The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Dayton Basketball Game #9

Dayton Flyers (8-1) 59
Creighton Blue Jays
(6-2) 77
Wednesday, December 10
QWEST Center, Omaha, NE

It was bound to happen eventually, and this one was not pretty at all. The Dayton Flyers’ eight game winning streak came to a crashing halt Wednesday night in Omaha, Nebraska, where the preseason favorites for the Missouri Valley manhandled the Flyers by the 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 really bad, and in these incredibly tough road games it is important to keep perspective. Not too many teams beat Akron on the road, and certainly not too many beat Creighton in Omaha, and the Flyers learned that on this two-game road swing.

I am still convinced through these first nine games, that the Flyers have the potential to be the second or third best team in the Atlantic 10. I know that is contrary to what I said before the Chicago Invitational, when I guaranteed that if they pulled off the sweep in Chicago I would consider them solid competition for Xavier, but I think the Dayton Flyers  just aren’t that great this year. Remember, they only have senior in Charles Little, and it remains unlikely for Chris Wright to leave for the pros this season as a sophomore. Next year will be the high watermark of recent Flyers history, as Rob Lowery, Mickey Perry, London Warren, Kurt Huelsman, and Marcus Johnson will all be seniors. That is the one year where I can definitely see us being extremely competitive with Xavier, but until then we will take a back seat in the currently ranked 9th best conference in the nation.

Official Creighton recap: Basketball Knocks Dayton From Unbeaten Ranks, 77-59″

Official ESPN recap: “Creighton 77, Dayton 59”

With the non-conference schedule more than half-way complete, I want to take the time after this humbling loss to review the key components of the Dayton Flyers roster this season and look piece by piece at the contributors for this year’s team. In this developing series, I will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of every single player, and show where some players have been surprisingly efficient, or overwhelmingly disappointing. Starting with this game’s recap, I will look at a particular duo of junior guards: Rob Lowery, and London Warren.

#1 London Warren – This junior guard has been thrust into a leadership position with the Flyers this season, as last year’s starting back court of Jimmy Binnie and Brian Roberts both graduated in May. Coming into the first game of the year, my friend Nick Zunich reminded me that his play was sometimes out of control, and he was much more suited to being an up-tempo guard coming off the bench than a starting playmaker. This year, that stereotype has started to rub off a bit, as compared to Rob Lowery (see below), he has actually been the more efficient player on offense. Through his 65 games played in his freshman and sophomore year, the 6-0 guard out of Jacksonville, FL averaged only 8.23 points and 5.36 assists per 40 minutes. He was forced into being a starting player for Coach Brian Gregory this season, and he has not disappointed thus far as his offensive play has significantly improved and his steady defensive ability has remained the same. Our starting back court was supposed to be the weakest links of the Flyers in 08-09 but thanks to some mild improvements from Warren, it hasn’t been as bad as many expected it to be.

He averages 8.09 assists per 40 minutes this season, above Rob Lowery’s 6.75 for first place on the team. He is the only guard on the team yet to attempt a three-point field goal (Huelsman, Little, and Searcy are the only other players in this category) and that is a minor facet of his more disciplined offensive game this season (drop from 7.26 field goal attempts for 40 minutes to 6.47 this year). The only severe problem I have with his game currently, is his 6.01 fouls per 40 minutes. As I outlined in the Akron recap, he has had some serious issues staying out of foul trouble in the first half recently, and his fouls per 40 minutes are the highest by far (Mickey Perry is second-worst at 4.41) on the team.

#3 Rob Lowery – The JUCO transfer out of Cecil College in Maryland has been one of my favorite players to watch thus far this season. He was incredibly hot at the beginning of the season and became the first point guard off the bench replacing starting guard London Warren. His style of play was just fantastic early on, as in the first two games against Wofford and Bethune-Cookman, he averaged 16 pts, 9.14 assists and 5.71 steals per 40 minutes on only 4-14 shooting. I assumed at the time that his shooting percentages had nowhere to go but up, and as of right now I have been extremely disappointed in this department. Although he definitely has the tendency to come up with the game-changing defensive play, his shoot-first mentality on offense has not been very pretty this year.

He averages only 0.776 points per field goal attempt, fourth worst on the team and only slightly higher than Kurt Huelsman, Chris Johnson and Paul Williams. His 16.75 field goal attempts per 40 minutes are second to only Luke Fabrizius and thus his usage rate (measures involvement in the offense) is the highest on the team. He is a great up-tempo guy to have on the bench, but I certainly rescind my earlier claims that he must be starting over Warren.

December 11, 2008 - Posted by | College Basketball, Dayton Flyers | ,

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