Dayton Flyers

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09:  Archie Miller of the Dayton Flyers reacts to a call during the first half of a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gym on December 9, 2015 in  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Flyers take Clinton campaign plane to Alabama

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Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign came to an end last week, but its remnants found their way into the world of college basketball this week.

Dayton’s charter flight Monday to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama was the former Secretary of State’s campaign plane, the Dayton Daily News reports.

While there was a political statement emblazoned on the side of the plane, it wasn’t any type of statement by the Flyers. They booked the flight through a charter company, who provides whatever aircraft are available to them to meet the needs of the traveling party. The plane Dayton took was a Boeing 737-800.

The Flyers had better luck than the Clinton campaign, beating the Tide, 77-72, on Tuesday afternoon.

Minnesota PG picks Dayton

Archie Miller
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Dayton may have just added its point guard of the future.

Three-star Minnesota native McKinley Wright committed to coach Archie Miller and the Flyers on Tuesday.

“McKinley Wright is another strong guard addition for Dayton as he can attack the paint and make plays for others with his quickness,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said of the 2017 prospect. “The Flyers beat some solid competition for Wright and Archie Miller continues to recruit well there.”

The Flyers secured Wright’s commitment over offers from Xavier, Memphis and Minnesota. He’ll be joining a team that will be losing starting point guard Scoochie Smith, who averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 assists as a junior. Wright gives them an immediate replacement option to run Miller’s offense and help defend on the perimeter.

Wright is the third commit from Miller in his 2017 class with power forward Jordan Pierce and shooting guard Jordan Davis already in the fold. Both players committed within the last month.

Judge rejects Ohio basketball player’s reinstatement bid

Dyshawn Pierre
Associated Press
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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) A federal judge on Friday again rejected a star basketball player’s bid for reinstatement to the University of Dayton after a suspension linked to a female student’s sexual assault accusation.

Dyshawn Pierre’s one-semester suspension ends soon, but he’d hoped for a ruling to help clear his record and let him rejoin the team immediately.

His attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said he and Pierre are disappointed and considering their options, such as appealing the decision or continuing with his lawsuit against the university.

The university, which declined to comment on the ruling, previously said Pierre didn’t suffer irreparable harm and there was no reason to cut short the suspension.

His lawsuit noted that Montgomery County prosecutors declined to file charges against the 6-foot-6 senior from Toronto. Pierre has said the allegation stemmed from a consensual sexual encounter, and he called the school’s investigation “fundamentally unfair” with a “wholly irrational, unsubstantiated” conclusion after a hearing that didn’t accommodate his learning disability.

“In circumstances of this seriousness, the university owed a duty to do more than the bare minimum,” Ginsberg said. “It should have been fair and thorough and professional, and Dayton has been none of those things.”

In October, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose denied a temporary order to stop the school from enforcing the suspension. Rose ruled that the public interest is served by allowing universities to carry out disciplinary rules and procedures to keep an educational environment harassment-free.

He wrote that the school’s hearing board found Pierre was “unable to demonstrate that he received any words or actions that indicated he had effective consent for sexual intercourse or sexual contact.”

Ginsberg argued that the disciplinary board lacked training to interpret medical and law enforcement issues in the case.

It’s unclear whether Pierre will play this season. Coach Archie Miller told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday that he’ll meet with Pierre when the suspension ends Dec. 20 to gauge his physical and mental status and ability to contribute this season. Miller said Pierre will play “if it’s feasible” or sit out a year.

The Flyers are 7-1 after upsetting No. 21 Vanderbilt on Thursday.

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.

No. 23 Xavier makes statement, blows out Dayton

Chris Mack
Associated Press
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With in-state rivals No. 23 Xavier and Dayton meeting for the first time since 2013, there was a lot of anticipation for Sunday’s AdvoCare Invitational title game in Orlando. But after 20 competitive minutes the Musketeers removed any doubt, blowing out the Flyers by a final score of 90-61.

The depth, talent, experience and toughness of Chris Mack’s team was on display throughout the event, most especially Sunday evening. Eight players scored at least eight points against Dayton, and as they had throughout the tournament Xavier dominated on the boards. The Musketeers grabbed 37.1 percent of its offensive rebound opportunities and limited Dayton to just four offensive rebounds, turning that into a 17-2 edge in second chance points.

Add in 27 Xavier points off of 22 Dayton turnovers, and it was clear who dictated the terms of engagement in this much-anticipated meeting.

The offensive rebounding and turnovers issues took their toll on the Flyers, who managed to keep the game close until late in the first half. But Xavier was able to stretch out the margin to eight by the intermission, and a 21-0 run pushed the margin out to 29 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game. Dayton’s gotten off to a good start, despite not having the suspended Dyshawn Pierre, and they’re going to win a lot of games this season.

But there was a clear difference between these two teams Sunday night, with the deep Musketeers looking like one that can not only build on last season’s Sweet 16 run but exceed it.

On the season six players are averaging at least 9.7 points per game, which makes it hard for the opposition to focus its defensive efforts on one or two players. Jalen Reynolds and James Farr can take control of games in the paint. Trevon Bluiett has the ability to score from just about anywhere on the floor, and this team doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters either. Add in a redshirt freshman point guard in Edmond Sumner who’s hit the ground running in filling the role left vacant by the graduation of Dee Davis, and this is a team capable of being a factor nationally.

Xavier’s reached the Sweet 16 in five of the last eight seasons, so success is to be expected from this program. And if their start to this season is any indication, this group of Musketeers is more than capable of not only challenging Villanova atop the Big East but adding to that recent run of success.

Field for 2016 DirecTV Wooden Legacy announced

Steve Alford
Associated Press
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Another in-season tournament field for next season was revealed, as the DirecTV Wooden Legacy announced the eight teams that will make the trip to Fullerton, California.

UCLA, which was led to ten national titles by the event’s namesake, will take part as well CSUN, Dayton, Nebraska, New Mexico, Portland, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. Six of the eight teams have made prior appearances in the event, with Dayton and Nebraska being the two programs who will make their DirecTV Wooden Legacy debuts next season.

Portland and Virginia Tech reached the title game in their prior appearances, with the Pilots losing to West Virginia in 2009 and the Hokies falling to UNLV in 2010.