Game No. 11 recap: Dayton 75, Georgia Tech 61

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Brian Gregory and Archie Miller after the game. David Jablonski/Staff


 

The Flyers throw around the True Team motto so much, we forget there are plenty of other good slogans for this team.

No height, all heart.

The little team that could.

Eight is enough.

Short on size, short on depth, the Flyers keep winning. I have no idea how long it continue or how a team with seven scholarship players and Bobby Basketball (A-10 all-walk-on performer Bobby Wehrli) can survive an 18-game conference schedule, but at the moment, Dayton is playing its best basketball. The Flyers won with free throws earlier this season when they couldn’t hit a shot. Now they’re winning with 3-pointers. They matched last year’s 9-2 start by routing Brian Gregory and Georgia Tech 75-61 Tuesday (photos here).

There were a lot of things to like. Here are five things we learned.

1. Jordan Sibert has stepped up his play.

Here’s an excerpt from my game story last night:

The Yellow Jackets beat the Flyers on the boards 39-27, but Dayton dominated almost every other category. The Flyers made 10-of-18 3-pointers, committed only six turnovers and outscored Georgia Tech 23-7 at the free-throw line.

By almost every measure, especially considering the quality of the opponent, this was Dayton’s best performance of the season. The Flyers won their eighth straight game against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. They’re 2-0 this season, having beaten Boston College 65-53 on Nov. 20 in Puerto Rico.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Miller said. “This was just a terrific effort. I’m absolutely ecstatic with the win, to be able to play a team of that caliber. It was probably one of the best crowds we’ve ever had here, since I’ve been here. I know it was an emotional night for a lot of people. There was a lot of energy in the building. I thought we played with energy.”

2. Flyers have adapted to life without Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson.

Kevin Goheen, of Fox Sports Ohio, hit on that angle last night.

The Flyers no longer have any players taller than 6-6 on their roster.

The decision by UD and head coach Archie Miller was swift and decisive. Scott and Robinson will not be returning to the program. The program goes on without them.

“We’re a different type of team now,” said Miller. “It’s not so much robotic, which I like. Offensively I think we can be a lot more creative. There’s a lot more driving and passing and kicking. There’s not as much standing around.”

The Flyers don’t have the bodies inside to match up in a slug fest; they were out-rebounded 39-27 by the Yellow Jackets and outscored 36-20 in the paint. They are going to have to use their quickness, their athleticism on defense and they’re going to have to shoot the ball well, as they did Tuesday night. UD was 14 of 28 in the first half, including making 7-of-10 shots from 3-point range as it built a 39-33 lead.

3. Dayton may even be a better team now.

The headline on Tom Archdeacon’s column today was “Addition by subtraction.” It might be too soon to tell for sure, but Dayton’s offense at least has found its rhythm without the big men. Here’s an excerpt from that story.

Brian Gregory said it best the night before his Georgia Tech team would play the roster-depleted Dayton Flyers at UD Arena.

“They’ll be a better team without those two guys,” he said.

He was referring to the loss of 6-foot-9 starting center and team captain Devon Scott and his 6-9 back-up Jalen Robinson, both of whom were booted from the program a week ago for their alleged involvement in a string of thefts in on-campus dormitories.

Gregory wasn’t talking about the physicality of UD, he was to referring the bond the remaining Flyers would form. He didn’t say it but the implication was the thread would be morally stronger if nothing else and young guys would learn the right way to be a teammate.

The insinuation was the Flyers would be a tougher team to beat than most people expect because guys likely would be buying into each other and pushing themselves to their limits.

Unfortunately for the former UD coach, he was right about this current Flyer manifestation.

4. Archie has Gregory’s number.

Miller is now 2-0 against Gregory. Before last night, he was three wins ahead of Gregory’s pace during his tenure at UD. Miller was 71-40 through 111 games. Gregory was 69-43. Check out our interesting interactive coaching comparison to compare Miller and Gregory to all the UD coaches who came before them.

5. Next game a bigger challenge.

The Flyers won their eighth straight game against the ACC on Tuesday. Now they seek their 10th win in the last 13 games against the SEC. The players get Tuesday-Friday off and return to practice Saturday. They host an 8-3 Ole Miss team at 8 p.m. Dec. 30.

Dayton moved to 26th in the RPI by beating Georgia Tech. Ole Miss is 74th.

 


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