Dyshawn Pierre shoots on Saturday. Photo by Ty Greenlees
The fewer players Dayton has, the better it plays. At what point would that change? Could Archie Miller win with five? Four? With just Jordan Sibert playing one-on-five?
Miller’s Mighty Mites blasted Duquesne 81-55 on Saturday (game photos here) at UD Arena, just hours after UD announced senior guard Ryan Bass will miss the rest of the season with concussion symptoms. With just seven players in the rotation and only six scholarship players, the Flyers scored a season-high 81 points, shooting 57 percent from the field.
Here are five things to take away from the 13th game of the season:
1. Sitting Bass is the right move.
The Dunbar grad’s season and career ends with the decision to sit him for the rest of the season. According to Tom Archdeacon’s column in today’s paper, Bass caught an elbow to the face during the Ole Miss game and knew as he was falling it had happened again.
By his count, it was the sixth in a basketball career that has taken him from Chaminade Julienne and Dunbar during his prep days here, then on to three seasons at Oakland (Mich.) University and finally back to Dayton this season.
Tuesday night, though, that warm embrace of home gave way to another feeling once the concussive effects took hold. It was similar to the concussion he had suffered in practice just before the season and sidelined him the first five games.
“It feels like you’re losing control of your body — everything kind of goes blank,” Bass recalled Saturday afternoon. “Once it comes back, your eyes kind of go from here … to here.”
He held his hands up to the side of his face as if wearing blinders like a race horse: “It’s just a weird feeling in your eyes.”
2. Dayton’s offense continues to operate a high level.
Laurel Pfahler filled in for me at this game after my long week in New Orleans. Here’s an excerpt from her game story.
Dayton’s offense looked about as good as it has all season with all five starters reaching double figures for scoring and 21 of 30 field goals coming off assists. The Flyers’ 81 points were a season-high, as was their 56.6 percent shooting rate.
Kyle Davis had a career-high 17 points and four assists, while Dyshawn Pierre, Sibert and Smith each added 16 points, and Kendall Pollard chipped in 13 points. Pierre and Sibert led the team in rebounding with eight boards each, and Smith had a team-high eight assists.
“We are playing more spread out, and I think that just helps us that everyone is ready to shoot when we pass to one another,” Smith said. “(The high number of assists) just shows how connected we are as a team, and how unselfish everyone is.”
3. The Flyers are in the zone beyond the arc.
The Flyers cooled off in the second half (3-of-11) but made 7-of-15 in the first. At that point, I tweeted, “UD was shooting 27 percent from 3-point range (42-155) after Arkansas game. Counting 7-of-15 today, they’ve shot 47.3 in last 4 (36-76).”
The Flyers now rank fifth in the A-1o in 3-point percentage (33.5).
More from Laurel’s game notes:
After going 6-for-9 from 3-point range in the first half against Ole Miss on Tuesday, the Flyers were 7 of 15 in the first half of an 81-55 win over Duquesne on Saturday. Jordan Sibert made five 3-pointers, while Scoochie Smith and Kyle Davis each had two.
UD coach Archie Miller likes the comfort level he is seeing in his shooters, but also that they can get to the basket in different ways. The Flyers are forcing opponents to do some different things against them defensively.
“We are seeing a lot of zone right now,” Miller said. “I think teams are nervous about playing us man-to-man just because we have five perimeter players out there, so when teams put the zone out there, at times the pass becomes a 3-point shooting contest, which is not the case with us. The ball gets to the paint and we get fouled, and it generates points.”
4. Dayton off to its best start in five years.
With the victory, the Flyers improved to 11-2. It’s their best record through 13 games since they were 12-1 in 2008-09. A year ago, they were 10-3 and then 12-3 after non-conference play. That’s when the slump began: five losses in their first six A-10 games.
5. St. Bonaventure will be tougher test.
Dayton is 17th in the RPI. Duquesne ranks 236th, dead last among A-10 teams. Dayton’s opponent on the road Thursday is St. Bonaventure, which ranks 150th. The Bonnies (8-4) won 69-55 at UMass on Saturday.