Reality is a fickle whore. Whether it’s a fake girlfriend or an 0-3 start in conference play, nothing slaps you in the face quite like the cold, hard truth. Much like Manti Te’o, the last 10 days have left the Gem City Cagers standing naked and red-assed, exposed for the entire world to see. In a vacuum, none of the three losses is particularly concerning, but the consecutive nature of the losses not only sounds the alarm, it may just put the entire season to bed.
A game like this is pretty easy to dissect, it was lost because Dayton turned the ball over way to often and were way too soft inside in the final few defensive possessions. Twenty-four turnovers is a disastrous number, made even more baffling by the fact UD is led by a senior PG and a freshman backup who rarely turns the ball over himself. In three A10 games, Dayton has turned the ball over 62 times. By every measure that number is unacceptable, and I am not sure how it gets better.
Even with turnovers, this game was ripe for the picking. Twice in the final minutes Dayton held a two point lead, and twice La Salle went inside to Jerrell Wright, who simply abused Josh Benson for consecutive “and 1s”. Devon Scott hit a free throw to tie the game, and La Salle’s Ramon Galloway connected on a pair to give the Fightin’ Giannini’s a two point lead. On the ensuing possession Devin Oliver inexplicably put the ball on the ground and was stripped, leading to a lay up, giving La Salle a four point lead with just under a minute to play. A pair of Derenbecker free throws and a steal by Dyshawn Pierre gave Dayton a sliver of hope, but as usual in late clock situations, Dayton could do no better than a contested Dillard 5 foot fade away lay up attempt that drew nothing but iron. A late Dillard three and a missed La Salle free throw gave Dillard one more chance, but his running three at the buzzer hit back rim. Game over. 0-3.
A program perpetually near the crest once again appears to have slipped and fallen back to base camp. Technically the season isn’t over, still plenty of chances for … hahahaha I couldn’t even finish that.
If you’re looking for a bright side, the freshmen continue to impress. Dyshawn Pierre is a star in the making, 13 points, 9 boards, and 6 assists. He did have 5 turnovers, but you expect that from freshmen. You don’t expect the 17 turnovers put up by the upperclassmen starters. Devon Scott is making a case for more minutes, playing eleven and putting up 7 points and 3 boards while giving at least a semblance of physical post defense. Khari Price and Jalen Robinson didn’t light up the board, but it’s hard to say they played poorly. Archie definitely has a young core to build on. It would be nice if the upperclassmen would, you know, stop sucking.
In the end, Dayton is still Dayton. They have a week off before hosting Fordham and Duquense in back to back home games, meaning they are likely to be 2-3 in A10 play when they stare straight down Jimmy Carter’s ass in two weeks. Once again, Dayton will head into the Cintas Center looking to salvage whatever is left of their season. I’m sure that will end well.