Greetings from the University of Dayton Arena where the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team today hosts its first ranked foe in over a year against Atlantic 10 Conference newcomer #14/17 Butler University.
Butler enters the UD Arena this afternoon on a 10-game winning streak, most recently defeating Saint Joseph’s University 72-66 on Jan. 9 in its first ever A-10 conference game. Dayton meanwhile dropped a 74-62 decision at the other new school in the A-10 this season, Virginia Commonwealth University, on Jan. 9 as well.
Butler is led by its sharpshooting guard, Rotnei Clarke, who is averaging 17 points per game this season, and the second most 3-pointers made in the A-10 at 3.9 per game.
Today will be the first meeting between the two schools since they met as members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference over 20 years ago.
Stay with the FN Overtime Blog throughout the game today for live updates of the action at UD Arena.
Here are each team’s probable starters.
1 Kevin Dillard, Sr, G
2 Josh Benson, Sr, F
5 Devin Oliver, Jr, F
21 Dyshawn Pierre, Fr, F
43 Vee Sanford, Jr, G
3 Alex Barlow, So, G
15 Rotnei Clarke, Sr, G
21 Roosevelt Jones, So, G
23 Khyle Marshall, Jr, F
44 Andrew Smith, Sr, F
1:55 UD Arena on its feet early as UD takes the floor today to a new music package. Lots of white towels being waved by fans and students. Maybe not quite the red out the university was hoping for, but a pretty strong effort.
1:58 Starters are being introduced. Will be a slight delay to wait for TV coverage to begin, and then we’ll be getting underway.
2:01 Dayton players with a long huddle as they take the court. Tip time has arrived.
2:10 Dayton misses several early shots around the basket, and Butler uses a healthy dose of Andrew Smith to take an early 4-0 lead. Dillard gets UD on the scoreboard with a driving layup and Dyshawn Pierre hit a jumper finally for UD. Josh Benson picked up two quick fouls and may be done for the half already. 4-4 Tie, 15:47 1st half.
2:20 Dillard having a hard time finding space to create a shot as he had back to back attempts blocked. Devin Oliver has been asserting himself early on the boards, creating his own bucket on a tip after his second offensive rebound of the game. Dayton took its first lead on a Khari Price 3-pointer, but Butler answered back. Price eventually hit another to get Dayton back in the lead. UD has a 10-3 advantage on the boards early. 12-11 Dayton, 11:04 1st half.
2:32 Matt Derenbecker seeing his first action today and made a driving floating for his first shot after faking a three. Jalen Robinson also with some strong play in the paint got himself to the line for a few free shots. Later though, Khyle Marshall for Butler continued straining UD shots away from the bucket with a strong block. Derenbecker got his pocket picked by Rotnei Clarke at midcourt and was called for an intentional foul after fouling him hard from behind into the padding underneath the basket. Clarke was down for several minutes before medical personnel brought out a stretcher. 21-16 Butler, 7:22 1st half.
2:49 Pierre with back to back buckets keeping Dayton close, but Butler is finding its way on offense in the paint with both Benson and now Robinson sitting with two fouls each, thanks to the play of Marshall for Butler, who has made two and-one baskets in a row on one trip down the floor. It eventually became an 8-0 run which Archie Miller called timeout after to settle his team. 33-24 Butler, 2:41 1st half.
2:59 Halftime at UD Arena with Dayton trailing 35-27. Dayton has dominated the boards for a second straight game, but just as on Wednesday find themselves behind on the scoreboard. Butler is shootinf 59 percent from the floor and has connected on three of its six 3-point attempts. Dayton found offense from unfamiliar places in Price and Pierre to help out Dillard, but Butler held Vee Sanford scoreless on four shot attempts and Oliver to two points.
3:23 Josh Benson made it two minutes before picking up his third foul and the team has definitely missed his presence not being on the floor. Butler used a 7-0 run to gain its largest lead of the game at 12 and has seen a balance effort from its team on the scoreboard with Clarke leaving the game late in the first half. 42-30 Butler, 16:49 2nd half.
3:28 Kevin Dillard gotten himself up to a game-high 11 points with a three and a driving layup to cut Butler’s lead down the nine. Butler has done a tremendous job of controlling the paint, outscoring UD 22-16 while blocking six UD shots. UD though has helped itself with 10 second chance points coming off 11 offensive rebounds. 46-37 Butler, 15:00 2nd half.
3:38 The fans at UD Arena want to assert themselves into the game very badly right now as Dayton is struggling to keep it close with three players playing with three fouls and Dillard on the bench for a rest. Butler is 7-of-11 from the floor in the second half thus far, but are nearing seven team fouls. They’ve also closed in on Dayton’s rebounding advantage from the Dayton bigs backing off on their aggression with foul trouble. 52-42 Butler, 11:52 2nd half.
3:49 Sanford gets his first two points of the game at the free throw line, but Butler continues to answer what UD is able to throw at them. Game score has fluctuated between an 8-11 point lead for Butler for several minutes now. Butler has 17 assists to go with 22 made baskets. Vee Sanford comes up big with a three after a steal to get Dayton the closest its been in 10 minutes. 59-53 Butler, 7:05 2nd half.
3:59 Sanford connects on another three to get Dayton within five and is carrying Dayton’s scoring with Dillard not on the floor. Ten straight points has kept Butler needing to answer every time down the floor, which it has done so far and continued to out of a timeout with an Andrew Smith 3-pointer to put them back up eight. Dillard checks back in with 4:04 left as Benson and Robinson continue to sit with four fouls. 68-60 Butler, 3:50 2nd half.
4:04 Devin Oliver misses two free throws trailing by nine on one trip down the floor, and then misses another when he gets a second chance. Dayton running out of time, trailing by eight with 2:30 left.
4:06 Pierre hits a three to cut Butler’s lead to six with 2:11 left.Timeout Dayton.
4:17 Final score: Butler 79, Dayton 73. Butler had too much poise for Dayton to overcome on both sides of the floor as they were playing without their leader Rotnei Clarke, who went down with an injury late in the first half. Butler shot just under 60 percent from the floor for the game and hit over half of the 3-pointers it attempted, while Dayton was stalled in its half-court offense for much of the game without the use of Josh Benson, who couldn’t stay on the floor with foul trouble for most of the game before eventually fouling out.
Butler improves to 14-2 overall and 2-0 in the Atlantic 10, while Dayton drops its second straight game and fourth in its last six to go to 10-6 and 0-2 in the A-10. Dayton next travels to La Salle University on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m.