No one knows what tonight’s victory is going to mean in a few months. Not much, probably. However, anyone who has followed this program over the past decade or so will tell you how vital a road win, regardless of opponent, is to UD. Flyers never look a gift road win in the face, or something. After getting out to a slow start over the first ten minutes, UD completely controlled the game on both sides of the floor, earning an 82-72 victory over Brian Gregory’s squad. This was Dayton’s fifth straight win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, so feel free to puff out your scrawny mid-major chests. Is it just me or does the game against IPFW seem like it took place months ago?
Dayton won this game on the defensive side of the ball, forcing Tech into 19 turnovers – resulting in a pants-tightenly remarkable 33 points for the Flyers. When Dyshawn Pierre went to the bench at the eleven minute mark, after picking up his third foul, UD pumped up the defensive pressure and erased a nine-point deficit by the four-minute TV timeout. Devin Oliver’s layup gave UD a one-point lead, 31-30, and the Flyers never trailed again.
Jordan Sibert was instrumental in the opening twenty minutes, scoring 15 of his game-high 20 points during the opening frame, spearheading a 15-2 run that gave UD a 39-32 lead at halftime. Tech pulled to within six points on a Daniel Miller layup with around eight minutes to go in the game, but UD responded with a quick 8-0 run in just two minutes, putting the contest out of reach for good.
Three Flyers put up career nights – Devin Oliver and Jordan Sibert scored 20 points in the win and Devon Scott dropped 13. Scott was five-of-six from the floor and connected on all three of his foul-shots. Freshman Scooch Smith played his best game in a Dayton uniform, dishing out five assists, collecting four steals and committing zero turnovers in thirteen minutes of play – although can you really “commit” zero of anything?
Scott’s play was of particular importance as Matt Kavanaugh had one of his worst performances of his career – absolutely abused by Tech’s Daniel Miller on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. With Kavanugh’s early struggles, and Jalen Robinson’s almost complete absence, Scott’s performance was very encouraging. He has always had the athleticism to be a factor in the middle, tonight he played with confidence.
The one negative was Dayton’s expected over-reliance on the three-point shot. After shooting a grand total of twenty-nine three-pointers coming into the game, UD jacked up twenty-six against Georgia Tech, connecting on just 31% of their attempts. Luckily, Tech fared no better, hitting a scant 21% of their long-range shots. Lastly, Archie will be happy, as the Flyers handed out a collective seventeen assists in the game.
The Flyers enter the Maui Invitational with a 4-0 record, in a good position to add at least two to the win column. UD opens up with nationally-ranked Gonzaga on Monday night (or Tuesday morning, I guess).
We’ll see you next year, BG.