Dayton came into today’s contest with La Salle with a simple game plan: get the ball in the paint and avoid a three-point shooting contest with the Explorers. UD scored 30 of their 59 points in the paint and attempted just seven three-pointers in the game (I’m not going to look it up, but I’m extremely confident that is a season-low for the Flyers). La Salle took the air out of the tires for forty minutes, but it wasn’t enough this time as Dayton came away with a 59-44 victory.
The win pushes the Flyers’ overall record to 18-3, UD is 8-1 at the halfway point of the conference schedule. Dayton, VCU and St. Joe’s have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the pack – with many speculating that the league finale between the Flyers and VCU will be the deciding tilt for the regular season conference title. The Flyers still have plenty of business to take care of before that matchup.
Reverting back to today’s game with La Salle, the Flyers simply did what needed to be done. Pounded the ball inside, drew fouls and kept the Explorers in front of them defensively. Although La Salle’s style of play essentially took away UD’s transition game, the Flyers remained patient on offense, a stark contrast to their hurried shot-selection when these two teams met back in early January.
Archie went with his “I’m not fucking around” lineup this afternoon, starting the usual quintet, rolling DURRELL, Crosby and Big Steve off the pine when he saw fit. No Miller, no Mikesell, no X-Man (Williams’ exclusion seems odd, considering he arguably played the most consistent out of all the freshman during UD’s non-conference slate, but what do I know). It is clear Coach Miller has found his core contributors and will try to ride those eight as long as he can. Obviously there will be plenty of occasions for the aforementioned freshmen to get time as chances present themselves, but don’t expect to see much of them as the season progresses.
The Flyers, limited to just 55 possessions, managed to shoot 48% from the floor, 43% from behind the arc and hit 62% of their freebies. UD completely decimated La Salle on the boards, outrebounding the Explorers 40-23 – almost 30% of Dayton’s points came on second-chance opportunities. Turnovers were the only thing that kept Dr. John’s team in the game for most of the afternoon. The Flyers turned the ball over on a quarter of their opportunities, which is odd considering La Salle’s absolute fear of defense.
Individually, Kendall Pollard followed up his Harewood Horse Trophy performance with another solid showing, finishing with eighteen points and eight rebounds. The junior was even productive at the charity stripe, connecting on 8-of-12 from the line. Dyshawn Pierre seemed out of sorts against the Explorers, but ended the contest one rebound away from a double-double (13 points, 9 boards).
Kyle Davis hit a couple of threes in the game, meaning his three-point percentage on the season has triumphantly passed the 30% mark. KD was always the one guard opponents could slump off on, but he had a perfect week from deep and seems to becoming more and more confident shooting from the perimeter. He has improved in every offensive category imaginable and is even pulling down 3.4 boards per game. While his development hasn’t been as apparent as Scoochie’s, it is still a testament to Davis’ commitment to improvement. Why can we all be Kyle Davises? Davisi?
Long story short, the Flyers have been taking care of business lately, winning their sixth straight and will likely wake up a ranked team on Monday. UD gets a bit of a reprieve this week as they won’t lace ‘em up again until next Saturday at George Mason. After Mason, UD will hit the meat of the schedule after they return from Fairfax – games at Rhode Island, St. Joe’s, Richmond and matchups at home against VCU and Rhody remain to be played.
Regardless, it’s the end of January and your Flyerz have already wrapped up eighteen wins and seem to be playing for a seed rather than a bid. So much to be LOWD about. I’ll see you fuckfaces on the other side.