Sweet Mary and Joseph. I can’t ever remember a Dayton basketball game with such highs, followed by such dramatic, immediate and season-impacting lows. If you wanted the season to start with a bang, I’m not sure this was the one you were looking for. Before we address the proverbial elephant in the room, let’s talk about the game that took place in The Land of Saban.
The first half can be summarized rather simply: fouls and runs. As we have become accustomed to in the Arch era, UD came out of the tunnel slowly and before you could get your online feed to work at your shitty office, the Cagers were down 10-2. UD then proceeded to rattle off a 16-2 run over the next nine minutes, which included 11 straight Bammer missed buckets and ended with a thunderous dunk from Jimmie Taylor, who had his way inside for most of the afternoon. Bama followed that up with a 7-0 run of their own to take a four-point lead, and were aided during their first half stretch by reaching the bonus with eight minutes to go. The two teams traded blows for the last few minutes, and we went to the break with UD down 36-31.
The second half started with Alabama committing five fouls in the first 5 minutes of play and Cunningham, re-entering after sitting the entire first half with two fouls, contributed four quick points almost immediately. Dayton was finally able to tie the game with twelve minutes to go when DURRELL re-entered the game and hit a big three-pointer (his only FG of the day). The guy on Bama who looked like The Weeknd did some stuff too, and before you knew it we had a real game. From there on out you had to hold on to your butts.
Bad foul calls were a theme of the day on both sides, but honest to Christ I haven’t seen a foul call this bad in quite some time.
@ me if you have any rational explanation as to why this is a foul in the year of our Lord 2016.
The last five minutes showed you why UD is both a more talented and experienced basketball team than the newest version of the Crimson Tide. When it came time for a big bucket, the big brass balls of Scoochie showed through once again, a carryover from last season. With a minute to go, UD up 1, and 8 seconds on the shot clock, Scooch calmly took the ball at the top of the key, told everyone to get the hell away from him, and converted a layup that would be the beginning of the end for the Tide. Bama would have a couple more chances to draw close but it was not to be. Simply put: when UD needed to make plays in the final minutes of the game, they did.
For a brief second, the thrill of victory was upon Flyer Nation, that is, until this happened….
Josh Cunningham went up and absolutely posterized this poor bastard from Bama but unfortunately landed awkwardly on his left knee. The collective city of Dayton will have to stay on the Twitter with bated breath until we know more. Word from Jabs is that he will be evaluated tomorrow in the Gem City.
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 15, 2016
Thoughts go out to JC for a quick recovery.
OK, now for The Takes, let’s start with the bad:
Because I want you to be an informed fan base, Josh Cunningham would be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt if it came down to it, with no guarantees that it would be granted by the NCAA. If you would like to know more about those rules, I included them for you here. As of this writing on Tuesday evening, we know absolutely nothing, but I wouldn’t expect to see him on the hardwood any time soon.
Sam Miller is kinda like that drunk guy you hated in your group project in college. He’s almost always useless, shows up quickly and does something cool and you think “OK, he might be alright,” then proceeds to bail on your next five meetings leading up to the presentation, leaving you wondering how you ever let him in your group to begin with. The only difference between him and Xeryius is that you barely notice X is on the court until he’s checking out. With JC indefinitely out for a while, Sam and X will be tasked to handle things down low, and to say that news is less than encouraging is a large understatement. I spent most of the first half specifically watching Sam on defense, and without writing three paragraphs on his defensive ineptitude, he looks overwhelmed and incapable of doing anything other than being in the way on D. I hope you’re all jacked up about the inevitable 25-30 minutes a game he will have to take on for the rest of the year, I know I am.
FUCKING FREE THROW SHOOTING MAN! Good lord the free throw shooting was piss poor. The Flyers finished 20-of-33 from the line, an abysmal 60%. That brings their two game total to a whopping 69% (nice).
Rebounding. The Flyers were out-rebounded 40-28, mainly paced by an 18-5 difference on the offensive glass. It sucked, it was terrible, I’m moving on.OK, so now the bright spots of the day:
Scoochie and Cooke. As will be the case in many games this season, they were the best players on the floor and made sure everyone in Nick Saban Arena knew it. Scooch finished with 20pts and 4 assists, Cooke finished with a double-double, 19pts/10 boards.
I would like to finish by talking about my personal favorite bright spot of the day: Ryan Mikesell. Mikesell was eating up the minutes vacated by KP, and filled in extremely well. Even discounting his huge corner three with 90 seconds left, Mikesell looked confident and versatile, and his quick first step to the bucket on drives is going to continue to serve him well. If he starts finishing more consistently, his ability to knock down the three-pointer will open up everything. He finished with an extremely efficient 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, and a perfect 2-of-2 from 3. That’s a guy who knows when to pick his spots. Gimme more of that, Chip.
The Flyers are now done with Alabama for good after a successful 4-0 record in a 2-for-2 series. Archie improved to 11-2 all-time against the SEC under his watch. This series will forever be remembered for this play:
With the win your Dayton Flyers are an expected 2-0, just in time to welcome the Gaels of St. Mary’s into the Decibel Dungeon on Saturday. Quick glance at the SMC roster reveals that they have three guys at 6-10 or 6-11, and, with the loss of JC, it doesn’t take a basketball expert to understand we’re going to have trouble down low in this contest (and likely all season). Don’t let that deter you, come hungry to The Arena on Saturday, I know I will.
Stay LOWD, stay proud, I left room for your hot takes down there…