Not going to go to deep on this one as there isn’t too much to say. UD got undressed, pink-socked, debacalized, etc. Xavier came out determined to put a hurting on Dayton and that’s exactly what they did, winning 90-61 (and it wasn’t even that close). The loss drops UD to 5-1 on the season, temporarily putting a damper on those Final Four plans we all made after beating Iowa.
It never felt like Dayton was even in this one. The offense had more turnovers than made field-goals late in the first half and the Musketeers were getting to the rim with ease – when they weren’t dropping bombs from three at a 42% clip. Xavier’s offense was as balanced as ever, six players scoring in double-figures, scoring from damn near every spot on the floor.
The turnover situation has become a full-blown calamity. Another 22 today just adds more misery to an aspect of the game the Flyers are going to have to address immediately. 22 turnovers will get you beat against Xavier and it will get you beat against Saint Bonaventure. UD is talented enough to beat any team remaining on its schedule, turnovers are one area of the game that will completely decimate any advantage in talent. Get it sorted out, Arch.
Whereas the previous five contests allowed us to focus on the extremely positive, this one permitted us to see glaring flaws. Big Steve was clueless defensively, outclassed and outwitted. X continually pounded the ball into the middle waiting for Chief to over-commit before dumping it off under the hoop for easy buckets. Kendall Pollard seemed to be the only Flyer on the floor with an aggressive attitude offensively, he constantly challenged X’s bigs in the lane drawing fouls and getting to the line.
Dayton was fortunate to get to the stripe as much as they did, scoring 21 of their total of 61 points from the foul line (X, by comparison, only scored 16 from the line, scoring an unbelievable 74 points from the field). Gem City only connected on 25% of their three-point attempts, shooting poorly from the perimeter is always a recipe for disaster for this team.
Make no mistake, Xavier is a really, really good team. They rebound, they defend and they can shoot it. They will no doubt win 20+ games and be in the Top 25 for the rest of the season. They were Dayton’s better in every phase of the game.
This was an ugly loss, but certainly not a season-defining one. As a whole, it’s rather meaningless – outside of a constant and painful reminder of how perceptions of a team can change in less than 48 hours. UD took a dehumanizing loss like this late in the 2013-14 season, a 26 point blowout at St. Joe’s, and still managed to make the Elite 8 that season. Keep it in perspective, hug your kids and the elderly.
The important thing is UD got the two necessary wins down in Orlando, including a resume-building victory over Iowa. As I said yesterday, a win against Xavier would have been icing on the cake, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The season has barely started, we can still get LOWD.
Dayton can get their minds right with a beating of North Florida this Saturday.
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.