The University of Dayton men’s basketball team scored its sixth point of the first half 3:23 into the game.
It would be all the points needed to lead at the break.
Dayton held Northern Illinois University to a NCAA record for fewest points in the first half with five points on its way to a 60-43 win on Saturday, Dec. 1, at UD Arena.
The five points tied a shot clock era record set by the University of Notre Dame against the University of California on Nov. 26, 2010, when ND led 21-5 at the half. The NCAA record for fewest points allowed in either half during the shot clock era is four by Kansas State University on Jan. 7, 2008 against Savannah State University.
“When I was at Ohio State, I think the other team had six at one point, but I’ve never seen five,” head coach Archie Miller said. “I think our defense had a lot to do with it.”
Dayton (5-2) held its opponent to just 10.5 percent shooting from the floor during the first half and did not allow a point for 16:02 of action, during which time the team built a 21-0 run to gain a large lead it was able to cruise with into halftime.
Dayton had three players score in double figures, including redshirt senior forward Josh Benson and junior forward Devin Oliver with 12 points each. Redshirt junior guard Vee Sanford added 11.
In total, 12 players saw playing time on Saturday, something Miller said the team has not had the luxury of this season because of injuries plaguing the time since the preseason. He said in having four young players, he is not sure what to expect out of them every night, which has not helped as far as setting a rotation, and expects the team’s veterans to step up more.
“The thing I’m concerned about the most is our older guys, the veteran guys,” he said. “How solid are they, how together are they, how excited are they every day. Are they ready to play? We can’t really afford not having those guys play at a high level to be successful.”
Despite holding NIU (1-5) to the low scoring total in the first half, Dayton was outscored 38-34 in the second half of action. Miller said he told his team at halftime to view the game as scoreless heading into the second half of play.
“We lost; that’s the message you try and send to the team,” Miller said. “We have a bad, disturbing trend right now. We’re a first half basketball team. I’m not sure where or when it’s going to change, but I know this, it’s going to bite us multiple times throughout the season if we continue to demonstrate inconsistencies on the defensive end from the first half to the second half.”
Miller’s message seemingly was already getting across to his players after the game.
“Honestly, we took a real stand on defense at first,” freshman forward Devon Scott said, who grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. “We took that as a chance to keep getting defensively better. We gave up 38 points. That can’t happen anymore. We just have to keep playing D like we did in the first half.”
Oliver said he thinks the second half will be good for the team later in the season in learning how to continue playing through the end of the game.
“We just have to improve, but when it’s all said and done, a win is a win,” Oliver said. “We just have to learn from it and move onto the next game.”
In a move seemingly that completed NIU’s woes on the night, the team was called for a technical foul with 1:21 remaining for attempting to call timeout when the team had none.
Dayton returns to action at the University of Alabama at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.