The last late-season collapse that caused UD to miss the NCAA tournament came in the 2009-10 season, Brian Gregory’s penultimate year at the helm. Flashback to February 10th, the Flyers were sitting at 17-6 (6-3), coming off a blowout of Charlotte in the Arena. UD was sitting fairly comfortably on the right side of the bubble and it appeared that Dayton was going to make back-to-back appearances in the Tournament for just the second time in 35 years. Everyone was WAREING red, and the Decibel Dungeon was fucking LOWD.
A close loss at Saint Louis did nothing to dampen spirits, the Billikens were a solid team and a win at their gym was hardly foreseeable. UD jumped back into the win column the following game, a double-digit victory over La Salle at home. Then, the wheels came off. UD lost four of their next five matchups, closing out their season with a heart-breaking loss to Saint Louis in Dayton. The Flyers needed to do some serious damage in the Atlantic Ten tournament, most believed a finals appearance would do the trick, to keep their post-season hopes alive.
After beating George Washington in the first round of the A10 tournament, UD met up with Xavier in the closing game of the A10 quarterfinals. The Flyers were confident, having defeated the Muskies by 25 a month earlier, and came out strong. UD held a 15 point lead with ten and half minutes to go but couldn’t buy a bucket the rest of the way. Xavier quickly chipped away, and took the lead on a Tu Holloway three-point play with around a minute remaining in the game.
The game is fondly remembered for an incident between Rob Lowery and Holloway that occurred late in the contest, which sealed the deal for Xavier:
The play that will haunt Gregory and his team was the technical against Lowery with 33.6 seconds to play and Xavier ahead 70-68.Lowery had dribbled the ball just over half-court and called time out. As he turned to go to his bench steps away, Holloway walked over and slapped the ball out of his hands.Lowery took exception and swung at him in a slapping motion right in front of official Brent Hampton, who immediately told crew chief Joe DeMayo. He watched the play on videotape and then told both coaches he was calling a technical, which did not make Gregory happy.
Holloway hit both technicals, and then converted two more after being quickly fouled and the Flyer season was history. UD did go on to win the NIT Championship that season, but most of the non-Prider faction of the fanbase was less than satisfied with that result.
Dayton finds itself in a similar situation this year, as their performance over the final five games of the regular season will have an enormous impact on their post-season destination. Having already started off with an upset loss to Duquesne, the Flyers look to avoid the sins of their predecessors. The hope is that if there is to be some Musketeer punching, it will occur in the first round of this year’s Kentucky Invitational Tournament.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]
Jim Larañaga should conduct a seminar on job jumping. The current coach at Miami (the Cuban one) parlayed Mason’s improbable Final Four run in 2006 into a serious candidate for just about every job opening around that time. Eventually, the Patriots talent and experience petered out and Larañaga made a run for South Florida after GMU exited the NCAA Tournament in 2011. Larañaga saw his absolute last chance to leave for greener pastures and took it. It’s the kind of leapfrogging Oliver Purnell advocates.
Since Larañaga departed the George Mason basketball program has been spiraling downward. Part of this obviously is the leap in the quality of competition when Mason left the Colonial for the Atlantic Ten in 2013. The Patriots’ win totals over the past four years: 24-22-11-8 (currently). The glory days in Fairfax are dead and buried.
Did George Mason lose to Fordham? Yes. Are they currently in the cellar of the Atlantic Ten? Yes. Let’s carry on.
An A10 rookie-team honoree a year ago, having a blah season.
An excellent defender, having a breakout year for the Patriots. Has chronic tendinitis in his knee but somehow found a way to stay academically eligible.
Promising freshman, had interest from Florida and FSU.
Mason’s best shooter and footie pajama enthusiast.
Jamaican banger, has the conference’s biggest penis.
Sort of a big recruit coming out of Christ the King in NYC, never amounted to much.
[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Numbers Game[/title]
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[title type=”fancy-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]
I refuse to believe the Flyers will put their season on the brink with a home loss to George Mason. UD wins, 77-65.