The Flyers experienced a Gregorian closing to tonight’s game, which came after a Devin Oliver shot attempt a mere 22 feet away from the basket, in a one-point game, rimmed out. Khari Price’s quick heave from the foul-line came up short and the Redbirds left the Gem City with a 74-73 victory.
Illinois State is a simple team to figure out, they will work through Jackie Carmichael, get out on the break (scoring 19 fast break points tonight) and take smart shots. They are a consistent and precise team that will surely enjoy success from here on out.
We knew coming into the game that Carmichael was going to be the best player on the court and I’m sure Josh Benson will attest to Mr. Carmichael’s ability. The senior bigman dropped a double-double on the Flyers, scoring 25 points and pulling down 12 rebounds on the night. Guard Tyler Brown was predictably effective as well, scoring 16 points and dishing out 5 assists.
On a positive note, Dyshawn Pierre provided a much-needed boost offensively, scoring 14 points in thirty minutes of work. Matt Derenbecker hit a couple of threes and the Big Frog had his best outing of the season, finishing with eight points in eighteen minutes of encouraging play.
Down seven points with two minutes to play, the Flyers didn’t roll over. UD scored six straight points to close within one, had the final possession of the game, but simply made things harder for themselves than they needed with the outcome on the line. Still, it was heartening to see Dayton rally and almost steal a victory tonight.
The Flyers drop their second home non-conference game of the season with Murray State pulling into town on Saturday. No one is using the dreaded “must-win” label, but a win against the Racers would be a nice Christmas present for the Sweaters.
To close on a low note, because you know you wanted to, Kevin Dillard left the game with just over four minutes remaining and did not return to action. His status, like the direction of this team, is uncertain.