Predictable Exposure

Predictable Exposure

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I have two rules: (1) Never blame the refs and (2) always “plump up” before you get a physical. However, I am going to take some umbrage with the officiating during today’s tilt at Richmond. The refs were blowing more whistles than chicks at a party with Matt Kavanaugh (Okay, THAT was the last Kav joke ever. Swear). The Spiders got to the charity stripe 35 times, converting an inspired 32 attempts (91%). By contrast, the Flyers got to the foul-line just 18 times during the ballgame. That’s a big discrepancy, especially in favor of a team like Richmond — best described as passive offensively. However, on the road you take what you are give. Even if that’s a middle finger from the officials.

BeSmFcNCYAALvo0Referring aside, there is plenty of blame to spread around. Outside of Dyshawn Pierre, the only Flyer to score in double-figures, no one on Dayton stepped up on the offensive end. I thought Vee Sanford’s play against Fordham (16 pts) would encourage more of an effort today but it was the same inconsistent Sanford we have come to expect. Archie has cut the senior’s minutes since conference play began, Vee is playing around 18 minutes per game over the last three contests, and hopefully a light goes off before it is too late. Siebert has cooled off drastically since the Murray State game, shooting 35% from the floor and 37% from three since the Flyer victory over the Racers. Devin Oliver, UD’s glue guy, had two points on 1-of-6 shooting and was plagued by foul trouble.

The problem with a team that struggles defensively is that oftentimes the offense can’t bail you out. It happened against Illinois State, it happened against Saint Louis (however forgivable) and it happened today against Richmond. There are nights when the ball isn’t dropping, things aren’t going your way, foul trouble is an issue, etc. On days like those, you have to ratchet up the defense and get stops. Up until this point, Dayton is incapable of doing so. Dayton is now 9-0 in games it scores eighty points or more. They are just 4-5 in games they don’t. This team is simply too dependent on their offense to compete night in and night out.

A brief postmortem form the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

[quote_box_center]Of all of the places on the court that the University of Richmond could win a basketball game, the free-throw line seemed among the least likely. The Spiders headed into Saturday afternoon’s game vs. Dayton ranked last in the Atlantic 10 Conference in free-throw percentage (63.8).

But UR’s guards, Cedrick Lindsay and Kendall Anthony, consistently drew Dayton fouls by driving, and the Spiders converted 32 of 35 free-throw attempts (91.4 percent) to win 73-64 before a capacity crowd of 7,201 at the RobinsCenter, whose grand opening was celebrated.

Richmond (12-6, 2-1 in A-10) has beaten the Flyers (13-5, 1-2) in six consecutive meetings at the RobinsCenter. Dayton came into this game ranked No. 45 in the most recent RPI.

The Spiders trailed 43-37 with 17:23 left when Dayton point guard Khari Price went out with his third foul. He sat for four minutes, and that was enough time for Richmond to gain momentum it never lost.

Anthony (18 points) and Lindsay (17) combined to make 22 of 25 from the FT line. UR post man Alonzo Nelson-Ododa had six blocks. Dayton made 51 percent of its shots from the field and scored four more field goals, but went to the FT line 18 times and hit 15.

Richmond in the first half went to the FT line 14 times and made 13. Dayton experienced difficulty checking Lindsay and Anthony. Each is a quality 3-point shooter, and the Flyers crowded them on the perimeter.

The Spiders were in the one-and-one with 8:19 left in the first half, and that allowed them to stay in the game. Dayton scored 14 first-half baskets to Richmond’s nine. But the Flyers led by only four (36-32) at intermission.

Statistically-speaking, the Spiders are the A-10’s worst rebounding team, and Dayton is among the best. But Richmond was beaten on the boards by only one rebound, and UR grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.[/quote_box_center]

One positive takeaway, Kendall Pollard really impressed me today. The freshman played with poise and purpose, had a slam that gave UD some juice and added a nice swat in transition to keep UR off the scoreboard. Putting on my Jon Rothstein cap (or yarmulke), Pollard’s game seemed familiar and it hit me today — Ron Artest. Everything about the freshman, even his missed foul-shot late with UD down four, was reminiscent of Artest. I have no problem with the young brother pulling more minutes as the season progresses.

Dayton drops to 13-5 on the season, a harrowing 1-2 in league play. Archie’s squad now faces a must-win situation at home Wednesday against VCU.

The Flyers still have plenty of time to build an encouraging case for postseason play. However, a handful of wins on the road and winning out at home are likely part of the equation. Does anyone else feel that this is the same situation the Cagers put themselves in every season around this time? Frustrating.

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Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o’ D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.

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