Dayton picked up its twenty-first win on the year tonight, pulling away from George Mason. 76-63. The game, outside of the result, was of little consequence. Mason was arguably the worst team in the conference coming into the game, and UD had yet to lose at home (15-0 on the year after tonight’s conquest). The Flyers would have needed to experience a complete meltdown to fall victim to GMU.
Jordan Sibert was dialed in, scoring a game-high 24 points, connecting on 5-of-6 shots from behind the arc. Kendall Pollard added a solid performance, putting up a 16/8 effort against the visitors. Again, as has been the story for most of the season, it wasn’t so much Dayton as it was their opponent. Mason was horrendous defensively, and didn’t have enough offense to keep pace with UD for 40 minutes.
The big news came from elsewhere in the conference, as several upsets help propel Dayton into a four-way tie for first place in the league. Richmond was able to hold off VCU in double overtime, Davison went into Rhode Island and came away with an impressive win and, most importantly, St. Joe’s took down UMass in Amherst — giving the first-place foursome a two game buffer with just three games to play (all but mathematically assuring that the quartet on top will get byes to the quarterfinals of the A10 tournament).
The race for first-place comes down to the next ten days, with each team having to endure the following schedules:
Dayton: at VCU, Rhode Island, at La Salle
VCU: Dayton, at Davidson, George Mason
Davidson: George Washington, VCU, at Duquesne
Rhode Island: at La Salle, at Dayton, St. Joseph’s
Honestly, a case can be made for every team — and you’d have to think the VCU v. Davidson game might be the most crucial tilt of the bunch (UD/Rhode Island running a close second). All praise be to St. Martelli, he made the late-season picture that much clearer.