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Game No. 12 recap: Dayton 78, Ole Miss 74

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Darrell Davis on Tuesday against Ole Miss. AP photo by Skip Peterson


 

The Flyers are fascinating. They’ve got one taller than 6-6, as I’ve mentioned a few times and will continue to do so because it’s kind of crazy. They kicked their two big men off the team and only got better. They’ve won when they couldn’t shoot and won when they couldn’t miss.

I watched the game last night with WHIO’s Mike Hartsock in New Orleans, where we’re covering the Sugar Bowl, which thankfully finally arrives tomorrow. I’ve written 18 stories since arriving Saturday and taken hundreds of photos (most of players and coaches talking) and I’m ready for actual football.

As for the Flyers, you’ve got to admire the job Archie Miller and his staff has done. UD’s playing with confidence and energy, and it’s going to be interesting to see what they can do in the 18 A-10 games ahead.

I predicted a 9-3 non-conference finish. They went 10-2. That’s about as good as any UD fan could have hoped.

Here’s five things to take from Tuesday:

1. Ole Miss met Can’t Miss, whose real name is Darrell Davis.

Darrell Davis hit three more 3-pointers and is 10-of-10 in the last three games against Boston, Georgia Tech and Mississippi. He’s now shooting 55 percent, which ranks second in the A-10 (16-of-29).

2. Size doesn’t matter.

Tom Archdeacon wrote about Dayton overcoming a significant height disadvantage.

Dayton looked like a glorified high school team with a bunch of short guys and no one taller than 6-6.

“Height-wise don’t matter to us,” said Kyle Davis, one of the smallest Flyers. He says he’s “6-feet…even,” but that seems like a bit of an exaggeration for the game program.

“No, I am,” he insisted, “Besides, out there, it’s all about heart.

“We know we’re undersized without our bigs now, but Coach preaches to us to put fear in people’s eyes and that’s what we try to do every night.”

3. Flyers keep rising in the RPI.

Dayton moved to 14th, just two spots behind Archie Miller’s brother Sean’s Arizona. Virginia Commonwealth (9-3) is third and the only A-10 team ranked higher than the Flyers.

4. Flyers keep beating the power conferences.

Laurel Pfahler covered the game for us and wrote:

It marked a second straight win over a Power 5 conference opponent after beating Georgia Tech last week, and Dayton (10-2) improved to 4-1 against teams from the SEC and ACC.

Ole Miss (8-4) hadn’t lost on the road in five games.

“It was a good win for our team,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “I continue to be really proud of our guys and their approach. We played a really good Ole Miss team, and they challenged us not only just inside but also challenged us on the perimeter, and some guys really stepped up and answered the bell. We’ll take it. We’ll learn from it, and we’ll move into conference play 10-2, and that’s something this team should be really proud of.”

5. UD looks ready for A-10 play.

KenPom.com favors Dayton in its first five conference games: home against Duquesne on Saturday, at St. Bonaventure, at Fordham, home against La Salle and Saint Louis.

In that group, La Salle (80th) is the only chance for a top 100 RPI win. The other four are the four lowest-ranked teams in the conference (between 191st and 257th).

While Dayton’s schedule is favorable at the start, it’s bad luck that it plays the four highest-ranked teams on the road and doesn’t play them at home: VCU, Davidson, George Washington and UMass.

 


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