Chaz Williams imploded, the Flyers shot 45% from three and Dyshawn Pierre made his presence known. That’s going to result in a UD win nine times out of ten. Although Williams was able to pad his stats over the last five minutes with foul-shots and uncontested layups, the senior guard never got on track, frustrated all day by targeted pressure from the Flyers. The play of Derrick Gordon, Sampson Carter and Cady Lalanne provided ample cover for Williams in the first half, and Trey Davis was able to stem the tide for most of the second, but the Minutemen ran out of gas without production from their leader.
Jordan Sibert had arguably his best game in a Flyer uniform, scoring a game-high 23 points in just twenty-six minutes of play. It seemed that every time UD needed a response to a UMass run, Sibert was there to pop in a three-pointer. Vee Sanford had a quiet fifteen point performance and Devin Oliver was effective once again, one rebound away from another double-double (10/9).
UD pushed the margin to eleven at the four-minute break, but allowed the Minutemen to chip away — UMass cut the lead to three on a Chaz Williams layup with forty seconds left. The Flyers closed the game out from the charity-stripe, connecting on 6-of-8 from the line, and came away with a seven-point victory. The win clinched another 20 win season for the program and ensured the Cagers will finish with at least a .500 record in conference play.
Really, it’s a no-pressure game against Saint Louis this Wednesday. UD isn’t expected to win at Chaifetz Arena, and a loss to the top team in the league won’t knock Dayton out of the bubble picture. However, a win against the Bills would give UD some much-needed breathing room heading into the Richmond tilt. As far-fetched as it may seem, the Flyers still have a mathematical chance at earning one of the league’s four tournament byes if they win out and get some help along the way.
There’s still plenty to play for and this is the most wide-open bubble field we’ve ever seen. So much mediocrity to go around and only a few spots open. Strap it up.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.