Game No. 23 recap: Dayton 51, Saint Louis 44

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Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre after win in St. Louis. David Jablonski/Staff

Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre left the court Tuesday night in St. Louis with their arms around each other’s shoulders. They were either celebrating or holding each other up. Probably a little of both after another hard-fought game.

The Flyers beat the Billikens 51-44 (photos here), ending a three-game road losing streak. Anyone who looked at Saint Louis’ record and figured Dayton would stroll to its 18th victory was mistaken. The Billikens have played everyone tough at home recently. This one was no different.

Here are five things to take from the game:

1. The blue uniforms have new life.

From my game story:

Dayton’s Archie Miller is the quintessential college basketball coach in so many ways. He can scream, stomp and scowl with the best of them. He differs in one way from most coaches, though.

Miller doesn’t believe in jinxes.

That’s one reason he brought the blue uniforms back after they debuted in a last-second loss at George Washington on Friday. He liked the team’s effort in the loss and decided the uniforms had nothing to do with the defeat.

The Flyers wore the dark blue again Tuesday at Saint Louis, and this time they wore them in victory. Dayton outscored the Billikens 10-0 in the last four minutes to win 51-44 at Chaifetz Arena.

“We were waiting on (the run) all game,” Miller said. “We kept talking about our defense being able to crack the seal, so to speak. I thought we had some opportunities earlier in the game, even earlier in the second half. Our defense got out, and we couldn’t convert. We turned it over. It was just one of those nights.”

2. Darrell Davis is an X factor.

It’s hard to know what you’re going to get from the freshman. The Flyers were at their best in late December and early January when he was hitting shots. He had slumped since then. He rescued them Tuesday with four 3-pointers.

From my second story last night:

Scoochie Smith slapped hands as Darrell Davis talked to a reporter in the locker room and said, “It’s all about the W. That’s all that matters.”

True words from the true team.

The Flyers beat Saint Louis 51-44 on Tuesday at Chaifetz Arena, and the numbers didn’t matter as much as the result. However, the four 3-pointers by the freshman guard Davis played a big part in the victory.

Davis made 1 of 3 in the first half and 3 of 3 in the second. His last 3-pointer with 3:08 to play on an assist by Kyle Davis gave Dayton a 40-38 lead. The Flyers didn’t trail again.

“Coach told me to shoot the ball more,” Davis said. “I shot the ball, and I felt like it was going in.”

After a six-game run in which he made 16 of 19 3-pointers, Davis had made 7 of 27 in the last seven games. The Flyers needed every shot he made Tuesday as Saint Louis dared the Flyers to shoot from long range.

3. The Flyers can win (barely) without much from Sibert.

Sibert played a season-low 19 minutes because of foul trouble. He had played 30 or more minutes in 19 straight games.

Sibert scored eight points. He got four of those in the final minute.

“(Sibert) just didn’t have it,” Miller said. “The foul problems really, it was just one of those games. He just didn’t have the rhythm. Even when he got back in it, offensively, you could tell he just wasn’t in the flow. To his credit, he hit big free throws and got a big steal.”

4. The A-10 is crowded at the top.

Dayton has as many wins as first-place VCU and Rhode Island (both 8-2), but it’s a game back in the loss column. George Washington and UMass are just a half game back of UD, and if either were to finish the regular season tied with UD, they would have the tiebreaker in seeding for the conference tournament because they beat the Flyers.

Davidson and St. Bonaventure (both 6-4) are two games out of first.

There’s a small chance five teams could be tied for first after tonight’s games.

5. St. Bonaventure is big test on Saturday for UD.

The Flyers host the Bonnies at 12:30 p.m. The game is already a sellout.

Dayton already beat the Bonnies on the road, but the Bonnies are playing better than ever right now, having beaten Davidson and VCU in their last two games, thanks to the heroics of Marcus Posley.

Dayton ranks 36th in the RPI. St. Bonaventure is 113th.

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