Let’s start with twenty seconds left in the game. After a pair of made free-throws from Pierre Bland, which put IPFW up four, the Mastodons called a timeout to ostensibly talk strategy. What was said in that huddle will remain a mystery, but we do know that the visitors came out of that timeout and did the following:
- Did not pick up Dayton full-court
- Allowed UD to roll the ball to half-court
- Permitted Khari Price to scoop the ball off the floor without any pressure
- Stood flat-footed while an unobstructed Price dashed to the basket in 2.3 seconds to convert a layup.
What was once a two-possession game became a one-possession game in less time than it takes to watch Anthony Davis get an anal cavity search on Vine. Not coach Tony Jasick’s finest hour. The Mastodons likely come out victorious if they, at the very least, applied just token pressure on UD during that possession, eating up just enough clock to create a scenario where Sibert’s shot never took place. Instead, they opened the door for the Ohio State transfer’s game-winner. What makes IPFW’s actions that more puzzling is the fact they made the correct strategic call just eleven seconds later, opting to foul Khari Price up three. Price rewarded the Dons with a miss, hitting the second shot to pull the Flyers to within two.
What occurred immediately after Price’s foul-shot will go down in Dayton lore as both one of the more exciting and sobering plays in recent memory. IPFW’s Pierre Bland, IPFW’s worst foul shooter (good job, Coach Jasick!) threw the ball to midcourt, where it was picked off by a leaping Khari Price, who proceeds to fall to the ground (did he travel?) and toss a swift pass to Kyle Davis from his stomach. Davis then takes a quick awkward step to his right (did he travel?) before finding Sibert in the corner for the game-winning shot.
The team and the crowd celebrate like they just beat the 95-96 Chicago Bulls. Price to Davis to Sibert becomes UD’s Tinker to Evers to Chance. The DJ spins some dope cuts to celebrate and the Sweater Nation goes home satisfied with this afternoon’s entertainment. Once the dopamine and serotonin wore off, we were left with what was simply an 81-80 victory over a mid-table Summit League program.
The win was certainly not the type of game that instills confidence. Dayton’s defense is once again effort-resistant and the Flyers have forever lacked the type of intensity needed to knockout a lesser foe in due time. However, the pieces are there, I believe this.
UD has a bonafide stud in Dyshawn Pierre. It has Sanford and Sibert, two players capable of getting on a roll and making things happen with the ball in their hands. The Cagers have a point guard that values the basketball and is a threat from behind the arc. With Kav back in the lineup, the Flyers now have the type of size and depth to keep opponents in check on the boards. It’s not immediately known what type of contribution the freshmen will make, Scoochie Smith seems the most likely to make an impact, but anything positive will be a blessing. This team can absolutely compete with anyone in the Atlantic Ten this season.
And remember, a win is a win is a win.