It has been 19 years since fans of the Dayton Flyers were in the precarious position of having to come to terms with a 4-5 basketball team that stinks. I believe all of us can only fall into two categories:
1. Positivity Guy
Everyone knows a positivity guy. These are the dudes who walked away from last night talking about the development of Jordan Davis, and what a great game John Crosby had. Positivity guy is sick of hearing about how bad the Flyers are this year. That’s not the end-all-be-all for him, he’s just along for the ride and enjoying his time watching basketball. The Flyers could lose by 38 and he would still find good takeaways. Positivity guys are most likely to commit mass shootings, everyone has a breaking point.
2. The Dayton Realists
The Dayton Realists need you to know just how bad the Flyers are whenever possible. They grow angry at watching Dayton teams like this, but have accepted their fate/fandom and will ride it out until the very end. They show up to see all the games, even though it means shortening their overall life span. The Dayton Realists know mid-major basketball is not for the faint of heart, they’re here for the long haul.
Most of the people who read this website fall into the second category, myself included. However, while I was ready for a season full of ups and downs, even I need to admit to you that I did not think this team was “lose at home to Penn” bad, but indeed, they are. Whichever camp you fall into whilst digesting this Flyers season, I only ask you to not judge the man who deals with these basketball atrocities in a different way than you. This feeling is certainly familiar to fans who have been following the program longer than 5 years, but it has been a while, so let each UD man, woman and child deal with this ugliness in their own way. We’re all Flyers here, after all.
Right, right, I guess we should talk about the game.
UD started Saturday’s late matinee the same way they have seemingly started every game besides Ball State: by going down big, early. By the second media timeout at the 12-minute mark, the Flyers were down 21-7 thanks to some red-hot shooting by the visiting Quakers and Sam “Call me Flash” Jones. As you could’ve guessed by watching any of the games this year, UD didn’t stay down long, and over the next 5 minutes rattled off 16 consecutive points to take the lead. They would hold that lead for exactly 105 seconds. A three by Jordan Davis would tie the game at 35 heading to the break, didn’t feel like there was anything to worry about yet.
The second half was head-scratcher after head-scratcher. Honest to god where do I even start? Do we talk about the number of minutes Matej Svoboda is getting? Or him being inexplicably matched up with the ONE GUY (Jones) who was killing UD towards the end of the game? Do we talk about Kostas and Jalen Crutcher both logging less than 20 minutes each? What if we talked about Anthony Grant going back to a zone defense that clearly wasn’t working just to see it get torn to shreds? We could also talk about UD’s utter refusal to get the ball to Josh Cunningham, a player who went 9 for 9 from the field and scored whenever he, you know, actually got the fucking ball. The list goes on and on. I didn’t even mention yet that John Crosby took 4 more shots than DURRELL or that the Arena sounded like a goddamn church all night. The Flyers lost the lead for the last time at the 19:14 mark to begin the second half and never got ahead again.
“This is probably the biggest win in my career here at Penn. I’ve never played in an environment or a stadium that big and it was sold out, so it was awesome. It didn’t feel like an upset, it felt like we were supposed to win that game”, Jones said.
(no one tell Flash Gordon that only 10,000 people went through the turnstiles and the students section was half empty, this sounds better)
The game was not without drama though. Cunningham’s layup with 3:34 remaining brought the good guys within two, but then as it was all night, Flash Jones hit a 3 and it would be all downhill sledding from the Quakers. (ok seriously though, who the fuck was this guy? He was so far down the depth chart Blackburn didnt even mention him in the recon) The Flyers punched themselves in the dick 3-4 times in a row in the last 3 minutes and went quietly into the cold Dayton night. In that 3:34 span to end the game…John Crosby was the only person to score. He truly looked like the only player in a white uniform who knew how embarrassing it was to lose to Penn at home. It was not enough, obviously, and your Dayton Flyers suffered their most humiliating defeat on the young season 78-70. Antonio Woods had this to say after the game:
“It was just fun to be back in that arena, I played there lots of times in high school. I’ve never lost a game in that gym, so I’m glad to be leaving still undefeated, Woods said.
They always say the score doesn’t tell the whole story, and sadly it is relatable in this case. UD was outplayed, out hustled and Anthony Grant was outcoached. Penn shot an absurd 59% from downtown (13-22) and normally you could say, “It was just their night” except that would be bullshit. Any collegiate player worth their salt, Ivy League or not, can make an uncontested, wide open three-pointer when given an opportunity. UD gave their opponents plenty of such opportunities. UD spent a large part of the game on defense chasing Penn like confused puppies.
To say the Flyers constantly look confused would actually be an understatement somehow. This recap is growing long, let’s just get to Hickory BBQ Hot Takes and call it a day. I could list 30-40 but for everyone’s sanity I condensed it down to 5:
1. Get Josh Cunningham the fucking ball. The end.
2. DURRELL taking nights off offensively is going to leave UD with very few options when it comes to scoring. Granted, 70 should be enough to beat Penn, but that’s assuming you have an average defensive unit.
3. Plenty has been said about John Crosby, but on a night when DURRELL just didn’t really show up, John did his best to chip in some scoring and fight to the bitter end. As long as you are willing to trade one turnover for one good play, he’s your guy. John played one of his better games in a Flyers uniform, finishing with 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting, 3 assists and *sighs* 3 turnovers. That’s what ya get.
4. Jordan Davis will be making an impact on this team for years to come. Jordan had another solid all-around game for the old U of D. He finished with 9 points on 3 long balls in 30 minutes of playing time. I saw someone on twitter say that he sees Jordan as a top 20 scorer in UD history when all is said and done. I’m not QUITE ready to jump on that hill just yet, but he has had a solid start to his career in Dayton. His decision-making is easily his greatest attribute.
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) December 9, 2017
5. Kostas, Trey and Crutcher all had very little impact on the game and it brings me back to the lineup choices by Grant. I am convinced he has a dartboard in the Donoher Center that he blindly throws at to determine who gets on the floor. There has been no consistency, rhyme or reason to the lineup combinations we have seen. I will not attempt to explain this.
While this loss was fucking terrible, it pales in comparison to the 29-point shellacking UD took to Buffalo on the home floor in 2011 during Ryan Miller’s first year. It’s ok to be pissed about what you saw this weekend, but I wanted to provide that perspective for the Chicken Little’s out there reading. This is not a very talented team right now, and there will be more lumps, prepare yourself. Inside word on the street is that Sam Miller has enrolled for second semester classes. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he can easily find minutes on this team. Christ.