Archie Miller

VIDEO: No. 1 seed Dayton advances to Atlantic 10 semifinals

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Friday’s quarterfinal round at the Atlantic 10 tournament marks the debut of the top four seeds in the event, beginning with top seed Dayton. Archie Miller’s Flyers took care of business against No. 9 seed Richmond, beating the Spiders 69-54 to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round.

Charles Cooke III led three double-digit scorers with 14 points while also grabbing eight rebounds, and Kyle Davis added 11 points and Dyshawn Pierre ten along with a game-high 14 rebounds. But the key in the win for Dayton was their defense. The Flyers limited the Spiders to 31.8 percent shooting from the field overall and 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. T.J. Cline led all scorers with 25 points, but no other Richmond player scored in double figures.

Players other than Cline combined to shoot 10-for-40 from the field, with guard ShawnDre’ Jones making just one of his 11 field goal attempts.

Next up for Dayton is No. 4 seed Saint Joseph’s, which came back to eliminate No. 5 seed George Washington in the second quarterfinal of the day.

St. Bonaventure wins at No. 15 Dayton, adding big win to profile

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On the heels of their surprising loss at La Salle, St. Bonaventure entered Saturday’s game at No. 15 Dayton in dire need of a quality win for its NCAA tournament résumé. Despite dealing with first-half foul trouble that saw two starters in Marcus Posley and Denzel Gregg called for three fouls apiece the Bonnies found a way to get the job done, winning 79-72 at UD Arena.

The keys for Mark Schmidt’s team: managing to keep Dayton from getting out in transition on a regular basis, and a standout performance from sophomore guard Jaylen Adams.

Dayton certainly had its moments with regards to getting out in the open floor, as one would expect of a team featuring Scoochie Smith , Dyshawn Pierre and Charles Cooke III as players who can get the ball and attack off the bounce. But the Bonnies did a much better job of limiting the Flyers’ quality looks than they did in the first meeting back in January, a game Dayton led by as much as 31 before hanging on for the 85-79 victory.

On that day Dayton shot 57.1 percent from the field and 9-for-15 from three. In the rematch, St. Bonaventure limited the Flyers to 41.1 percent from the field and 5-for-21 from beyond the arc. The Bonnies were much improved defensively, which was exactly what they needed in order to be in position to pick up the win.

What also helped was the fact that Adams was on his game offensively, especially with Posley (12 points on 3-for-12 shooting) having to navigate foul trouble. Adams scored 31 points on the day, and his three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining was the game’s biggest shot. The three broke a 72-all tie, and with Dayton unable to convert on the other end the Bonnies were able to close the game out at the foul line.

Add in an important 15-point, eight-rebound effort from Dion Wright and a 10-for-20 day from three, and St. Bonaventure leaves Dayton with a win that not only enhances their NCAA tournament profile but also keeps them alive in the Atlantic 10 race.

Dayton’s one of the teams in the Atlantic 10 that’s in good shape when it comes to getting into the NCAA tournament, with Saint Joseph’s and VCU also well-positioned to hear their name called Selection Sunday. But these last two games serve as a reminder of just how important forward Kendall Pollard is to their team. Pollard’s missed the last three games with a knee injury, as Dayton is looking to get him back to full strength for March.

Until he returns players such as Steve McElvene and Sam Miller will have to do their best to fill the void, but neither (at this time) is the player that Pollard is within the Dayton system.

Even without Pollard, beating a Dayton team that had won its last 20 Atlantic 10 home games is no easy task. St. Bonaventure managed to do just that, keeping themselves in the running for an at-large bid as a result.

Saint Joseph’s ends No. 15 Dayton’s nine-game win streak

Saint Joseph's DeAndre Bembry (43) tries to control the ball as he splits Dayton's Kyle Davis (3) and Charles Cooke (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Entering Wednesday the Saint Joseph’s Hawks had an impressive record of 21-4, but they lacked the “signature” victory that the NCAA tournament selection committee tends to look for in its deliberations. That changed at Hagan Arena, as Phil Martelli’s Hawks beat No. 15 Dayton by the final score of 79-70. Saint Joseph’s did get the win their résumé lacked, but in beating the Flyers they also ended Dayton’s nine-game win streak and tightened the Atlantic 10 race considerably.

As a result of the Hawks’ win they’re now tied with Dayton atop the A-10 standings, with VCU also boasting an 11-2 league record and St. Bonaventure a game back in the loss column.

SJU has a headliner in junior wing DeAndré Bembry, a versatile player who’s developed into one of the Atlantic 10’s best players during his time on Hawk Hill. But unlike last season, when the supporting cast was inconsistent and often left Bembry carrying much of the load on his own, Martelli’s received contributions from a host of players in the rotation.

Wednesday night five Hawks scored in double figures, led by Bembry with 16 points and 13 rebounds and Aaron Brown with 14 points. And Bembry wasn’t the only Hawk to post a double-double, as Isaiah Miles added 12 points and 12 rebounds to go along with a team-high five assists. Miles, who averaged 10.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game a season ago, has been one of the most improved players in college basketball.

Entering Wednesday, Miles was leading Saint Joseph’s in both scoring (17.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg) while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three. Miles’ progression from last season to this has changed the equation, not only for Saint Joseph’s but also for the opponents faced with the task of slowing him down.

Miles is only 6-foot-7 but the Hawks use him at the five, taking advantage of his ability to face up defenders and step out to the three-point line. Miles missed all seven of his three-point attempts against Dayton, but the mere threat of him being able to hit that shot is something defenses have to account for.

But even bigger than Saint Joseph’s offensive versatility on this night was their defense, as they limited Dayton to 41 percent shooting and 8-for-31 from beyond the arc. On the season Dayton, while a good three-point shooting team, scores just over 28 percent of its points from three. Against the Hawks they settled for those looks too often, and some credit should be given to the defense for that.

Dayton, which is still without injured forward Kendall Pollard, will be fine moving forward and could end up winning the A-10 anyway. But this result was about Saint Joseph’s, a team that has looked the part of an NCAA tournament team for much of this season but lacked that “signature” win to back it up. Wednesday night, the Hawks took care of that issue.

No. 19 Dayton rallies late for 76-74 win over Duquesne

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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) Scoochie Smith hit a 3-pointer that put No. 19 Dayton ahead to stay as the Flyers overcame a late 12-point deficit and beat Duquesne 76-74 on Tuesday night.

The Flyers (20-3, 10-1 Atlantic 10) got their eighth straight win by going on a closing 19-5 run. Smith’s 3-pointer from the top of the arc put Dayton ahead 73-70 with 46 seconds left, and the Dukes (15-9, 5-6) never pulled even again. Smith hit a free throw with 2.7 seconds left.

Charles Cooke led Dayton with 22 points and Smith added 14.

Micah Mason had 27 points for Duquesne. Derrick Colter had 19 of his 21 in the second half.

Dayton took the court with its highest regular-season ranking since Nov. 19, 2009. The Flyers hadn’t been ranked so highly this late in the regular season since Feb. 15, 1968.

They needed their home-court advantage to pull it out. They have won 35 of their last 36 at home, and have won 20 straight A-10 games at Dayton Arena.

Mason missed the Dukes’ 66-58 loss to the Flyers on Jan. 2 with an ankle injury. He made the difference early, hitting his first three shots from beyond the arc and his first five overall. He had 13 points as the Dukes pulled ahead 28-16, making 12 of their first 17 shots overall against the A-10’s stingiest defense.

Sam Miller had two 3s and a follow-up basket as Dayton went on an 11-0 run. The Dukes went more than 4 minutes without a basket, helping Dayton pull into a 35-35 tie at halftime.

The Flyers opened the second half with a 10-2 run featuring a layup, a free throw and a 3-pointer by Kyle Davis.

Colter, the Dukes’ leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, made only one of his six shots in the first half. He rallied the Dukes after Dayton’s opening run in the second half, making two 3s and a three-point play as the Dukes pulled ahead 56-53 midway through the half.

Two 3-pointers by Mason pushed the lead to 69-57 with 5:41 to go, but the Dukes couldn’t hold on.

TECHNICAL ISSUE

Duquesne coach Jim Ferry got a technical foul while yelling at referee Tony Chiazza after one of the Dukes was called for a foul with 3:48 left in the first half.

TIP-INS

Duquesne: The Dukes are 47-118 all-time against ranked teams. They beat No. 10 Saint Louis 71-64 on Feb. 27, 2014, and lost to No. 17 VCU 70-64 on Jan. 17, 2015, in their last two.

Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre had only six points, ending his streak of nine consecutive games in double figures. Pierre missed the first part of the season under a university suspension, but has played in the last 12 games, starting 10.

UP NEXT

Duquesne: Hosts Massachusetts on Sunday.

Dayton: Plays at Rhode Island on Friday.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

VIDEO: Dayton clamps down on Duquesne, wins A-10 opener

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Charles Cooke scored 21 points to lead the way offensively for the Dayton Flyers, as they won their Atlantic 10 opener at Duquesne by the final score of 66-58. Cooke was the lone Flyer to score in double figures on an afternoon in which their defense was the story of the game. Dayton limited Duquesne to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and forced 18 turnovers, converting those mistakes into 18 points on the other end.

Dayton wasn’t much better offensively, shooting 36.5 percent, but their ability to manufacture points through their defense made the difference. Duquesne’s Derrick Colter, the team’s leading scorer on the season, led Jim Ferry’s Dukes with 14 points but he did not have his best day. Colter shot 2-for-12 from the field and committed eight turnovers, with Dayton’s guards making things difficult for him throughout.

Dayton reserves Darrell Davis and Sam Miller scored nine points apiece, and Dyshawn Pierre grabbed ten rebounds in his second game of the season for the 11-2 Flyers.

Second-half resurgence pushes Dayton past No. 21 Vanderbilt

Kendall Pollard, Damian Jones
Associated Press
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A renewed commitment to working the ball around for quality shots led to Dayton erasing an eight-point halftime deficit (they trailed by as much as 16 in the first half) to beat No. 21 Vanderbilt in Nashville, winning by the final score of 72-67.

Archie Miller’s Flyers shot 59.3 percent from the field in the second half, with improved shot selection being a key factor. After settling for perimeter shots against a team without its leading shot blocker in Luke Kornet in the first half, attempting ten three-pointers (making three), Dayton attempted just five three-pointers in the second half.

Instead the ball went inside on a more regular basis, with Dayton scoring 24 of their 40 paint points in the game’s final 20 minutes. Kendall Pollard, who hit a huge three-pointer in the game’s final minute, scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and redshirt freshman big man Steve McElvene (ten points, nine rebounds) chipped in with six points and five rebounds.

As a team Dayton outscored Vanderbilt 40-22 in the paint while also controlling the rebounding stats (38.5 percent offensive reb. percentage, 79.8 percent defensive reb. percentage), which led to their holding a 17-2 edge in second chance points.

While Damian Jones accounted for 18 points and eight rebounds, Vanderbilt didn’t get much production from their other front court players on a night when they needed them to step up. Dayton took advantage, and they managed to pick up a result that will look good on their résumé as the season wears on. Also of note is the fact that Dayton is now 12-3 in their last 15 games against SEC opponents.

Dayton has depth, experience and talent, attributes taken into consideration by voters when they were picked to win the Atlantic 10 in the league’s preseason media poll. Yet with an eye towards the future the play of McElvene may be the biggest takeaway for the Flyers. After accounting for 14 points, ten rebounds and four blocks in a win over North Florida the redshirt freshman followed it up with another solid outing, doing so against a big man projected to be a first round pick in June’s NBA Draft.

Dayton has players such as Pollard, point guard Scoochie Smith and forward Charles Cooke to lean on for key contributions. But if McElvene can continue to develop, at his size (6-foot-11) he gives Dayton a piece they’ve lacked in recent years. And with the suspended Dyshawn Pierre expected back at the end of the semester, an already deep Dayton squad will get deeper ahead of conference play.