PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/5/2020 – The Dayton Flyers continued their Philadelphia weekend road trip at Saint Joseph’s. Three days earlier 20th ranked Dayton posted an 18-point win over La Salle at the Gola Arena. This one was much more difficult as Dayton survives an upset bid by Saint Joe’s 80 – 67 in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. Hawks guard Ryan Daly led all scorers with 22 points.
“We never gave ourselves a chance to look up with about ninety seconds left and feel like the game is in the balance,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Billy Lange. “I felt like they hung and that’s big for us. We’ve got a lot of work to do to keep getting better, but they don’t quit. They kept fighting.”
The goal now is to turn the close games into victories.
The score was tied at halftime 33-all. Saint Joe’s began the second half with back to back three-pointers by Cameron Brown, who scored 16 points, and would stretch the SJU lead to 42 – 35 at the 18:27 mark.
The Flyers launched their comeback capped by a thunder dunk by Obi Toppin less that five minutes into the half that titled the score in the direction of Dayton 46 – 43. The transition game was the main weapon for the Flyers who wound up with a 16 – 0 edge on fast break points. But less than a minute later Toppin would pick up his fourth foul. This was an opportunity for the Hawks.
But Dayton responded by hitting three-pointers, three in a minute and a half, to get a double-digit lead 59 – 49 with just under nine minutes to play. Saint Joseph’s battled back to halve the lead on baskets by Daly. His three-pointer cut the gap to 64 – 59 with five and a half minutes on the clock. Brown answered a three-ball by Ibi Watson with one of his own. It was a five-point game with five minutes to go. The Hawks would get no closer.
“We had to concede a couple of things,” said Lange about the the Flyers getting points from different parts of the floor. “Some were concessions, some we read the situation wrong, and some were just amazing individual plays. The steps backs off the dribble are undefendable.”
In addition to points Daly also led Saint Joe’s with 7 assists and 12 rebounds. He recorded his fifth double-double of the season. Myles Douglas scored 15 points, making 4 of 6 three-pointers.
Dayton showed balance as five players would reach the double-figures mark. Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers scored 18 apiece. Landers had a team-high 4 made shots from beyond the arc and rebounds with 9. The team shot 9 of 29 from distance. Toppin, who had foul trouble, scored 15 points along with Ibi Watson. Jalen Crutcher added 10 points and 10 assists, a season-high, for his first double-double of the campaign.
“At one point we were shutting down three guys,” Lange said about Dayton’s offensive balance. “Then he (Dayton Coach Anthony Grant) went with isolations and they just drove. How do you stop everybody? You can’t. They can just attack you at every spot.”
Dayton improves to 13 – 2, 2 – 0 in the Atlantic 10.
Saint Joseph’s is 3 – 11, 0 – 2 in conference. Wednesday night the Hawks get a visit from Duquesne who is presently 11 – 2. Another game along the road to getting better.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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