Everyone expected Jordan Sibert to lead the Flyers in scoring this season. He did last season. He probably will again.
Kendall Pollard gets a dunk and a technical Friday. David Jablonski/Staff
A waiter at the Mexican restaurant I ate at last night told me basketball ranks second in the pecking order in Puerto Rico: behind baseball and ahead of boxing. But it’s gaining on baseball with the younger crowd.
J.J. Barea, of the Mavericks, is Puerto Rican. Carmelo Anthony’s dad is Puerto Rican, and Anthony hasn’t forgotten his roots. West Virginia has a player on its roster from San Juan, senior guard Gary Browne, who is celebrating a homecoming this week with a trip to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game.
Basketball is big here — not enough to fill Coliseo Roberto Clemente, but that’s pretty much always the case in these type of events.
Of course, basketball is bigger in Dayton. The Flyer Faithful believed their team could win this thing after the last-second victory Thursday. A scoring drought in the last 10 minutes against No. 17 Connecticut means that won’t happen. The Huskies played like champions when it counted and beat Dayton 75-64 Friday (photo gallery here).
Here are five things we learned from that game:
1. Dayton will gain a lot from this game, even thought it lost.
It will be interesting to see how good this UConn team turns out to be. They’re the defending national champions, but they’re 17th in the polls because they lost more than 60 percent of their production. They could easily climb into the top 10 soon. That would help the Flyers’ strength of schedule.
Dayton fell to 61st in the RPI, according to RPIForecast.com, with Friday’s loss. I wouldn’t put much stock in that this early in the season. Old Dominion is currently No. 1 in that ranking.
Here’s the lede of my game story:
Fans can buy cups of fresh fruit in the stands at Coliseo Roberto Clemente. They can walk outside and break a sweat in seconds. They hear the public address announcer call out familiar names with Spanish pronunciations — Devon Scott becomes Dayvon Scott.
This isn’t home for the eight teams playing in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off — even though Dayton fans have turned it into UD Arena South — but some things hold true no matter where you are.
One of those is the defending national champion, no matter who they’ve lost or how they’re playing, is going to be a tough test. The Flyers learned that Friday as No. 17 Connecticut took control in the final 10 minutes to win 75-64 in the semifinals of the tournament.
“They’re a really hard team to play against,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “They had a double-edged sword with a great point guard who can really control the game and a terrific rim presence. They make things very difficult on you. We knew that coming in, but we played to win.”
2. Jordan Sibert is back on track. Sort of.
I wrote about Sibert in my UD notes story last night. He led the Flyers in scoring, but is still struggling from long range (2-of-17). Miller called that stat stunning. I would imagine the shots will start falling soon for Sibert. He’s too good of a shooter.