Ramod Marshall vs. Duquesne at UD in 2004. Photo by Shiloh Crawford III
Davidson delayed Dayton’s A-10 title celebration until at least Saturday.
Flyer fans who tuned in late Thursday night to see the Davidson-VCU game needed about five minutes to realize the Rams had no chance. VCU is fading faster than the snow around here is melting. Once a lock for the big dance, they’re trending toward the bubble with three straight losses, including an 82-55 loss at Davidson
So the Flyers and Wildcats head to the final day of the regular season Saturday tied for first place. Dayton plays at La Salle at 4 p.m. Davidson plays at Duquesne at 7 p.m. If they both win, they’re co-champs but Davidson gets the No. 1 seed because it beat the Flyers.
If both Dayton and Davidson lose and Rhode Island wins, there would be a three-way tie for first, and the seeds would look like this: 1. Davidson; 2. Dayton; 3. Rhode Island.
Even a shared title would be a big deal for Dayton. It has never won a conference regular-season title in a conference without divisions. In part, that’s because it played as an independent for much of its early history.
The Flyers did win the A-10 West Division in 2000 and 2004. Those divisions had six teams, so it’s not quite the same as winning a title in the current 14-team A-10.
Here’s a look back at the 2004 victory that clinched the West Division. This is a game story from former UD beat writer Bucky Albers in the March 7, 2004, edition of the Dayton Daily News.
Marshall gives UD much-needed boost
Senior erupts for 33 points in win over Duquesne
PITTSBURGH — With the University of Dayton basketball team sorely in need of a victory, Ramod Marshall responded with the game of his life and carried the Flyers to a hard-earned 73-69 decision over Duquesne on Saturday.
Emerging brilliantly from a shooting slump, UD’s veteran point guard scored a career-high 33 points as Dayton won the Atlantic 10 Conference West Division championship outright and kept alive its hopes for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Dayton finished the regular season 22-7 and was 12-4 in the West to edge George Washington (17-10, 11-5) by one game. GW won at La Salle on Saturday.
“This gives us a little momentum going into the A-10 Tournament,” Marshall said. “I’m a leader on this team and that’s what I need to do at this time of year.”
A crowd of 5,406 at the A.J. Palumbo Center saw Marshall strike early and often to score 21 points in the first half, which ended with UD leading, 39-32. He made 11 of 20 shots, including six of seven 3-pointers, plus 5 of 7 free throws. He also collected a career-high seven rebounds.
“He played at another level,” Duquesne coach Danny Nee said of Marshall. “He was the difference in the game. He was their offense in the first half. He was carrying them on his back.”
It must have come as a shock to the Duquesne coaches because the Marshall they saw on videotape of recent UD games wasn’t much to worry about. In his past seven games, Marshall had converted only 20 percent (9 of 44) of his 3-point shots and hadn’t been playing well defensively. Think of how stunned the Duquesne coaches must have been when he sank his first four 3s and made five of six in the first half.
“I’ve been in a slump too long,” Marshall said. “We can’t win if I’m not playing well. I told them I was going to be aggressive today. I was getting some good looks and they were falling.”
Marshall, voted most outstanding player of last year’s A-10 tournament, added, “This is the time when I (always) start playing well. This was the time for me to bounce back. Coach (Brian Gregory) asked me what was going on. He said it was time for me to start stepping up. He put out a challenge for me, and I just wanted to respond to it.”
Gregory said the most impressive aspect of Marshall’s performance was that he played with so much intensity on defense.
“Give him credit because he set the tone today on the defensive end of the court,” Gregory said. “His shots started falling from there. Yeah, he scored 33 points, but he may have had as good a defensive effort as he’s had all year.
“So much has been made about it — that he’s not shooting as well. I told him: He made enough shots on Wednesday for us to win that game. It was his intensity and energy on defense and on the break that hasn’t been there. He’s a good enough player where his shooting shouldn’t affect his overall game, but he’s human and that happens sometimes.”
The Flyers, who were outrebounded Wednesday in a loss to Rhode Island, came back to beat Duquesne (11-16, 6-10) on the boards, 43-30. Senior forward Keith Waleskowski, who leads the A-10 in rebounding, collected only five (half his average) Saturday, but 7-foot center Sean Finn grabbed 11, and Frank Iguodala came up with six.
Saturday’s victory didn’t come without a fight. UD led by 13 (62-49) with 8:57 left, but the Flyers went stone cold and allowed the Dukes to cut the margin to three with 34 seconds left. With an opportunity to make it a two-possession lead, Marshall went to the line and missed two free throws.
Needing a 3-pointer to tie, Duquesne called a timeout with 13 seconds left. Guard Bryant McAllister quickly jacked up a fadeaway “3” from the left side that bore a haunting resemblance to the fatal trey launched by Rhode Island’s Dustin Hellenga on Wednesday. This one missed, and UD’s Mark Jones grabbed the rebound. He was fouled immediately with 8.9 seconds left. He missed his first free throw but made the second to seal the Dayton victory.