On the long, arduous road to a conference title, the path to glory is littered with landmines, potholes, sure embarrassment and empty wins. The latter took place in the Bronx on Tuesday evening. A hard-fought win to the eyes of a few, led to nothing more than an empty W on the schedule that most of us will have long forgotten by the time you’re traveling to Pittsburgh. Beating sub-200 RPI teams is a dirty business, but dirty business is often necessary.
Fordham is a skidmark on the underpants of the A10, and the series speaks for itself. This was Dayton’s 29th win in 34 meetings, that’s unbelievably pathetic, much like the Fordham basketball program. They haven’t lost to Fordham in over a decade! Additionally, I spent about half the game trying to figure out where I knew Jeff Neubauer from, and I finally figured it out. That dirty bastard was in a Harry Potter movie a few years back. What a career change, good on you Jeff….
O ya, the recap, right. The Flyers went into the half dead even with the Bronx Rams at 39, thanks mostly to Fordham shooting 52% from 3 (9-for-17) and attempting 11 more total FGs than UD. Couple that with 11 Flyers turnovers and welp, just about any team can hang around for a while. Luckily UD would be paced by weeble-wobble of Kendall all evening long, and he would end the 1st half with 13 on pace to his best night of the season. KP finished with 25.
With chief-editor Tom Blackburn in the building, sitting directly behind the man Archibald himself, we got a glimpse into the mind of the old general. Suffice to say Archie doesn’t exactly keep things PG down on the floor. With Christian Sengfelder lighting it up on his 3rd long ball of the first half en route to a 16 point 1st, Archie made the guards look directly at him, threw up his hands in disgust, and yelled “Six MOTHERFUCKING threes!” Sometimes Archie gives us these pleasant reminders that deep down, he’s just a Pittsburgh dad that gets riled up from time to time. Also never a bad time to throw in a candid of our boy Jablo…
Luckily, because it’s Fordham, they would cool off in the second half and go 2-8 from 3 the rest of the way. The pressure D that generated 11 TO’s in the first, only generated 5 in the second. Sengfelder turned in just 5 points the rest of the way, and Fordham became crippled through foul trouble and a lack of timeouts. Fordham used their last timeout with 8 minutes remaining (up 1) and frankly if UD would’ve lost this game there would have been absolutely no excuses. As sure as a long line in Golden Nugget on Sunday morning, the boys would eventually ride the balls of Scoochie for the last 5 minutes, turning in a 16-6 run en route to a win that was capped off by Kendall’s spread-covering dunk with 8 seconds left. Bless that man.
5 quick takeaways, not even necessarily hot.
1. John Crosby may have actually regressed. Having one skilled ball-handler is going to be a problem every single night now. The guy is a turnover machine and constantly looks lost. Unfortunately, there aren’t other options at PG, so this is what we got. At some point you just hope Archie says something to the effect of “Hey, can you stop driving directly into the paint with no fucking clue where you’re going with the ball?” Something like that, I don’t know.
2. Charles turned in a quiet 14 points. He’s settled into a bit of a groove, which is neither great nor bad. Since returning from injury he has attempted almost exactly 11 shots per game, making anywhere between 3-6, and producing anywhere from 10-19 points. Chuck’s shot selection has actually been fairly good recently, he just needs to knock down a few more when we play the tough games. Against Fordham, this will suffice.
3. KP shined. 8-for-11 shooting, 9-for-13 from the line, 6 boards and 25 points. That’s a damn good night. Do your thing big man.
4. DURRELL WATCH. The X-factor put in a nice little performance last night. Baby D finished with 9 points and only fired up long balls, going 3-for-6. Early in the second half he hit back-to-back treys to get some momentum going for the boys in blue, and glimpses of offensive confidence are starting to shine through, I think.
5. Half way through conference play, you know what team we have. The Flyers are going to rotate 7 guys consistently, Crosby and Sammy will see a few minutes here and there when guys need blows, or are in foul trouble. No secrets, this is who we have. Word is that Cunningham could be back before the end of the regular season, but I won’t put my speculating pants on just yet. Every year Archie is able to effectively whittle down the minutes of young guys into the rotation that carries us into March, this year is no different.
This video has nothing to do with the article, but this guy is LOWD as hell and I won’t let him be ignored.
Scoochie mentioned that grinding out a close conference game on the road is something this team needed. I concur. He also had this to say about Dayton:
“In Dayton, you’ve got nothing to do.”
With 9 games left, there will be more games like this, even as soon as Saturday. Dayton welcomes the Dukes of Duquesne to The Arena for a Saturday afternoon tilt. The Dukes last win in Dayton came 5 years ago to the day, 2/1/12, led by freshman point guard TJ McConnell. That was indeed a dark day in Gem City.
Before the game on Saturday we will be hitting you with a recap of the first half of conference play, as well as the road ahead for the Flyers. Jury is out on whether Blackburn will do another recon for Duquesne.
Weeks like this are tough, I know, stay LOWD.
Additionally, FOB Ray Floriani at Daly Dose of Hoops filed this report from the Bronx last night:
Bronx, NY – Those nine o’ clock starts. The chance to leave the Bronx at midnight. Wonderful. The positive note was it gave yours truly the chance to officiate a high school JV game, have dinner with the Mrs. and still get here in plenty of time. The eighteen miles from my New Jersey home to Rose Hill in rush hour is an hour, on a good night. With the nine start there is no rush hour as I can leave around eight and the trip was about 25 minutes. Plenty of time to get settled in at press row. The drawback of these nine o’clock get togethers is missing midnight final call at Hooters in Hackensack (NJ). Oh well, what we do for the love of basketball…
Driving over this game made me think of the late Al McGuire’s philosophy of playing a team you are expected to beat. “It was like going to a guy’s house and he had a dog,” Al would say. “He knows the dog won’t bite. The dog knows it won’t. But you aren’t sure.” Not saying Fordham is a ‘dog’. Only an analogy to try to make some sense in this crazy A-10 season.
Early in the game Dayton did a nice job stopping Ram dribble penetration. Fordham was content to fire threes. Problem for Dayton was, they were willing to match them in somewhat of a game of h-o-r-s-e. By midway through the first half some sanity returned to the Flyer attack as they ran some isos for Kendall Pollard. Fordham did not have a defensive answer for Pollard going to the hoop off the bounce.
Dayton made a nice closing run to push their lead to 39-30. Looked like the Flyers were getting the proverbial separation until….those threes again. The main culprits Christian Sengfelder and Joseph Chartouny of Fordham. That nine point lead? Gone in almost an instant. At the half 39 all.
Early in the second half you just get the feeling this will go to the wire. Whenever the Flyers try to make a move Fordham answers. There are quite a few Flyer faithful here. A virtual ‘red sea’ of followers at Rose Hill. Do not envision that a nail biter to the wire was what they signed up for.
Twelve minutes left Rams by two. Stats show Fordham hitting 52% from three. Dayton pre game release emphasized Flyers’ outstanding three point defense at 26% in conference. For 28 minutes Fordham has doubled that.
Down the stretch Dayton simply made the plays necessary to win. They broke Fordham down off the dribble and hit a cutters from the weakside. Execution and poise on the road. They also defended the three pointer a great deal better as Fordham came up without a trey the final dozen minutes of the game. Rams did shoot 11 of 25 (44%) from three but were ineffective during crunch time.
Final: Dayton 75 Fordham 66Granted it wasn’t the most artistic game until crunch time but it was a win. On the road. And judging how this conference is playing out, the Flyers were glad to take it and ‘run with it.’
Kendall Pollard led all with 25 points. Charles Cooke added 14 and Scoochie Smith 10. Chris Sengfelder paced Fordham with 21 (5 of 9 from three) .
For the tempo free inclined, a mid sixty possession game saw Dayton with an excellent 115 offensive efficiency. What was not excellent was allowing the Rams a 105 OE and having a 25% turnover rate. That is one in every four Dayton possessions came up empty due to the dreaded TO.
Postgame…..Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer praised his team’s ability to score against “the ninth best defense in the country.” Neubauer felt Dayton could not get a sustained run because their runs, he noted, are a product of defense and getting stops. Tonight Fordham scored frequently and deterred any of those runs.
Archie Miller called Fordham “an extremely hard team to defend.” He did admit to talking with his team at the half and addressing their close outs and a perimeter defense that was “a step slow.” Miller praised his team’s offensive execution in the stretch, the play of Pollard and Scoochie Smith. The Dayton mentor admitted there need to be defensive adjustments and he will go over film the next few days to ascertain what needs to be fixed, and how. Overall, he was satisfied coming away with a conference road win on a night the opposition played arguably its best offensive game of the season.
The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.