We decided during this conference season that we need to maintain a steadfast commitment to being a blog by the fans, for the fans. And as such, I tapped a pal of the BBR on the shoulder, Ben Lanka, to give us his first-hand account of the goings-on in Philadelphia on Thursday evening. You can follow Ben on twitter here. He often wears a Hawaiian shirt, and can be seen being quite LOWD. Admirable qualities indeed.
A10 landmines: The view from an 11-year-old
Despite abandoning me in Chicago, I agreed to bail Sully out (editor’s note: this is a baseless allegation with no factual backing or court proceedings scheduled) by providing a first-hand recap of Dayton’s conference opener at LaSalle Thursday night.
To keep with the level of prose seen here regularly, I figured I’d take most of my cues from my 11-year-old son on what was important in this game. A quick disclaimer, he still thinks the ranking is definitive, as in if you are ranked higher, you will definitely win.
So on our way to the game and looking at LaSalle’s record, players and arena, he asks me, “Why do they always put Dayton against bad teams?” Not wanting to go into the intricacies of mid-major scheduling problems, I just told him it just is what it is sometimes.
Heading into my first experience with Tom Gola, I read a lot about the pool and the chlorine smell, but tonight the wiley Explorers wisely masked that with an overwhelming scent of burnt popcorn. It’s a small gym, as apparently are most A10 “arenas.” Even my mother texted me during the game to say “It looks like they play in a high school gym.” Touche mom, touche.
As this is my first recap, I should explain that when I watch the game I get far too emotionally invested in every single possession and can sometimes lose the bigger picture. So after the game started somewhat close I didn’t look up for a bit of game time. By then the Flyers were up 16 and well on their way to exorcising their Philadelphia demons.
what an awesome play pic.twitter.com/LmNg4ZdPLp
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) January 3, 2020
What made that run was more impressive defensive pressure aided by terrible La Salle shooting – they didn’t hit a three in the first half.
According to my group text message, the Flyers would go on a 24-2 run after leading 14-12. This essentially ended the competitive portion of the game, but not for the LaSalle crowd. Much to the pleasure of Blackburn, who longs to see us as the perennial heels of the A10, the crowd booed the Flyers taking the court. They booed us when we began scoring at will. And of course, they heartily booed the officials for their bias.
This leads to my son’s second observation: They’re calling all the fouls on us.
I think we’ll just have to accept the fact that Obi is going to get fouled on essentially every shot attempt in the lane. He’ll get some calls and not others. I just hope the refs do enough to protect him from cheap shots.
As an aside, the refs made up for it by essentially allowing Jordy to grab everyone multiple times in the lane without a whistle.
The game should have ended at the halftime buzzer when another great end of half play almost ended in a slam by Ibi Watson, but he bricked it. Still, it was impressive to see.
The second half was made bearable by many highlight dunks, abysmal LaSalle defense and angry fans still blaming the officials with their team down 30. Obi had 20, Crutcher had 15, Mikesell 11, Landers and Watson 10 and Chatman had 9. That’s some damn fine balanced scoring. The Flyers even hit 17 of 20 free throws.
“I don’t think we played any defense,” La Salle coach Ashley Howard told the Associated Press. This was an accurate assessment. Dayton had 22 assists on 31 field goals.
My son’s final observation was the LaSalle fans sleeping in the top row of stands. The rest of the crowd began leaving at the 12 minute time out to explore better uses of their time.
Apparently, Obi went there in the post game (allegedly according to group text) and mentioned the possibility of a national championship. Now I don’t want to get carried away after beating a bad team, but my advice to my son and to you is to enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Hopefully after two days of running the Rocky steps and eating cheesesteaks, the Flyers can end another streak by slaying the Hawk.