PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Many times a stat sheet doesn’t tell the whole story, but it did tonight as Dayton (17-10, 7-6) defeated Duquesne (15-12, 6-7) 74-62 in a must-win game for both teams, as they stood tied in eighth place in the Atlantic 10.  Teams five through eight are rewarded with a home court advantage in the first round of the A-10 tournament.   The Dukes are 10-4 at home and just 3-7 on the road. One of those road win was indeed against Dayton when the Dukes beat the Flyers 83-73 on Feb. 1.

A game in the past is certainly in the past, but there is no doubt Dayton had some extra motivation tonight to not get swept.  After the first nine minutes of the game, where the Dukes played to their strengths by forcing turnovers, playing good transition basketball, finding open guys and finishing, the momentum kind of just stopped.

“We had open shots we couldn’t knock down and they converted them,” said Dukes’ senior guard Eric Evans.

That would be a pretty accurate statement, as the Dukes shot under 40 percent from the field, 19 percent from the arc and 60 percent from the line, while UD shot 47 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line.

In an already balanced Dayton team coming into the game, five UD players scored in double digits, led by senior guard Paul Williams’ game-high 18, 16 of which came in the second half.  Junior forward Matt Kavanaugh finished with a double-double, 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

“Against a team like Dayton who’s got (Chris) Johnson and (Paul) Williams who are seniors and guys who have sort of been through the wars of our league and understand it, those guys, they’re good basketball players.  Every mistake we made, especially defensively getting back, they made us pay for,” said Dukes head coach Ron Everhart.

Dayton finished the game with 20 turnovers, but everything else seemed to diminish the sting of that number, including the fact that the Dukes only converted 18 points off of UD’s seven above average turnovers.

The Flyers scored over half of their points in the paint including 21 second-chance points, a result of 41-24 out-rebounding effort.

“We’ve been playing small all year, we have to work with what we have, and we can’t make excuses.  We were supposed to get the rebounds and we didn’t,” said Duke’s senior swingman B.J. Monteiro who scored all of his 10 points in the second half.

Just seven free throws were attempted in the first half between both teams, including an and-one for Dayton’s leading scorer, senior guard Kevin Dillard with two minutes to go to give the Flyers a 31-24 lead.

The Dukes cut the lead to three at the half, but had three consecutive turnovers at the start of the second as Dayton when on a 6-0 run.

Duquesne answered with a 9-0 run a few minutes later to take a 48-45 lead after what looked like a sequence in which the Dukes would finally get some good momentum to finish out the game.  It began with Mike Talley’s two free-throws and continued with Mamadou Datt’s two dunks, defensive rebound and a B.J. Monteiro three.

Up until the last six minutes, it was a back and forth game.  This season the Dukes have been plagued with large runs against them, and this time Dayton’s run came too late for them to recover.  Dayton went on a 23-9 run in the last seven minutes of the game.

“I didn’t think offensively we had a lot of patience, and I think our bad offense led to bad defense,” Coach Everhart said.

Talley led the Dukes with 13 points.

In case you wanted to know…

  • First-year Dayton head coach, Archie Miller is the brother of Arizona head coach and former University of Pittsburgh guard, Sean Miller.
  • The Dukes travel to George Washington for a 2PM game on Saturday February 25th
  • UD had 15 fast break points to Duquesne’s 11.
  • The Dukes bench contributed 29 points.
  • UD guard Chris Johnson finished with 13 points, junior Kevin Dillard had 11 and redshirt senior guard Josh Parker added 12.  Sophomore forward Devin Oliver grabbed 10 rebounds.

Aly Cohen
The Aly Way