The first thing I looked for when UD released the schedule was the opponent for the game after Maui. The Buffalo pink socking of 2011 taught us all to fear that game, because there is zero chance of a good performance. It is nearly impossible to play at a high level in a destination event, take a week off, and then come out firing on all cylinders. When faced with an obvious dip in the roller coaster that is every Dayton season, Archie Miller did the smartest thing he has done since proposing to Morgan…he scheduled Delaware State.
The Hornets, bless their hearts, are the worst of the worst. You can be bad or you can be boring, but you should never be both. Delaware State is both. They have a plodding, mundane offense complimented by an even less appealing zone defense. This team shows more weaves than TBS during Tyler Perry Night. At no point did the Hornets have a chance to win, and they knew it. Faced with an 8 point deficit against a much better team that couldn’t care less about finishing the game, Delaware State continued to weave, weave, weave away 25 seconds on every possession. They had shown up, cashed a check big enough to pay an assistant’s salary, and stayed within a handful of possessions against a ranked opponent. Mission accomplished.
As for the Gem City’s finest, UD came out sluggish, as expected. Matt Kavanaugh found his Boof-ness, scoring four early points as Dayton yawned their way to a 10-0 lead. The Flyers then decided it was a good idea to take (and miss) threes on 5 of their next 6 shots, allowing Delaware State to respond with a 10-2 leisurely stroll. The rest of the first half is a blur of boredom, leading me to daydream about Photo Booth Girl. I do remember Jalen Robinson making a nice “and 1″ right before half, giving UD a 28-21 lead.
The second half saw the teams trade a few buckets over several minutes, before Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott sparked a run that put UD up 50-30 with 7:43 remaining. The most notable play of the run, and perhaps the game, saw Scott find Robinson cutting through the zone for a layup and the foul. It was the kind of play you knew two high school teammates had made before, and hope they will make again many times over the next two and a half years.
Delaware State was able to jump on a UD team that was clearly done with that shit and closed the deficit down to 8 with 1:34 left, but that was as close as they would choose to get. When the game mercifully ended, UD walked off the floor with a barely earned 56-46 win.
Kavanaugh led the way with 11 points and 0 boards. Jalen Robinson followed a great game vs Cal with a solid 8 points on 3-3 shooting, 2-2 from the line. Devon Scott put up 7 points, and Kendall Pollard had a good night, 8 points and 4 boards.
This is far from a good performance, but not quite bad, either. It just was. Dayton clearly knew they could sleepwalk and beat Delaware State, and aside from a few minutes here and there, that’s exactly what happened.
Siri’s favorite basketball team travels to Illinois State on Saturday night, for reasons we cannot begin to understand. I hear there’s a pretty important football game on at the same time. War Eagle. Go Buckeyes.