Kendall Pollard’s block on Sunday. David Jablonski/Staff
The Red Scare student section started chanting, “Six more points!” in the final minutes Sunday. They wanted 100 points, and if they knew how long it had been since the Flyers had scored 100, they would have chanted even louder.
Scoring 100 will not get UD to the NCAA tournament. Neither will beating a last-place Fordham team that has won a total of nine A-10 games in the last five seasons and none this season.
However, it was a warm and fuzzy day at UD Arena, just like the pack of tiny dogs that performed at halftime. Here are five things to take from UD’s 101-77 victory (photos here).
1. This was UD’s first 100 point game in more than 15 years.
Lede of my game story:
No one on the Dayton bench Sunday knew how long it had been since the Flyers had scored 100 points in a game.
Jordan Sibert was 7 the last time it happened. Archie Miller was a sophomore at North Carolina State. Fans were still recording games on VCRs. No one sent a single tweet about Dayton’s 105-79 victory over Coastal Carolina on Dec. 11, 1999, because their Internet speed was too slow — and Twitter didn’t exist.
The Flyers had scored 96 points three times since that day but didn’t get 100 until Sunday when they beat Fordham 101-77 at UD Arena. They reached the milestone with 43 seconds left on two free throws by Kyle Davis.
“We’re just making history all around here, huh?” said Sibert, who scored a career-high 29 to lead five Dayton starters in double figures. “That’s pretty good, though.”
Miller also didn’t know how much time had passed since UD had hit the century mark.
“I didn’t really know we had 100 points until the very end,” he said. “I was more concerned that they had 77 in our building. That’s what I’m focused on right now.”
2. Kendall Pollard’s block was the highlight of the day.
Dayton forward Kendall Pollard blocked a shot by Fordham’s Jon Severe in the second half. The ball stuck between the rim and the backboard.
Pollard leads the Flyers with 20 blocks but said he has never blocked a shot that stuck to the basket.
“Breakaway blocks have always been fun to me,” Pollard said. “When I saw the opportunity, I just tried to make a hard play on the ball, and it happened. I tried to keep it in play. That’s even better. But we got the ball back because it was a jump ball.”
3. Jordan Sibert finally got his career high.
He had been flirting with it for several games with big scoring outbursts in the first half. This time, Sibert had 19 points in the first half and 10 in the second. He fell one point short of becoming the first Flyer since Chris Wright in 2010 to score 30.
“I was just letting the offense come to me,” Sibert said. “Coach always says, ‘Just swing the ball around and take what the defense gives you.’ When they gave me driving lanes, I took it. It was all encouragement out there. When you have a great group of guys like I have with me, it’s easy to keep yourself going and focused.”
4. Flyers good at bouncing back.
Dayton has had only one losing streak in the last two seasons. It lost four straight games in A-10 play last January. Other than that, it is 11-0 after losses, if you count the season opener this season, a victory that came after the loss to Florida in the Elite Eight last season.
“The big thing is don’t dwell on the loss,” Miller said. “Dwell on the next step. You want your guys to be about the next play and move forward through adversity. Then you don’t dwell on it. You deal with it. I thought we dealt with it very fast. We weren’t happy with our performance at UMass. I didn’t think we were physical enough. I thought in this game we were better. There are still signs of fatigue, more mental than physical.”
5. A-10 race is again wide open.
VCU’s loss to Richmond on Saturday means the Flyers (17-4, 7-2) are just a half game out of first. They’re tied for second with Rhode Island.
The Flyers play VCU (7-1) and Rhode Island in back-to-back games Feb. 28 and March 3. Just behind Dayton and Rhode Island is George Washington (6-3). The Flyers play at GW, which has lost two in a row, on Friday.
The bigger conference news last weekend involved an injury to one of VCU’s key players. From ESPN:
VCU guard Briante Weber suffered a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus during the closing minutes of the No. 14 Rams’ 64-55 loss to Richmond on Saturday, and his collegiate career is over, school spokesman Scott Day said.
Weber, who was on pace to break the NCAA record for all-time steals, was driving down the lane against the Spiders when his knee appeared to buckle during a jump stop. He left the game for the locker room, returning later on crutches.
Weber went for an MRI late on Saturday night, which determined the extent of the injury. Through Day, coach Shaka Smart deferred comment, asking instead to be able to be with Weber immediately following the diagnosis.