There are many, many things to say about the basketball game that took place on Saturday afternoon between Dayton and St. Mary’s. I would like to preface this article by saying that this game was pretty much exactly what we thought it would be, despite three short minutes in our basketball lives.
Dayton played an absolutely atrocious offensive game for 37 minutes on this gloomy Saturday in the Gem City, and still managed to fight their way to within one possession with under a minute left. If you take absolutely nothing away from this game, these are the three takes I have:
1. There is absolutely no quit in this Dayton Flyers team, and the 2016-17 version of this team will fight to the last minute. That was abundantly clear today, given that the Flyers trailed by TWENTY points with 8 minutes to go, and actually saw themselves with the ball, down two, with a chance to tie under one minute to go. Which brings me to my next takeaway…
2. Xeryius Williams deserves zero minutes in the Flyers lineup until further notice (this may be dripping with hyperbolic juices)
3. Trey Landers is super-glued to the bench. We have no explanation for this.
The first half was pretty indicative of what you would expect from this game. St Mary’s was able to slow the pace of the ball game early, limit the scoring abilities of Charles Cooke, and dish the ball down low. The entry pass was there all day long in the first, and the small lineup of the Flyers simply had no answer. The Flyers tried mightily to close the gap towards the end of the first, but Charles Cooke missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with the Flyers trailing six (and the Arena ready to ride) and SMC answered immediately by scoring seven unanswered points and taking a 13-point lead into the half.
From that point on, the offensive atrocities continued. In the first 10:30 of the second half, the Flyers were able to muster a mere 8 points on a handful of terrible looks. The defense that was expected to fuel the Gaels’ rallies was instead was the catalyst that kept our boys in the game. SMC followed up that ridiculously bad stretch by hitting a couple shots and extended the lead to the aforementioned twenty. From that point on, things got nutty.
Archie started slowing the pace of the game himself, calling timeouts here and there, going one possession at a time, and chipped away at the lead little by little. The problem on this afternoon was that no one besides Scoochie and Charles was worth a single shit on offense. The defense was another story. Heading deep into the second half, it was glaringly obvious that the guard play of the veteran Flyers was superior to that of the Gaels. The quickness of the small lineup started to come into play, and turnovers followed. On the heels of their defense, the Flyers rattled off a 23-5 run and, miraculously, found themselves down two points with 15 seconds left. That’s when Xeryius happened…
The SMC inbound passed was tipped, and fell right into the lap of Xeryius Williams. From there, he looked around, then looked around again, then his eyes turned as wide as the sun, and he inexplicably drove to the hole despite a very obvious large man standing in front of him. He was called for a charge, SMC was able to get the ball inbounds after a couple tries, hit a couple free throws, and that was all she wrote. I would like to take this time to apologize to the man in Section 221, Row H. I believe I broke his seat in front of me when Xeryius committed that charge. It was the end of an absolutely forgettable day for him.
One thing that can be said about this game — the defense showed up, and showed up big. For all the complaining we do about Sam Miller (myself included) he played a very capable defensive game, and was physical enough to limit the amount of good looks SMC got at the basket…a very bare minimum compared to what we were expecting.
Now the Flyers lick their wounds and head to California to face Nebraska in the first round of the Wooden Legacy. Stay LOWD.