Dayton plays Boston College at 4:30 today (Ohio time) in its final game at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Two years ago, these teams played in the Charleston Classic. The Eagles should remember the name Dyshawn Pierre today.
I covered those games in Charleston, and here’s my story from that game.
Flyer freshman on fire: Pierre scores 23 points in win
In first college start, he hits all eight shots, including 5 3-pointers.
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Charlotte Bobcats scout on press row watched Dayton’s Dyshawn Pierre drain another 3-pointer and remarked to the writer sitting next to him, “He’s a big player.”
That was only halfway through one of the greatest freshman performances by a Flyer in recent memory and one of the greatest shooting efforts by a Flyer, period. In his first college start, the Canadian hit all eight of his shot attempts, including five 3-pointers.
Pierre finished with 23 points, carrying Dayton to an 87-71 victory Friday over Boston College in the consolation round of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena. Their next game is 2 p.m. Sunday against Auburn.
“I just wanted to play really hard,” said Pierre, a 6-foot-6 forward from Whitby, Ontario. “My coach gave me the opportunity. My teammates really gave me the opportunity to shoot the ball. They drove and kicked it to me, and luckily I was open and took the shot.”
Flyers coach Archie Miller was only half joking when he called the decision to start Pierre over freshman center Jalen Robinson “a brilliant move.” There’s no way Miller put Pierre in the lineup thinking he wouldn’t miss a shot. Pierre was hotter than the new dance song, “Gangnam Style,” which has taken over every arena from UD to Charleston.
Miller started Pierre to make the lineup faster and to help with rebounding. He responded with the most points by a UD freshman since Chris Wright’s 26 against Toledo in 2007.
“If you watched his progression from the exhibition opener, his rebounding numbers per minute are outstanding,” Miller said. “He gave us a chance to get off to a better start on the backboard and to get our transition game going.”
Dayton lost 67-57 in the first round to Colorado, which upset No. 16 Baylor 60-58 on Friday to advance to Sunday’s championship game.
“We held the ball, we pounded it, we didn’t pass it (against Colorado),” Miller said. “I thought giving us a more guard-oriented lineup would give more pace to our play, a little more movement. To (Pierre’s) credit, he got off to a really good start, and it gave our kids confidence.”
Pierre said he had never shot so well in a game in his life, and he claimed he didn’t realize he hadn’t missed a shot. His 5-of-5 performance from 3-point range is the second-best in UD history, trailing Shawn Haughn’s 8-of-8 night in the 1994 NCAA tournament.
Of course, Pierre wasn’t the only one who played well. Dayton went on a 17-3 run in the last 7 minutes of the first half to take a 37-26 lead and stretched it to 50-35 in the first 5 minutes of the second half.