In the end, it was just about what you expected. Had I told you Saturday morning the Flyers would go down big in the second half, claw their way back and eventually lose a close one at VCU, the only part you may have questioned me on was the comeback, everything else felt familiar given what we’ve seen this season.
There were more questions produced by Anthony Grant, there were lots of turnovers, there was the offensive dominance of Justin Tillman, there were admitted bright spots for Dayton, and there was ultimately the familiar feeling of losing at the Siegel Center. It bears repeating in the first paragraph that the only surprising aspect of this game from the Dayton perspective was the comeback. Everything else followed suit.
The first half was an entrée of good shooting from both teams with a side of turnovers and a complete absence of defense. Buckets were a-plenty, open looks came at-will and Justin Tillman began the ascent of riding his foot directly up the ass of UD for the night. Josh Cunningham would pick up an early foul a few minutes into the game that would alter the course of the first half. Given that Grant played him particularly careful until halftime, for all the obvious reasons you could think of, the VCU game plan when he was off the floor was to go directly into Tillman and it paid cash. The Dirty Q-Tip (I’m told that’s what his friends call him) would finish the first twenty minutes with 14 points and he was just getting started.
The first half also gave us a glimpse of how little we would be seeing the bench for the evening. John Crosby would come in for five minutes and contribute three charitable turnovers to the bad guys, and Matej Svoboda chipped in seven minutes of below average defense and a three-pointer. Sadly, I was satisfied with that output, as you should be as well.
Much like VCU, UD played terrible first half defense but was mostly able to get buckets whenever. The offensive attack was spread out, but Trey Landers was noticeably aggressive in attacking the hoop and he would finish the half with 11 to surpass Crutcher’s 10. Of course, the highlight of the first half was at the buzzer, when Jalen Crutcher threw in a long ball to match the predictable go-ahead three-pointer VCU planted on UD seconds earlier…
CRUTCHER FROM THE CAFETERIA AT THE BUZZER pic.twitter.com/XMaaKHlFLe
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) February 10, 2018
The second half reminded me of a horror movie where everyone dies. It starts with everything going to shit and making you feel like the situation is hopeless for the protagonist, only for them to find the weapons stockpile and obliterate enough of what’s ailing them to make you feel like there’s a fighting chance for the poor bastard. While you’re doing this, you’re marginally aware everyone will be dying at the end and you will leave the theatre wondering why you watched in the first place.
The second half opened with the surprise twist of UD coming out of the gate with a 3-ball, but then over the course of the next 14 minutes would get outscored to the tune of 36-14. Easily the most frustrating part of this run was watching 11 of the final 16 points for VCU take place when the only useful player on their team (Tillman) was off the floor grabbing a breather. Personally I began to sulk. Over the course of the final 6 minutes, we would be entertained by the cruel fate of UD going on a 22-5 run, fueled by 5 collective 3-pointers between the basketball-players-Davis and Jalen Crutcher. The exclamation point would come damn near at the buzzer again, and wouldn’t you fucking know it…we had to watch more basketball on this night.
CRUTCHER TO CUNNINGHAM WE ARE GOING TO OVERTIME pic.twitter.com/zMwqsQAn96
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) February 11, 2018
In the OT, everyone on the court for UD besides Josh Cunningham was eclipsing the 40 minute mark in time on the floor…and it showed. The Flyers were able to generate nothing offensively and settled for six looks from long range, none of which went in. Conversely, they were 2-for-3 inside the arc, so it would seem they usually shoot better inside the arc, if you look at this sample set. I think if you look at other sample sets, we shoot better when it’s not long range, I think, maybe. I’m just a blogger what do I know, guys?
UD would score 5 points in the OT frame, and considering Tillman himself had 7, that was about all she wrote for your Dayton Flyers. Jonathan Williams would get to his evening thigh workouts slightly later than originally planned, but VCU escapes in front of a raucous, high-school-sized crowd, 88-84.
Boy, do I have some takes:
First things first, I have talked about this on twitter a number of times throughout the conference season, but the officiating from the Atlantic 10 conference, top to bottom, has been absolutely terrible this year. Personally, I watch about 4-5 A10 games a week, (I know, I know) and almost every game at this point is marred by dipshit calls from the zebras. In no way am I blaming this game’s result on the referees in a sour grapes manner, but it was merely another demonstration of officiating ineptitude in this conference that has been getting worse by the week. I can almost guarantee there will be some type of officiating controversy at this year’s A10 tournament.
If you take your Dayton hat off for a quick second, and just look at this video, it is 100% clear who the ball went off of…
THIS WAS JUST CALLED VCU BALL.
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) February 11, 2018
If you are taking calls like this to replay and STILL getting them wrong, there needs to be a discussion in this conference about what we’re doing from a filming perspective to allow the best angles to be presented to referees during reviews. This bullshit is unacceptable in 2018. The A10 conference doesn’t need to become the NFL when problems like this are avoidable. O ya, and AG shares my opinion, don’t get this man fired up or there’s going to be bodies to collect. This chap in the yellow shirt doesn’t even know how close he came to death.
That’s one of the finest on-camera “goddamnits!” I’ve possibly ever seen. Alright, back to the actual basketball…
- Jalen Crutcher is now definitively having one of the best freshman seasons in recent memory at the University of Dayton. He finished Saturday evening with 44 minutes of hard work, contributing 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting (5-12 3pt) to go with 7 defensive rebounds and 8 assists. He has become the glue of the team, and the spark of the offense. Whatever happens this season, every single UD fan can be happy that UD replaced Scoochie with this dude.
- Unless UD and VCU meet in DC for the A10 tournament, this is the last time we will be seeing Justin Tillman. I rarely take up space on this site to credit our foes, but Tillman has been the biggest thorn in UD’s ass since David West used to bend UD over on a bi-yearly basis, ages ago. In his last four contests against UD (Jr and Sr seasons) he has averaged 24.7 ppg and 9.75 rebounds per game. Good riddance dawg.
- DURRELL had a game to forget. 10 points aren’t as cool when they’re coupled with 7 turnovers, he’ll be aight, we all have off nights.
- Speaking of off-nights, the streak of them continues for Xeyrius, who logged another 0-minute outing. Some have told me he has a lingering injury issue, some have said he’s shackled up in the dog house, I honestly have no idea what’s up, but I think many will agree it’s hard to believe he can’t give this unit serviceable minutes when they’re desperately needed. (and make no mistake, they’re desperately needed) Of course, Grant was asked about it after the game by the hard-working Jablo, and shrugged it off to simply “him making a decision.”
I don’t want to fucking play Kostas and Xeyrius, alright? – Anthony Grant
You can read into this as little or as much as you need to, but playing freshmen in a season that’s decidedly lost always seems like a good idea to me, you know, if I was the coach. I’m not the coach, but if I were, you see, that’s what I would do. Again, if I were the coach. Only hypotheticals.
So where do things sit now?
Well, to be honest, just enjoy the rest of the season as best you can. That loss dropped UD into the 9th spot in the conference, but the good news is that the Flyers play 4 of the 5 bottom teams in the A10 down the stretch, (Mason, Fordham, LaSalle and GW) so maybe, possibly, some wins could be on the way to tide us over. The NCAA tournament is obviously far out of reach, I don’t (read: no one) should care about an NIT appearance, and making the top 4 heading to DC is a pipe dream as well, so getting to 500 to end the season should be the goal on the mind of every fan in the last month of the season.
If we’re really talking bare bones achievements that I need to see from this season, just don’t fucking lose to Fordham at home. That’s all. Lose the rest of your games by 100. Take your annual stomping to LaSalle in Swimming Pool Arena, whatever. Just do not lose to Fordham at home. If you want one last, pure moment in the Arena this year, sell the place out on Saturday with me, and bring the LOWD to ensure the Gem City Cagers avoid the most shameful of fates in our conference.
Do whatever you need to do on Wednesday night. Watch the game, don’t watch the game, write the team off, go out of the country, but come back on Saturday, good and LOWD and ready to not lose to Fordham at home.
Wear red, Stay LOWD, don’t lose to Fordham at home.
Quick thanks to Allaire and Jablo for providing all these things that make the page look good.
The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.