This wasn’t a surprising result, even your boy predicted a close UMass win, but the fashion in which the Flyers lost tonight’s game against Massachusetts was certainly unexpected. Although UD was out-rebounded by the taller Minutemen, it wasn’t really a factor. UMass, as has become customary, failed to deliver from the three-point line, connecting on just 29% of their attempts. Derek Kellogg’s team did hurt Dayton in the paint, scoring 44 of their 66 points in the lane, an aspect of the game Archie basically had to concede beforehand. The Flyers simply don’t have the size or depth to hold a team like UMass at bay inside.
However, as we have discussed many times this season, the Flyers will usually come out on top in games in which they hold their opponents to less than 70 points (UD was 16-1 this year under that scenario entering the game in Amherst). Dayton simply didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
Offensively, nothing seems to be an indicator of UD’s success this season than (1) scoring more than 70 and (2) hitting at least 40% from behind the arc. The Flyers did neither tonight, scoring 64 and hitting a mere 32% of their three-point attempts. Although it seemed like the Minutemen had this game well in hand late in the second half, UMass was up ten points with six minutes left, I came away feeling as though UD gave this one away.
The Cagers were within three, 62-59, when Dyshawn Pierre missed an uncontested layup with a minute remaining. On the replay it appeared that the junior forward was expecting contact and may have taken his eyes off the prize for a split second (Pierre had a particularly poor effort, racking up seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field. UD is 12-1 when Pierre scores in double digits, 4-3 when he does not, he’s kind of a big deal).
Regardless, it was symbolic of the way the waning minutes of the game went for UD. They were seemingly a play or two away (and probably a foul-shot or two away) from stealing this victory out from under the Minutemen.
Instead it’s back-to-back road losses for the Flyers, dropping their record to 16-4 (6-2) on the year. Fordham comes into the Arena on Sunday afternoon, the perfect opponent for a team that may be stretched to their limit physically and mentally right now. Hopefully UD can get out to a convincing lead, Bobby Wehrli can get around twenty minutes off the bench and the Flyers can put it in cruise control during the second half. A close one against the Rams may indicate that Dayton may be running on fumes.
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.