existent, however he is arguably the most consistent player off the bench for Dayton. You hate to use the cliche that his contributions don’t necessarily show up in next day’s box-score, but that seems like the simplest way to explain his effect on the team.
After admitting he erred in not getting Mikesell into the game against Chattanooga on his radio show, Archie Miller provided the St. Henry product with twelve minutes of court time against Furman. Although he was a non-factor, it was good to see the lanky forward get some burn against an inferior opponent. Depending on how things shake out over the next week, his production may be crucial going forward.
The season may be splintered into two distinct divisions beginning with Tuesday night’s game against Miami. Dyshawn Pierre is reportedly on campus and his fate over the coming three months will be resolved within the next 24 hours (if it hasn’t already). Archie has previously stated that the senior forward will either sit out what remains of the season or will slowly be integrated into the lineup over the coming weeks depending on his game shape. It’s clearly a vital decision for Miller, one that could ramp up expectations over the impending months.