When the great founding fathers of the Arch Baron Foundation got together on a blistery cold night in Dayton, OH to form the great basketball rivalry you know today as the Arch-Baron Cup, Tuesday’s tilt in the Gem City was precisely what they had in mind: ugly, sloppy, pants-shitting basketball that comes down to the wire. The newest chapter of the Arch-Baron Cup had it all. An installment for the ages.
(It has come to my attention that many do not know the true history of the Arch-Baron Cup, so I conveniently provided that for you here)
While both teams were coming off wins going into The Cup on Tuesday, momentum is rarely carried over when ball hits floor in this rivalry. Once you got over the sex stuff swirling around SLU, the first half was vintage Arch-Baron Cup: slow offense, suffocating defense, lots of turnovers. Davell Roby would lead the charge for the Billikens, scoring all 11 of his total in the first half on the back of selective shooting and open looks. He would be silenced in the second, one of the main reasons the Flyers were able to turn the tables in the end.
The story of the evening would begin around the 12-minute mark with the substitution of the lanky Greek kid. Kostas and his foreign pal Matej checked in to give breathers to Josh and Trey, and Kostas proceeded to score the most routine two-point bucket I have seen this season. I made Matt Allaire go back and find the video this afternoon so I could include it in this post:
You all know what you saw here: Kostas gets the mismatch on the block, he gets an entry pass from Crutcher, he makes literally one move and plops in a kindergarten two-pointer. I really don’t know how you can see plays like this as a fan on February 20th and then rationally explain why Kostas has not been given opportunities to do this all season. It’s just one of the many questions we have been asking of Grant this year. If you think we’re the only ones who notice, you would be incorrect:
Is Anthony Grant really THIS bad?— The Bona Blog (@BonaBlog) February 21, 2018
The end of the first frame was close to the worst stretch Dayton has played offensively this season. In the final 11 minutes, UD would score 3 baskets from the field, get outscored by the Billikens 18-8 and Grant did the “playing a walk-on” thing again. I want to address this once and then be done with it. Brooks Hall said this is on Flyer Feedback after the Fordham win, and I’ll just echo it: you cannot truly convince me a walk-on can give you better contributions on the court than the scholarship players you have on the bench. Saying otherwise is blowing unnecessary smoke up everyone’s ass. I’m sure Jack is nice boy from a good family. I know a message when I see one, so do you.
In the final 6 minutes of the aforementioned 11, Dayton would commit SIX turnovers en route to a 9-point deficit in the locker rooms. The scoring was balanced, which you could argue was part of the problem, no one in white finished with more than 5. Dayton committed six turnovers in the final six minutes. That felt like something I needed to type out twice.
We did get to see Trey Landers FULLY SEND IT IN DOE!
The second half really got cooking around the 8-minute mark, when two Kostas free throws tied the game at 39-39 (not even 80 points, with eight minutes left!!). The end of the game for UD was basically just a routine in seeing if their team could outscore Hasahn French. French came back on the floor from foul trouble and scored the next 10 consecutive points for the Billikens, and 12 of the last 13 overall. French was the only SLU player to make a basket for his team in the last 13 minutes of the game. Do I credit UD? Do I blame SLU? Do I stop watching basketball for a week? What do I do with this information?
Down the stretch, a mixture of non-existent SLU offense and a few Trey Landers clutch plays were the difference in the result. Landers put together a Shades-of-Scoochie Finish, logging 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal over the last 4 minutes. That’s the dirty dirty. The assist was the prettiest play he’s made this season, easily, if he hadn’t jammed the shit out of that alley oop (above). What a day for that Dayton boy.
(since Allaire is back from the #PizzaIncident he was able to provide us with some snazzy videos)
After Jalen Crutcher iced it at the line, Javon Bess’ long 3 would come up short, and the Flyers would escape with a Cup win as grimey as Werner Harewood himself. It would be fair to say the Flyers were finally able to grasp the shame that comes with losing the Cup. Luckily, they only had to wear that shame for 24 days. The Cup is back where it belongs, and the dreadful fate of letting The Cup reside in St Louis until 2019 is avoided.
The vote for the coveted Harewood Horse Trophy? Closer than ever.
So much so that the Arch Baron Foundation asked me to go to the fine people of Dayton Twitter to decide, and they never let me down, providing the nicest, and most conclusive results we could ask for.
.@BlackburnReview it's a tight race tonight. Give me your Harewood Horse Trophy Winner for the game recap. Tonight's MVP:— Sully (@sullymygoodname) February 21, 2018
For the first time in the storied rivalry’s history, a foreign-born player is awarded the Harewood Horse Trophy. The Foundation would not allow a non-American player to win the award until 1981. We’ve come a long way.
In the closest vote in memory, Kostas Antetokounmpo edges out Trey Landers for the Harewood Horse Trophy.— Blackburn Review©®™ (@BlackburnReview) February 21, 2018
- I didn’t do a recap for Fordham because frankly, there was nothing to recap. The goal of last Saturday was to not lose to Fordham at home, UD didn’t lose to Fordham at home. Scene.
- The last cool and good thing UD could do for these fans this year is finish at 500. Without really straining yourself, you can see UD has 3 contests remaining, and sitting at 13-14. If you take your shellacking to URI this Friday, you gotta go win at Swimming Pool Arena (LaSalle) in Philadelphia, then beat a dreadful George Washington team at home on DURRELL’s Day.
- Trey Landers is turning into a major factor in the UD offense, and it sure seems like he’s determined to be the team leader moving forward, which is all kinds of fine by me. Since his 0-point stinker at St Joes, Landers has averaged 14 points per contest. That’s the kind of shit you want in a rebuilding year.
- He was awarded the lauded Harewood Horse Trophy for a reason: Kostas put together his strongest all-around effort of the year, I think I speak for many when I say I have no fucking clue why it took until February 21st to get that kind of effort out of him. In conference play, Kostas has logged less than 15 minutes in 9 of 15 contests and this was his first double digit scoring affair. Convincing me this team has no use for him would be difficult, just keep his ass out of foul trouble and we’re good here.
- Oh ya, for what seems like the first time all year, Josh Cunningham had a quiet affair. It’s almost refreshing to have another story line that isn’t: “Josh scored 20, get him the ball more.”
Finally, since certain outlets need to tiptoe around certain subjects, we are happy to provide some clarity. Today I was looking at the 2005-06 Dayton Flyers roster, and it reminded me a lot of what we are seeing from today’s team, 12 years later. In Gregory’s third year, the players left over from Oliver Purnell were all on the way out, and the writing was on the wall that tournament appearances were long gone and a few upperclassmen would not be able to help the team into the future. So BG cut bait, opened up scholarships, and brought in the Johnson-Huelsman-London-Perry (transfer) class. In hindsight, this was one of the most successful things BG did with the UD job, and, of course, I bring all of this up to say this: does Anthony Grant go the same route?
What we know for certain is that the roster will look fairly different next year, and Jordan Pierce will be the first of those to go. We have just heard far too much from those close to the program to say otherwise. Other than that? It’s anyone guess.
John Crosby bet on himself in returning to UD and has fully lost the starting job to Jalen Crutcher. He hasn’t scored double-digits since before Christmas and hasn’t logged more than 15 minutes since January 9th at Richmond. With two more guards already signed for next season, it will be interesting to see if Crosby sticks around to get his degree or plays the basketball carousel for his last season, knowing he will need to sit out. The Grant coaching staff has not exactly been secretive about their recruiting plans, with 8-10 current offers out and interest in probably another 10 more. They have even gone as far as to try and convince a 2019 point guard recruit to classify to this coming year to try and help UD immediately (not uncommon). You don’t need to exactly connect the dots to deduce Grant & Co, do not have plans to return a few of the guys currently on the roster. That’s just the reality.
With all of that in mind, the X-man Williams situation remains one of the most mysterious developments I have ever seen in Dayton Basketball. As I mentioned above, the message from Grant is pretty clear to X-man that, as of right now, he does not have a place on this basketball team. The guy who averaged 30+ minutes a night to begin the season hasn’t played in 4 of the last 5 games and has been passed on the depth chart by a walk-on. Many people in the A10 to begin the year we’re asking me if X-man could elevate his game to get into POY conversation, and to be honest, I really thought that was possible. No one expected this kind of regression, my man must really love his video games.
Landers had some insight about a week ago that was fairly telling:
“Me and X talk. I tell him just to control what he can control. You want to play, but it’s not your decision. It’s up to coach. I tell him it starts in practice. You have to work.”
1.) It is literally my job to know such information. He’s not hurt.— John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) February 21, 2018
2.) Anthony Grant has said multiple times through this recent stretch, publicly and on-the-record in our coverage why Xeyrius isn’t playing and it has not involved him being hurt.
Finally, as I often do, I wanted to give credit to the students for a great turnout last night in the midst of a trying season. Trey Landers commented after the game to Jablo saying as much. Seeing the student section 75% full for The Cup was a pleasant surprise.
A quick turnaround awaits your Dayton Flyers, as they will travel to Kingston, RI on Friday evening to take a thorough beating from the conference-leading Rhode Island Rams. There’s still like 45 scenarios over the final 3 games that could play out to affect UD’s seeding in the A10 tournament, but, boy, it sure looks like UD will land in the 8-9 spot, which would of course guarantee URI on Friday of the A10 tournament…and the end of the season…most likely.
Anthony Grant just qualified for a $1.5M bonus for winning the Cup. Seems like a lot until you consider how much money the event brings into the city.— Blackburn Review©®™ (@BlackburnReview) February 21, 2018
Stick around, we’re almost there. Keep wearing red, keep being LOWD. Stay Normal.
The LOWD ambassador of Chicago, Sully has spent his life tirelessly watching UD hoops. Welcomer of all takes, hot and cold.