To know me is to know how much I dislike New England sports teams. And since few of you know me, I’ll elaborate: I despise Boston sports. The Pats, the C’s, the Bruins…can’t stand any of ’em. I’ll admit it’s mostly jealousy of their successes – but a major reason is the fans. UMass, while far from Boston (90 whole miles), is no exception. There is no group of people who raise their noses higher than the people of New England (particularly Boston). You know that scene in Titanic where Jack gets invited to dinner with Rose’s asswipe fiancé and family? Bostonians are Cal and Rose’s mom; anyone outside of Boston is Leo (don’t pretend you don’t appreciate the comparison and haven’t seen the movie a hundred times). Most people from Boston will actually argue no world exists outside of their beloved hometown. I always welcome the chance to play a Massachusetts team, as beating them feels so very sweet. Unfortunately I find myself foot-in-mouth tonight after the Flyers put up a complete stinker in Amherst.
The Dayton team that showed up tonight showed zero resemblance to the one we watched last week. The first half was a real hoot. Archie announced beforehand Cooke wouldn’t start but would play his usual minutes. Fortunately, Darrell Davis was ready and waiting for his third straight start. Ninety seconds into the game he was fouled behind the three-point line and somehow made all three shots, which was paired with another three ball. I couldn’t tell whether it was accidental or not, but the kid scored our first six points. After giving DURRELL five whole minutes of PT, Archie got nauseous and told Cooke to check in. At this point the game was tied, 10-10.
There was no rhyme or reason to UMass’s defense tonight, which is precisely why it worked. They ran around like madmen and made our boys look like amateurs in the process. I’ll say what everyone was thinking all night: Big Steve would have eaten Holloway alive. The good news is it only took seven minutes for our boy John Crosby to do his first “take the ball coast-to-coast then toss it straight up to Jesus” move. What scares me is how little it surprises me anymore. I shouldn’t be expecting that from a guy who’s supposed to take over at PG next year. I’m beating my head against a wall here but they HAVE to work on him and another guy I’ll get to shortly (hint: last name rhymes with “Thriller”).
Cookie knocked down 5 straight points which took us into a timeout up 15-10. Common sense would imply that taking away the six turnovers we had during the first nine minutes of the game would have given us a larger lead, but Dayton renounces easy. UMass drilled two 3-balls in a row and jumped ahead by a point. Speaking of three’s: Sam Miller chucked up his second brick from the three line on the following play. Watching him has become so painful the only way I can explain it is with my old man’s texts. I want him to be good, we NEED him to be good.
After Miller’s brick and a lackluster defensive effort by DURRELL, JC Anderson ran the rebound down the floor and had himself a jam. Archie called a timeout and erupted on Baby D in a way that makes you think he has to read this site. Another bucket for the Minutemen after the timeout capped off a 10-0 run which only ended after Darrell took a foul from behind and made both charity shots.
Before anyone could take a sip of their Diet Fresca, UMass went back down and nailed a three to put them up ten with 4 minutes remaining. They were now 5-10 from behind the arc (one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in North America, mind you) and Dayton responded with its tenth turnover of the night. To keep our abysmal performance going, Kyle fouled Pipkins from behind the three-point line and the freshman guard converted all three foul shots. Apparently Cooke was jealous of all the action his teammates were getting, so he traveled on the next play which brought our turnover count to 11.
I can’t write any more about this half so here’s the quick conclusion: Dayton finished with eleven turnovers, allowed UMass to go on a 16-2 run, and DURRELL was our leading scorer with 8 points. The scoreboard read 34-27 UMass as we went into the locker room. If this were a piece of paper I’d be burning it by now.
Here's your reminder Dayton hasn't won a regular season game @ UMass since February 2004. ??♂️
— John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) January 12, 2017
Cooke was horrible, Scoochie wasn’t Scoochie, and finishing the half down seven didn’t light a fire up under that ass like it should have. We came out and played the first ten minutes of the second half close, getting within one point thanks to a Cooke three-pointer. But we never came back after UMass took off on another 10-0 run. Just an all-around putrid performance tonight. The boys couldn’t buy a bucket or a board. The one bright spot (I guess?) was Kyle going 6-8 from the field and finishing with 16 points. We finished 31% from the field (to their 41%) and allowed Holloway to drop 14 points.
Nothing to see here. pic.twitter.com/DowXX36mGv
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) January 12, 2017
Since you all know I’m a “glass half-full” guy, and never pessimistic, let’s discuss some silver linings here. Forget tonight. One game doesn’t end us now. Allow Archie to chew their ears off in the locker room, then we’ll take care of business at Duquense on Saturday afternoon. Two days ’til the weekend, three until another Dayton game. Don’t even think about turning down the LOWD.
Holler at me: @KTuleta