Game No. 4 recap: Dayton 65, Boston College 53

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Jordan Sibert and Kyle Davis celebrate a Sibert dunk. David Jablonski/Staff

Still in Puerto Rico this morning. I’ll be home by 9 p.m. (I hope?). I think the Flyers landed in Dayton before I was done working last night. That’s the advantages of a charter flight. However, the disadvantage of that is less time in Puerto Rico. I’ve got a few more hours to kill in a warmth I won’t see again until 2015 (unless Arkansas is hotter in December than I imagine).

The Flyers beat Boston College 65-53 Sunday (photo gallery here), so they got what they wanted here: two wins against opponents from power conferences. Only one team left here with three wins: West Virginia. You could argue no team got two better wins than the Flyers, not even Connecticut, which beat Charleston and Dayton. Texas A&M also got two wins, but one of those was against Charleston.

The Flyers did not beat a ranked opponent here as they did in Maui. How big of a success this tournament was for UD will depend on what kind of seasons Texas A&M and Boston College have. For purposes of UD’s NCAA tournament resume, Flyer fans should start rooting for those two teams.

Here are five things we learned Sunday:

1. Jordan Sibert can still shoot.

Just one game after being asked about whether he was getting frustrated that his 3-point shot was falling, Sibert made them in bunches: four in the first half, one in the second. He was 5-for-9 after making 2-of-17 in the first three games.

Sibert was the only Flyer named to the all-tournament team.

“Jordan is very, very important,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “His last two games of the tournament are much more in line with who he is and what he is going to be able to do. He got off to a little bit of a rocky start from 3. It’s just a matter of time for great shooters. It always comes back around. He’s just got to keep firing. Really, the five big 3s were maybe the difference in the game. We needed every one of them.”

2. Puerto Rico is a fun scene.

It was almost like being at a high school game. You could pretty much sit where you wanted, stand where you wanted. There’s an intimate feeling to these tournaments. Vendors walked around carrying cotton candy in laundry baskets. The local fans added a nice touch, as well.

Here’s the lede of my game story:

A group of young Puerto Rico fans started the game Sunday at Coliseo Roberto Clemente cheering for Boston College. At some point, just before ESPN turned its cameras on them, they started rooting for Dayton.

That was a wise choice. Puerto Rico, after all, sends about 25 students to UD every year. There’s a local alumni chapter in San Juan that gathered after Friday’s game against Connecticut.

San Juan is not exactly Dayton with palm trees, but Dayton and its fans made themselves at home for four days around town and also at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. In the third-place game Sunday, the Flyers pulled away in the final minutes to beat Boston College 65-53.

Boston College led 2-0 in the first minute and never led again, but it tied the game three times in the second half, the last time at 47-47 with 8:56 to play. From that point forward, Dayton did to Boston College just what Connecticut did to Dayton in the semifinals. The Flyers outscored the Eagles 18-6.

3. Dyshawn Pierre is dependable.

In four games, Pierre has scored 16, 14, 13 and 16 points. He knows what he does well and he does it again and again. He has the best post moves on the team. He’ll back down a defender and put up a little jump hook shot over their heads.

Like a lot of the Flyers, Pierre probably took too many 3s against Boston College. He was 1-of-6 from outside and 5-of-6 inside.

4. Players will slump.

Sibert started off the season in a slump. Scoochie Smith’s field-goal percentage dropped to 22 percent with an 0-for-9 performance against the Eagles. After going 4-for-9 from the field against Alabama A&M, Darrell Davis was 2-for-9 in San Juan and didn’t attempt a shot against BC. In the last two games, Jalen Robinson played 26 total minutes, took two shots and grabbed two rebounds.

The season is young. Matt Kavanaugh slumped early last season and was a key contributor by March. All those players have plenty of time to improve.

About Robinson, Miller said, “He’ll come around. These early-season games for him are going to be hard just because of his lack of conditioning and being out all falll. But he’s needed, and he knows that. There’s a great opportunity coming off this tournament for him to start taking it to the next step. We’ve got a week until we play again. There’s going to be a moment in time when he has to be ready, and I think he will be.”

5. The Flyers should be 7-1 heading into the Arkansas game.

Dayton takes a Horizon League/Mid-American Conference tour in its next four games, hosting Illinois-Chicago on Satuday and then playing Miami, Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green.

UIC (1-4) is not good, but the MAC teams are a combined 9-1 through Sunday.

Dayton plays at Arkansas on Dec 13.

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