The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Dayton Basketball Game #4

Dayton Flyers (4-0) 71
Mercer Bears (2-2 vs. Division 1 opponents) 53
Tuesday, November 25
UD Arena, Dayton, OH

This was supposed to be the first trap game of the year for the young Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team: a tough game against an upstart mid-major just two days after an easy victory over Bethune-Cookman. Mercer came into this game out-rebounding their opponents by a margin of 15.5 on the year, and in victories over SEC opponents Alabama and Auburn last week, they had an offensive rebounding advantage of over 20% (46.0 to 24.4% average). Dayton has been getting better over the last few games, but I don’t think that anybody would say that we could easily beat any SEC team right now. The Flyers had looked good enough to be competitive within the framework of the Atlantic-10 this season, but I was doubtful that they would be one of the best mid-majors in the nation. This game cemented the Flyers role as one of the top mid-majors in the nation.

In another high-flying evening at UD Arena, Chris Wright and company soared off to a 48-26 halftime lead in a game they never trailed. If someone had told me before the game that in the end, Mercer would have 13 more free throw attempts, and would force four more turnovers, I would have seriously doubted our ability to win this game. Yet in the end, the tenacious defense that has been a staple in the early going of 2008-2009 came through when necessary and the Flyers prevailed 71-53.

Mercer recap
: “Shooting Woes Prove Costly as Dayton Tops Bears”

Official ESPN recap: “Dayton 71, Mercer 53”

In the Flyers second win in as many games in the Chicago Invitational Challenge, they came out strong and never looked back. London Warren had a second straight impressive game in the back court, posting 4 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in 22 minutes of play. Rob Lowery, on the other hand, had 4 turnovers and as many assists in 13 minutes of play, a unimpressive ratio for a junior guard that had looked absolutely stellar in the first two games this season.

Marcus Johnson didn’t have a great follow-up to his impressive performance against Bethune-Cookman, but a nice effort from senior Charles Little and sophomore Chris Wright was enough to them over the top against Mercer. Johnson, a junior out of Akron, had 10 points and 2 rebounds on 3-10 shooting in 29 minutes, not an efficient follow-up to his 16 point, 6 rebound, 26 minute game on Sunday. Little on the other hand, had his second straight double figure scoring game, finishing with 11 points, and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Although this was a huge win for the program this season, and the first big win of the year, I think there are still many reasons to be optimistic about our future. There has yet to be a game when Wright, Johnson, Little, Warren and Lowery were all on the same page. If all of them are posting solid numbers, and both point guards post efficient outings, it will be hard to beat this team. Not only do they play impressive defense, but there is still much more room for improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

This weekend’s games against Auburn and Marquette will prove even more about this Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team in 2008-2009. Marquette certainly is the tougher opponent, but even if the Flyers go 1-1 during this weekend’s stretch, it shows how they are at worst a top four team in the Atlantic-10 this season. A weekend sweep would prove that the Flyers will be competitive with the Xavier Musketeers immediately at the very top of the conference. I am definitely looking forward to some more focused outings by the Dayton offense against some tougher major conference opponents.

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

November 27, 2008 - Posted by | College Basketball, Dayton Flyers | ,

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