The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Dayton Basketball Game #1

Dayton Flyers (1-0) 52
Terriers (0-1) 49
Sunday, November 16
UD Arena, Dayton, OH

The Dayton Flyers kicked off their season Sunday evening against the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference. The Flyers had high hopes heading into this season with the healthy return of sophomore Chris Wright and several other key players, but they barely managed to come away with a win in game one at UD Arena. In a very sloppy game filled with turnovers, missed shots, and lost opportunities, the Flyers managed to come away with a 52-49 victory.

As low scoring as this game was, it also provided for a very interesting first look at the 2008-2009 Flyers basketball team in comparison to what Dayton had last season. Last year, only seven times did the Flyers score less than 60 points, and they went 3-4 in those games (20-7 otherwise). In this one, it took a monster performance from both Wright, and junior Marcus Johnson to finish with the victory.

Official Wofford recap: “Men’s Basketball Opens Season With 52-49 Loss At Dayton”

Official ESPN recap: “Dayton 52, Wofford 49”

Both Wright and Johnson finished with 17 points and four rebounds, as Dayton managed to hold a slight lead throughout most of the second half. This all came despite being out-performed in rebounds as a team by the final mark of 35-29 and in the steals category 11-6. Fans were discouraged at several points during the game as it looked like Dayton was not doing enough on both sides of the ball to pull away from an inferior opponent.

Last year, Wofford, picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference behind Davidson and Stephen Curry, averaged only 5.7 steals per game (266 of 328 teams) and 12.6 turnovers per game (36 out of 328). Yet, in this game, Wofford picked up 11 steals off 16 Dayton turnovers, while Dayton picked off only six steals on 22 Wofford turnovers.

Throughout the game, my friend Nick Zunich and I commented on the extreme proportion to which Wofford had unforced turnovers. These final statistics proved our point by showing that 27.3% of Wofford turnovers directly came off steals from the Dayton team. By comparison, about 53.8% of turnovers in the NBA were because of opposing steals.  This shows how Wofford practically handed the game over to the Flyers on a silver platter at times, but Dayton was only able to take advantage by winning by a three-point final margin.

Two other things to note about the Flyers of 08-09 in comparison to last year are their inefficient offense and poor rebounding. Since there were so many turnovers in this one, there was certainly no lack of possessions to correspond to the low-scoring atmosphere. This was so extreme that the Flyers offensive efficiency of 0.829 (points per possession) was actually worse than all but one performance from last season (their 43 to 69 loss at Xavier in late January). In addition, the Flyers allowed the Terries to grab 31% of their offensive rebounding opportunities, while Dayton only brought down 19% of their chances. These poor results certainly will not cut it during the Atlantic-10 schedule, even though they managed to come away with the victory in this one.

On a personnel level, we definitely saw some encouraging results from Wright, Johnson, and junior Rob Lowery. Wright and Johnson combined to shoot 14-23 from the field, good for about 61%, while the rest of the team shot 5-23, good for about 22%. The Flyers will need a lot more complementary help on offense down the road, and Lowery was pretty much the only other bright light. Despite 1-6 shooting from the field, the 6-2 junior college transfer from Cecil College in Maryland managed to come up with 5 assists, two rebounds and 1 steal in only 19 minutes of play. He was much more efficient in his playing time than starter London Warren, and I look forward to seeing him progress as the season goes on.

In conclusion, it was not a very impressive first game for the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team. Despite that, a win is a win, and Flyers fans just have to hope for a prettier result on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM when Dayton takes on Delaware State at UD Arena for Game #2.

Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball efficiency statistics can be viewed at this link here.

November 17, 2008 - Posted by | College Basketball, Dayton Flyers | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] score of 77 to 59. It was not as close as the final score indicated, as for the first time since the disappointing opener against Wofford, the Flyers lost the rebounding battle, and never were within 12 points in the second half. It was […]

    Pingback by Dayton Basketball Game #9 « The Sports Report | December 12, 2008 | Reply

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