3 games in 3 days is no easy task, especially when your team only goes 8 players deep. However, no one is going to feel sorry for you once that ball is tipped and Oklahoma played the same amount of games as the Flyers did the past three days. There are many different ways that you can look at this game. You can choose to be optimistic about how the Flyers competed this holiday weekend against 3 teams that are ranked in the top 50 of the KenPom rankings. You can choose to be pessimistic about how the Flyers performed today and how they left one out there. I am going to do a bit of both. So let’s unpack what went down in the Bahamas this morning.
From the opening tip you could tell that our guys were affected by the start time. We started slow missing our first 7 shots and spotting OU a 9 point lead right from the beginning of the game. The first 12 minutes were a struggle for our guys and Oklahoma opened up a 14 point advantage leading 26-12. Dayton could have easily folded here and not got back into the game but to the guys credit the battled back to get within striking distance. A monster jam by Obi sparked a quick 7-0 run forcing Lon Kruger to call a timeout. OU responded out of the timeout getting the deficit back to 12 and holding a 7 point lead at the under 4 timeout of the first half. The Flyers won the last 4 minute segment of the first half putting the halftime score at 34-28. Not a bad place to be considering how poorly we played in the first half.
A fast 7-0 run by Dayton with 5 from Obi Toppin. pic.twitter.com/ZZXdcgLiMy
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 23, 2018
Dayton needed a quick run right out of halftime and got exactly what they were looking for. They got into a (brief) rhythm on offense and took the lead on a 10-0 run right out of the locker room. It was the best stretch of the game for Dayton and from the 8:57 mark of the first half to 15:29 of the 2nd. Dayton outscored Oklahoma 29-10 and looked like they could take control of the game with a score of 41-34, their biggest lead of the day. Then, signs of last years team began to rear its ugly head.
A Jalen Crutcher lay up at around the 12 minute mark would be the last points Dayton would score for 6 minutes of game time. By that point Oklahoma had retaken the lead 47-45 and they wouldn’t lose that lead the rest of the way. Jordan Davis made a three but Oklahoma countered with one of their own. The lead for the Sooners got to 8 with 2 and a half to play and was just too much for Dayton to overcome and they take a 65-54 L with them back to Ohio. They will now head home for another tough matchup with Mississippi St.
Not a banner day for the Dayton offense. Coming into the game the Flyers were shooting over 50% from the field and finished today’s game with a 31.7% fg percentage. A dreadful 6-24 from 3 for 25% and only shot 66% from the FT line. (more on that in a minute). Oklahoma rode Senior Christian James all game. He finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting and 4-8 from the arc and he was clearly the best player on the floor in this game.
Dayton only had one player shoot above 50% from the field, and that was Obi Toppin who finished 3-5 from the field for 7 points. Jalen Crutcher, Jordan Davis, and Trey Landers were our leading scorers but they were not efficient in getting those points. Crutcher finished with 14 to lead the team on 6-17 shooting. Landers and Davis both finished with 12. Davis shot 4-13 (3-9 from 3) and Landers shot 3-9 (1-2) from three. Now let’s talk about where Dayton is going to go from here.
Right after this tweet, Dayton went on to score 2 points over a 10 minutes stretch and, in turn, became the bozos. Don’t give me the “ran out of gas” shit. They got beat. The effort was there and Oklahoma outgunned em.
— Sully (@sullymygoodname) November 23, 2018
This Dayton team is already a lot better then last year. That means expectations are higher.
I can confidently say that this team is much better than last year. That also means we are going to expect more from them. You can be disappointed in today’s result, but it also isn’t the end of the world. This game will be a learning experience for our young guys that they can use to build on the rest of the season, you can say that about all three of these games in paradise.
It’s jumping off the court for Dan Dakich too, “this Dayton team is connected — which means they like each other and want to do what the coach wants. It’s amazing what that does for a team.” Yessir.
— John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) November 23, 2018
Dayton has got to get better from the Free Throw line if they want to succeed.
Dayton shot 66% from the line today which aligns perfectly with their season average and that isn’t going to get it done. A good free throw shooting team needs to be 70% and above. Our key players need to be better from the charity stripe. Crutcher is shooting 57% from the line which is awful from a point guard. Cunningham is shooting 52% and he will need to improve there this season as he could have games where he spends a lot of time there. Landers is a shade under 70% coming in at 69%. Free throws need to be a point of emphasis going forward because we are going to need to these to close games out down the stretch.
Dayton found their identity in this tournament.
One positive we can take away from this tournament is that Dayton, after desperately searching for one last year, has an identity to them. In all three games these guys did not care who was in front of them, they fucking competed. They weren’t intimidated by anyone and I honestly feel that these guys believe they can play with anyone. They played tough, hard-nosed basketball and showed a defensive intensity that they are going to need this season after some pretty poor defensive showings in the first couple of games.
The Flyers should not be taking 25 threes in a game.
Dayton is gonna have to win games in the old style of way. Getting the ball to the big fellas in the post, and scoring off the drive. The Cagers are shooting 31% from three this season. Threes are going to have to come from ball movement, inside out passing, and wide open attempts. I think 10-15 attempts a game is the sweet spot for this team and if you can get that percentage up to around 35-36% on those amount attempts it will make the offense much more efficient than it was today.
Jalen Crutcher has emerged, still waiting on Jordan Davis
I have poked fun at “Tom From Dayton” for his Crutcher take on Flyer Feedback after the PFW game since it came out. I think Jalen may have heard it too because he was a DOG in this tournament. He was easily our most consistent performer in the three games and when I talked about how this team isn’t intimidated by anyone, he is at the forefront of that point. This dude is a gamer and a competitor. It is easy to make a Scoochie comparison between the two but I think Crutcher is turning himself into his own player, he isn’t Scoochie Smith, and we don’t need him to be (at least not yet).
Jalen is only going to get better as he matures more and understands what it means to be the team’s leading guard. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Jordan Davis needs to figure it out. He hasn’t performed to standard these first 6 games and he is going to have to improve and quick. he is only shooting 27% from three this year and that isn’t going to work for this team. He needs to be the marksman he came to this school to be. I am not ready to hit the panic button on him yet, the season is still young, but there is plenty of work to do.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed on how this tournament run ended. This is a game that Dayton could have won, and I think they should have won. That ice-cold stretch in the 2nd half was their undoing and as we have talked about before we CAN NOT have those stretches in games. The good news is, these guys can learn from a game like this, it is a process after all. All in all, it is hard to be mad at how the Flyers competed this Thanksgiving and hopefully they can build on the good things they did and eliminate and improve in the areas that they didn’t. They get a much needed week off before they take the court again next Friday against Miss. St. NEED the crowd to be LOWD for that one as this is the first ranked non-conf. opponent to come to the arena since St. Mary’s in 2016. An excellent chance at a statement win to put on our resume. You all know the rules by know, Ware Red, Be Lowd, the whole nine yards. Let’s get back into the win column against God’s conference (Blackburn’s words, not mine).