RecapU. Dayton BasketballButler Bulldozed

Dayton takes down Butler, 69-64, in the first round of the BAD BOY MOWERS Battle 4 Atlantis
Sully3 weeks ago310 min

March 1st, 2017.

631 days.

That’s how long its been since the Dayton Flyers fan base has enjoyed a true moment of elation. Last year’s offensive outbreak at home against VCU was a band-aid on an otherwise gaping wound of a season, and Wednesday evening in the Bahamas we saw Anthony Grant exercise his first dose of medicine on returning the Dayton program to relevance.

I cannot sit here this morning and tell you that Butler is going to win the Big East, or even tell you with certainty that they will make the dance, but frankly. who gives a shit? Dayton played one of their best defensive games of the last 5 years to shut down and shut up the Butler Bulldogs, and will be rewarded this afternoon with a shot at Tony Bennett’s Virginia Cavaliers.

This guy looks LOWD as fuck

Since we have a quick turnaround and I’m doing my best to write this in the midst of screaming children, I’ll keep things concise and throw in some good tweets for flavor…mostly because Dayton twitter was HOT last night.

First things first, there were those WAREing red and being LOWD down in the Bahamas…

Flyers out showed Butler, obviously. UD Santa was sighted, all is well in our small corner of the world.

There’s something magical about playing a game in a ballroom on top of a carpet floor. You can’t duplicate that kind of atmosphere.

O ya, the game, right. The first 5 minutes of the game were a complete anomaly from what we would see the rest of the night. The Flyers were scorching hot out of the gate to spark a 13-4 early advantage, only to see Butler storm back and tie the score at 15-15. At the first TO, Dayton had only missed one shot and the teams combined to shoot 6-for-9 (nice) from 3-point range.

In the first, Butler relied heavily on high ball screens and quick slashes to the hoop while the ball was on the block, and the Flyers were effectively able to silence both. We had preached all offseason how this UD team was long and athletic, and we got our first glimpse of how that can be deployed to give opponents fits on offense. After the scoring outburst of the first 7 minutes, Butler would only manage to score 9 points the rest of the first half, including a 4 minute stretch heading into the break where they did not score at all. This blog is not here for the hyperbole, never have been, keep that in mind whilst reading this next sentence:

Dayton was dominant on defense all night.

The Flyers held Kamar Baldwin (Butler’s best player) to 2 points on 1-for-7 shooting, and coupled that with exploiting Josh’s matchup down low while Jalen Crutcher did some cooking. They would lead all halftime scorers with 11 a piece.

Butler did A LOT of settling for long shots in the first and set more moving screens than the oldest guy in a pickup game. This became such a thorn in the side of the Flyers head honcho that AG picked up a technical – more on that in one second, guys, stay with me. No tangents today.

This defense was so unexpected, even the T-man was impressed!!

If you are a passive basketball-watcher, the second half was not exactly going to rope you into loving the game. The first 11 minutes saw only 26 total points, evenly distributed between the Dawgs and UD. As was the story in the first, Dayton was just simply better on defense than any adjustments Butler could come up with, and the added defensive presence of *checks notes again* Jhery Matos (?) was the gods honest difference maker in the game.

To be honest, my worry going into this contest was that Dayton would not be able to get buckets when they absolutely needed them down the stretch. Jalen Crutcher was up to the task. UD might have something here folks, this motherfucker can ball…

After this ^^ layup, Butler had 5 minutes to cut a 15 point (!!) deficit, and simply couldn’t get it done. A familiar foe resurfaced, the free throw line, but it was not enough to derail the Flyers on this night. Butler would cut the lead to 5 with 45 seconds left, but simply ran out of time to close the gap once the Flyers mercifully hit a few freebies.

As I said in starting this column, this was absolutely, 100%, the best win for the program since the night we beat VCU at home to win the conference in March of 2017, and twitter was alive to tell the story:

Let’s get to the hot takes, we got another one of these thangs in a few hours as of this writing:

Jalen Crutcher had a coming out party, but he has work to do at the line. 

Crutcher was the guy who got the buckets when the Flyers needed them, and did an effective job of keeping the offense moving. His 20 points came on 6-for-8 shooting, 3-for-4 from downtown, and 5 rebounds with 3 assists. The two parts of his game that need work right now are pretty obvious in the box score: 5-for-10 from the line, and 4 turnovers.

Jhery Matos emerged as a lock down defender

Nothing to add from me.

Ryan Mikesell’s first half was the best of his career

The sweaters grandson, Chip, went 4-for-4 with 9 points, 1reb, 1stl, 1blk on 14 minutes of work and consistently was able to deny the entry pass into the post on defense. He would cool off in the second due to constantly being on the wrong end of foul calls, but I didn’t want his performance in the first to go overlooked.

Butler had very little answers for Josh Cunningham

18 points, 8 rebounds…zero fouls. When they would press up, he backed down his man into the hoop. When they backed off to wait for contact, JC faced them up for a short jumper. This man is the key to the Flyers success this season, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Fuck it, Ill say it again: Dayton’s defense was dominant. 

I’ll admit it, last night I had fun. It’s good to be back to just having fun watching basketball, if only for one night. Anthony Grant’s technical in the first half was just another sign that he wanted nothing to do with last year’s team, and got sick of the constant bullshit they put him through to get to 14-17. If Wednesday night’s triumph told us anything, its that we can count on commercials for divorced dads who need boner pills, and that the newest version of the Flyers has bought into the mission being pushed from AG. With this win, the Bahamas will go down as a success regardless of the next two games; so sit back, grab that next beer, tolerate your family and let’s see what the Flyers do next.

Wear red during Thanksgiving dinner and stay #LOWD

 

Sully

The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.

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The Legend of Mike Gurney
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The Legend of Mike Gurney

Thats the best a UD team has looked in a game for 40 minutes since the Stanford Sweet 16 with Browns Head Coach Condoleeza Rice watching and weeping.

MatadorMatos
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MatadorMatos

Can we start the Scoochie/Crutcher comparisons? Too soon?

Dr. Funk
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Dr. Funk

Crutcher growing scoochie balls with those end of shot clock drives And obi didn’t play well but still flashed elite talent with that pull up jumper and then the dribble drive lay up. Hard not to be optimistic about the future after that game.