The last time I yelled the two “F Bombs” in conjunction with each other that much, I was standing on the sidewalk of New York’s Gay Pride parade. After battling back from a double-digit deficit, the Flyers chopped SLU’s lead down to two early in the second half on a Matt Kavanaugh SLAM. The senior took a pass from freshman Scoochie Smith, floated in the air for at least half a second, before jamming his seething sexual frustration through the hoop. It wasn’t quite Kurt Huelsman versus Xavier, but it’s surely a play we won’t forget about for at least 36 hours.
St. Louis had plenty of fight in them, however, taking blow after blow from the Flyers, seemingly never to relinquish the lead. Everytime UD pulled within a basket, or even tied the contest, the Bills responded with a play of their own. A Jordan Sibert three-pointer with around six minutes left gave Dayton its first lead of the game, 60-57. A few plays later, a Jalen Robinson three-pointer (!) with the shot-clock running down increased the margin to four in favor of the visiting Flyers. An and-one layup by Oliver, and a converted free-throw, at the four-minute mark gave UD its biggest lead of the game, 68-59. Things were looking good in Flyerville.
[pull_quote_center]Prior to Wednesday’s victory, Dayton had never in its program’s history defeated a ranked conference opponent on the road. UD was previously 0-for-15 against ranked teams on the road in the Midwest Collegiate, Great Midwest and Atlantic 10 Conferences.[/pull_quote_center]
And that’s when things began to unravel. Like a book you’ve read too many times, the Flyers, to no one’s surprise, went into full pucker mode. Beset by turnovers and fouls, UD looked to be in full Dayton mode with the game drawing to a close. Dwayne Evans bullied his way into the paint, kissed the ball off the glass for an easy layup, and suddenly the Flyers had just a one-point lead with 35 seconds remaining. Then, inexplicably, the two teams completely switched emotionally. UD calmly sank free-throws and the Billikens hurriedly fired off three-pointers, the Flyers were in control and SLU seemed completely out of sorts. When the game was on the line, it was the Flyers that exhibited poise while Saint Louis ran around like they were under a drone attack.
— Morgan Miller (@BballWife4Life) March 6, 2014
The Flyers had their statement game, eventually dispatching the Billikens, 72-67. The huge road win pushes UD’s record to 21-9 on the season, 9-6 in conference play. From all accounts, this victory pushes UD off the bubble and safely into the field. The SLU win gives Dayton its fourth win over a Top 50 RPI team, its eight win in the PRI Top 100 and gives them an excellent shot at reaching their perceived magic number of 23 wins.
All the Flyers have to do is take down Richmond this weekend and win a game in the conference tournament to seal the deal.
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.