At the halfway point of the regular season, the Flyers have soared into rare air.
A freshman, Darrell Davis, has made 17-of-19 3-pointers in the last six games. The team hit 16-of-19 shots from the field in the second half Saturday in a 76-58 victory at Fordham (photos from Fordham). UD has won five straight games with a seven-man rotation. It has dominated good teams at home and lesser opponents on the road.
There’s a lot to love about Dayton basketball right now, and while questions remain about whether it can continue to win with little depth or size, the best you can do right now if you’re a UD fan is enjoy the moment and try to come up with adjectives to describe Davis’ shooting and the Flyers’ play.
The Flyers (13-2) have the best record in the A-10. Only VCU (13-3) also has 13 wins. Dayton, VCU and Rhode Island are all off to 3-0 starts in the conference.
Dayton is 16th in the RPI. Among A-10 teams, only No. 6 VCU is higher.
Here are five things to take from the latest victory:
1. Darrell Davis is the hottest shooter in the country.
Here are the freshman guard’s 3-point numbers in the last five games: 5-5, 2-2, 3-3, 1-3, 3-3, 3-3. You know have to be an algebra professor to know how good that is.
On the season, Davis has made 23-of-38 (60.5 percent). He’s the only player in the country shooting better than 60 percent, according to ESPN’s rankings. Those rankings require two attempts per game. Davis doesn’t qualify for the rankings on the NCAA’s site, which require 2.5 made 3-pointers per game.
2. Everybody contributed, as usual.
From our game story by Jeff Moeller:
It was yet another night when the Flyers had all five starters in double figures. Dyshawn Pierre led the way with 16 points — 11 in the second half — and six rebounds. Scoochie Smith, in his return home, added 15 and Jordan Sibert scored 14.
Darrell Davis hit a pair of key 3-pointers for the Flyers in the second half, one that gave Dayton a 50-43 advantage with 8:05 left. Davis finished with nine points off the bench and personally outscored the Fordham bench 9-4.
Pierre’s baby hook in the lane gave the Flyers a 40-39 lead with 12 minutes left and helped ignite a 16-4 run that allowed the Flyers to gain control. Pierre had eight points during the stretch.
“Everyone was sharing the ball more in the second half, and we shot too many threes” in the first half, Pierre said. “Coach told me to get the ball down low and go to the basket. Once I made a shot or two, I gained more confidence and we all started to get it rolling.”
3. Another happy homecoming for Bronx native Scoochie Smith.
More from Moeller’s coverage:
Smith had six points in the opening half and made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to finish with 15 points in 36 minutes.
“When we have a good game and especially the second half, it is always better to come home,” said Smith. “I had a large crowd here today. I heard some of the people calling my name at the end of the game and it made me feel good. We had a good game with them, but we picked up our intensity and got it going. We made the extra pass and we also got it going on defense. We were able to get them out of their zone and made them play man on us. It was a good win and nice to win here.”
4. Flyers winning the games they have to win.
Dayton’s A-10 schedule gave it a chance to get off to a great start, and the Flyers have taken advantage, beating three teams expected to finish in the bottom half of the standings: Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Fordham.
It’s Dayton’s first 3-0 start in the A-10 since 2003-04.
5. A 5-0 start is very possible.
It’s hard to know what to make of Dayton’s next opponent, La Salle. It’s 9-7 and ranked 90th in the RPI but lost to George Mason and UMass in its first two A-10 games before dominating a team considered to be one of the top three in the A-10, George Washington, 63-50 on Saturday.
From the Associated Press:
Jordan Price scored 20 points, Cleon Roberts chipped in 15, and La Salle led all the way to post a 63-50 victory over George Washington on Saturday.
La Salle held the Colonials to just 19 first-half points, taking a 14-point lead at the break. Patricio Garino made George Washington’s first basket 3:16 into the first half, and the Colonials didn’t score again for the next 8:58. The Explorers held their largest lead of the game, 19 points, with 3:34 left to play.
After hosting La Salle on Wednesday, the Flyers host Saint Louis on Saturday. The Billikens (7-8) are nowhere near the team they were the last two years because of heavy graduation losses.