There have been many memorable battles throughout the storied history of the Arch-Baron Cup. There was, of course, last season’s 61-45 throttling by the Flyers, a game that was close throughout before Dayton went on a run to end the game with a comfortable victory. Obviously, if we are talking Arch-Baron Cup lore, there was the game later that same season which saw the Flyers eke out a 51-44 over their rivals in St. Louis. A game that went down to the wire, it has become one of the most discussed tilts in the Arch-Baron Cup series.
Those are just two of the contests which will forever define this heated series from now until the day the earth implodes. Tonight we add yet another cherished memory to our Arch-Baron vaults, as the Flyers absolutely decimated the reviled Billikens, 73-37 (as someone commented on Twitter, this will forever be known as the “Palindrome Game” going forward). Jim Crews has yet to win an Arch-Baron Cup and Archie Miller knows nothing but wins as far as the hollowed trophy is concerned. The win tonight will trigger a rather healthy bonus for Coach Miller, as his recent contract contained a large monetary incentive for keeping the Cup where it belongs – in the cozy confines of the Donoher Center.
With the nerves and tension that comes with this game, both teams got off to a rather listless start. The Flyers couldn’t buy a bucket and the Billikens were downright offensive. UD shot a mere 37% from the field, connecting on only 3-of-12 from behind the arc. Fortunately for the home team, Saint Louis was even worse, hitting 27% of their field-goal attempts and converting just 1-of-11 (that’s less than ten fucking percent, guys!) from three-point land. After 20 miserable minutes, the Flyers held a 26-17 lead and seem poised to get things on track after the break.
Archie explained the mood during the break. “I just told the guys that this is why they came to Dayton, to play in games like this. It’s no secret that legends are born during the Arch-Baron Cup, careers are made. I could sense that everyone in that locker room, from Scoochie and Kendall to Bobby and that little black guy, was feeling the pressure. We just had to calm them down at the half, remind them that they were just twenty minutes away from never having to buy another meal in this town again.” He added, “Right before we went on the floor for the second half I grabbed each player and told them that they would never fucking forget it if they lost this game.”
Miller’s speech certainly achieved the desired result as the Flyers went out and completely decimated the Billikens in the second frame. While Saint Louis continued to shoot the ball in an extremely unpleasant manner, Dayton caught fire. Led by the inside play of Kendall Pollard and the outside shooting of Charles Cooke, the Flyers took control of the game and strangled whatever life the Billikens had left in their soulless bodies. UD seemed like it could smell the fresh layer of polish on the Cup, as Archie’s club outscored their adversaries 47-20 over the game’s final 1,200 seconds.
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The blowout provided the Dayton starting lineup with an opportunity to rest their weary bones, with no player logging more than 27 minutes in the lopsided victory. Kendall Pollard, who was awarded the Harewood Horse Trophy as the game’s MVP, led all scorers with 18 points and added 8 rebounds on the night. Dyshawn Pierre was solid as well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 8 rebounds for the Flyers. Charles Cooke didn’t hit a three-pointer tonight, the first time since the Furman game that the junior wing failed to knock down a long ball, but still managed to drop ten points against SLU.
Asked after the game to describe his first time playing for the Cup, the James Madison transfer was direct in his reply. “I watched two Arch-Baron games from the sidelines last season and couldn’t wait to experience it this season. I was extremely nervous because you know there are so many eyes around the world watching the game, but I was able to push that out of my mind in the second half and contribute.”
Freshman Sam Miller added his thoughts after the contest as well. “I honestly didn’t want to play tonight. I was up all night with the bubble-guts and wasn’t sure I could go. But, it’s the Arch-Baron cup, right?” Miller teared up before regaining his composure. “Men have died for lesser honors. I’m just glad to put this one behind me and I’m thrilled we are keeping the Cup in Dayton.”
The victory pushes the Flyers’ record to 17-3 on the season, 7-1 in Atlantic Ten play. Now, Dayton tries to somehow refocus their energy on La Salle – the Explorers come into the Sweater Centre having already handed the Flyers a disappointing defeat back on January 9th.
Tonight’s victory completely washes out any bad taste that was left over from the defeat to Xavier back in Orlando. Dayton just took out its most bitter rival, assuring that there won’t be any layoffs in the Gem City this year. As usual, expect a significant uptick in babies delivered around the city in nine months. Everybody be gettin’ dey fuck on tonight. STAY LOWD.
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.