There’s Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday. I guess this is Way Back Wednesday.
Here is a game story from the only previous time Dayton played Texas A&M. The teams meet again Thursday in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. This story by Bucky Albers appeared in the Dec. 22, 1999, edition of the Dayton Daily News.
Brooks Hall was among the stars of that game, and ironically, he’ll be at the game Thursday calling it on WHIO radio with Larry Hansgen.
UD LIGHTS IT UP AGAINST AGGIES
Hall’s long-range bombing builds early lead; Ashman’s toughness, Morris’ poise help UD keep it
DAYTON — With 9:22 remaining in the University of Dayton’s 81-68 victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday night at UD Arena, Flyers’ center Mark Ashman came to the bench and got the ultimate compliment from coach Oliver Purnell, who gave him an emphatic high-five.
It was Purnell’s way of saluting Ashman, who had just dunked the ball with as much emphasis as the coach put into his hand signal.
“He was being physical out there and we need that from him,” Purnell said. “When he does that, it sends a message to the rest of our guys. I just wanted him to know that kind of play and effort is needed and appreciated.”
The 6-foot-10 Ashman, who has been in a slump lately, scored only four points in the first half, but came back with 13 after the intermission to finish with 17. He made all nine of his free throws as the Flyers built a 22-point lead and then withstood a late surge by the Aggies to ring up their ninth victory in 10 starts.
“Mark Ashman showed tremendous patience,” Purnell said. “They were doubling down on him and he moved well without the ball.”
Burning A&M’s zone defenses with 11 three-point goals in 23 attempts, Dayton shook off the effects of Saturday’s loss to Cleveland State by making 48 percent (21-44) of its field-goal attempts and 78 percent (28-36) of its free throws.
The Flyers made eight of their first 12 three-point shots and led the Aggies, 40-25, at the half. The visitors trailed, 25-21, with 6:06 left in the half, but Brooks Hall punished them for using a box-and-one defense on Tony Stanley by burying three consecutive treys to make it 34-21. Then Yuanta Holland got into the act with a ferocious dunk and a power layup.
At halftime, Purnell instructed point guard Edwin Young to keep getting the ball to Ashman in the paint, and it paid off as Ashman not only contributed three baskets but went to the foul line seven times.
UD built its lead to 71-49, but at every timeout Purnell warned his team that the Aggies would not quit. And they didn’t. Sparked by freshman guard Bernard King, who had played only seven minutes in the first half while picking up three personal fouls, A&M stormed back and outscored Dayton, 19-4, in the span of 4:43.
When 6-9 Tomas Ress nailed back-to-back 3s, Dayton’s lead was chopped to 75-68 with 1:37 left and the 12,824 Flyer Faithful were squirming in their seats.
“We kept our poise,” said David Morris, who demonstrated it by sinking six straight free throws to put a ribbon on the holiday package. “I try not to get rattled. Basketball is a game of runs,” Morris said.
King scored 19 points for Texas A&M. Young (14), Morris (13), Hall (12) and Tony Stanley (12) were in double figures for Dayton, which played without the ailing Cain Doliboa and reserve center Stephen Bamigbola, who decided not to come to practice Monday night and then didn’t show up for the game.
UD coach Oliver Purnell left a telephone message for Bamigbola that was not returned, but assistant coach Ron Jirsa spoke with the senior Tuesday and advised him to call Purnell.
“I wanted to find out if he was OK,” Purnell said. “Once I found out he was OK, my focus was in preparation for the game.”
A day after Purnell thought he might get Doliboa back soon, there was a setback.
“He’s out indefinitely,” Purnell said. “Dr. (Hugh) Moncrief thinks it’s going to be 6-8 weeks unless the nerve (in Doliboa’s lower back) starts to heal.”
Tuesday night’s game was to have been a homecoming for Clifton “Fats” Cook, the former Belmont and Dunbar High School star who led Texas A&M in scoring last year. Unfortunately, Cook was an academic casualty and left school last spring after the unprecedented appearance of the Aggies was scheduled.
“It really hurt losing Clifton because he was the Big 12 newcomer of the year,” said Texas A&M sports information director Colin Killing. “Instead of having a senior point guard, we’re playing two freshmen.”