Kyle Davis dives for a loose ball. David Jablonski/Staff
This will be anything but a lazy Sunday for the Flyers, their fans and us in the media.
First there will be basketball. Then, for myself, Mike Hartsock and Tom Archdeacon, there will be a car ride to a random bar in Yonkers. Then we’ll all settle down for a little TV watching: the NCAA selection show.
At least, that’s the plan for now. Dayton beat Rhody 56-52 Saturday (photos here), setting up a 1 p.m. A10 final today against VCU. Win or lose, the Flyers are going to get on the bus at some point after the game and head to the airport. On the way, they will stop at Burke’s Restaurant and Bar in Yonkers, “home of the world famous $5 burger.”
That’s all ahead of us. For now, let me turn back the clock to yesterday. Here are five things to take from Dayton’s 25th victory.
Scoochie Smith on Saturday. David Jablonski/Staff
1. It wasn’t easy. It rarely is.
There was little chance the Flyers would walk over Rhode Island as they did on Senior Night earlier this month. Nothing’s easy in this tournament. Fortunately, the Flyers have won just as many ugly games as pretty games, and this one was the former.
Here’s the lede of my game story:
Kyle Davis took several deep breaths. He relaxed. He made one free throw. He smiled. He drained another. His grin grew.
2. Dyshawn Pierre woke up in time to save the Flyers.
Pierre was having a rough day until the final 10 minutes. Miller yelled at him at one point: “Shoot the ball!” He also said Pierre could sit next to him if he didn’t. Pierre then forced up a bad shot on the next possession.
But then, as Archdeacon wrote, Pierre started playing like a man possessed.
In the first half Saturday, he had made one of seven shots from the floor.
But then everything changed. That’s when he bulldozed the stereotype — and the Rams — flat.
Suddenly no more Mr. Nice Guy.
“Sometimes Archie tells me to ‘Get Angry!’ ” Pierre said with a lowered voice as he stood in the back of the postgame dressing room. “Tonight he told me, ‘We need you.’ ”
In his coaching quarters a few feet away, Archie was asked if that had happened.
“I might have said something during a timeout,” the coach admitted. “And at about the nine-minute mark, it was just like he said, ‘Man, enough with the missing.’ He had another gear down the stretch and he carried us.”
Jordan Sibert against the Rams. David Jablonski/Staff
3. We may be tired, but the Flyers say they aren’t.
We took a long cab ride last night after finishing a long day at the arena to P.J. Clarke’s, a famous bar/restaurant in Manhattan. Archdeacon is quite the tour guide, as he’s been to NYC many times before for various events.
I’m sure the Flyers got to bed earlier than we did. They need their rest for their third game in four days, even if they claim to not be tired.
Dayton coach Archie Miller smirked when the inevitable question arose in the postgame press conference about whether his team is tired.