Fordham University hit an opening three to take the first lead of the game, but it was all downhill from there for the Rams on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at UD Arena.
The University of Dayton men’s basketball team started the game hitting 18 of its first 23 shots from the floor and connected on 15-of-21 shots from three for the game en route to an overwhelming 96-51 win.
The win was Dayton’s largest margin of victory ever as a member of the Atlantic 10, eclipsing the previous record of 44 points in an 88-44 win on Jan. 12, 2002 against Duquesne University. It also was the team’s first conference win after dropping its first three contests.
“Important win for our team,” said head coach Archie Miller. “I just feel good for those guys. We’ve been through a lot this season and we’ve had a lot of guys contributing. When you hit any type of rough spot, it feels like the world’s coming to an end.
Redshirt senior guard Kevin Dillard led Dayton with 22 points on the night on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. He hit five of the six 3-pointers he attempted.
“I just got back to having fun tonight,” Dillard said. “I just blacked out all that extra stuff and went out there and played for my teammates.”
Redshirt junior guard Vee Sanford added 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and redshirt sophomore forward Matt Derenbecker also had 11, hitting three of his four 3-point attempts.
Dayton (11-7, 1-3 A10) scored 20 points in the first 5:16 of the game before outscoring Fordham 33-13 for the remainder of the half.
“They’re a good defensive team and we just had it clicking tonight,” Dillard said.
Fordham (5-14, 1-3 A10) started the second half with none of its starting five taking the floor. Its second group outscored Dayton 13-4 over the first four minutes of the half, before Dayton regained control over the remainder of the game.
Fordham senior guard Chris Gaston, the team’s leading rebounder and second in scoring, did not make the trip to Dayton because of a knee injury.
After averaging more than 20 turnovers per game in A10 play, Dayton only gave the ball up eight times while forcing 19 from Fordham, scoring 29 points off turnovers.
Miller said it was one of the biggest keys of the game.
“Tonight we cleaned up some of things that were really hurting us,” he said. “We had two excellent guard plays tonight.”
And despite his team shooting over 70 percent from three, Miller said he still continues to preach defense first to his team.
“This deal for us is about defending, learning to play with one another, don’t turn the ball over and if you’re open, shoot it,” he said, noting that his team’s 24 assists on the night also seemed to be an overachieving number, but was happy it happened.
Heading into its next game against Duquesne on Saturday, Jan. 26, at UD Arena, Dayton will have its final tune up before a trip to Cincinnati to face Xavier University.
Derenbecker said it’s good the team was able to get rid of the bad taste three conference losses gave them, but it can’t settle on what it did on Wednesday night.
“We can’t beat satisfied with this one win,” Derenbecker said. “Any team in this conference can beat us on any given day but we can beat any team as well.”