UD Outlasts Rhody, Reaches A10 Final

UD Outlasts Rhody, Reaches A10 Final

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Another prototypical victory for your Flyers today, as Dayton slugged its way to their 25th win of the season, a 56-52 victory over Rhode Island in the A14 semifinals. It was the type of game only a grizzled German man could enjoy, as both teams clawed and scrapped throughout the entire forty minutes of play. 

The first half felt like an amateur boxing match, the two clubs exchanging jabs and missing wildly with their power punches. The second frame was more of the same, Dayton and Rhody mired in sloppy play until the final whistle. It was an unpleasant contest to watch, the outcome being the only redeeming aspect of the matchup.

Rhode Island certainly lived up to their reputation on defense, holding UD’s trio of Pollard, Sibert and Pierre to just 12-of-33 shooting (36%) on the afternoon. The Canadian in particular struggled, hitting just four out of his fourteen shots — however, the junior forward came alive when it mattered most, scoring six of his ten points after the ten minute mark of the second half. Pierre also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Jordan Sibert wasn’t hitting from the perimeter, but did manage to lead the team in scoring with a dozen points. 

479160235UD shot a dismal 15% from behind the arc, connecting on just 2-of-13 from deep. Bobby Wehrli was the lone Flyer to hit from the three-point line, hitting both of his triple attempts. Wehrli was actually a key factor in Dayton’s victory, was active on both sides of the floor, and provided an offensive punch when Dayton needed it midway through the first half. The walkon was certainly a better option off the bench than DURRELL Davis, as the freshman is still in the midst of a month-long slump. 

Dayton’s defensive effort carried the day, the Flyers forced the Rams into twenty-one turnovers, which translated into twenty-two points for the Cagers of the Gem City. More impressively, UD allowed just sixteen points in the paint, never allowing Hassan Martin or Gilvydas Biruta to get going in the paint. Although URI was uncharacteristically accurate from three-point land, the Flyers held Rhody to an impressive 33% on two-point attempts. 

The Flyers, as usual, just made a play or two more than their opponent, avoided mistakes with the game on the line, and held on to earn their way to the Atlantic Ten Championship game, the Flyers first trip to the final since 2011 — the program’s chance to win the league title it last won in 2003 (when it was held in the Sweater Centre).

Although we can’t be sure what a win tomorrow means for the Flyers’ tournament seeding — I’d hope a victory over VCU would result in a seven seed for UD (a six seems like a stretch, but certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilities). Whether or not tomorrow’s game holds importance is debatable, however, it would be awfully nice to send this particular team into the Big Dance as a champion. BE LOWD, BE PROWD.

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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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