Dayton cruises in Maui Invitational Opener
By: Chris Bendel – Asst. Sports Editor
A strong second half led the University of Dayton men’s basketball team to a 78-58 victory against St. Francis University Brooklyn on Saturday, Nov. 16, in front of 12,183 fans at the UD Arena.
In the second half, UD outscored the Terriers 46-33 and shot 88 percent from 15-of-17 shooting at the foul line to break open the tightly contested game. UD held a 43-40 lead with 11:50 remaining, but went on a 23-8 run over the next six minutes to secure a win.
Sophomore forward Devon Scott capped the Dayton scoring run, bringing the UD arena crowd to its feet with an authoritative two-handed dunk to push the score to 66-48.
From there, the Flyers coasted to victory.
Turnovers were a problem for both teams in the first half, but Dayton won the turnover battle in the second, giving the team extra possessions and allowed them to score quickly.
“We cleaned up our turnovers in the second half, which enabled us to get some baskets,” head coach Archie Miller said.
After recording 12 turnovers in the first half, UD only turned the ball over four times in the second.
Dayton scored 30 points off St. Francis Brooklyn’s turnovers.
After strong performances in Dayton’s first two games of the season, redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert made his first start as a Flyer in place of senior guard Vee Sanford, allowing Miller different options off his bench.
Sibert logged 27 minutes, the most of any Dayton starter, and contributed 13 points on an efficient 4 for 5 shooting from the field. He also knocked down 4-of-5 free throws.
In an unfamiliar role, Sanford entered the game for the first time 4:36 into the game, but provided the spark and consistency that Miller said he had hoped for off the bench.
“He [Sanford] knows he plays a big role for us whether he starts or doesn’t start. His production doesn’t change,” Miller said.
Sanford, showing maturity in his new assignment according to Miller, led the team in scoring and showed signs of being a lock-down defender.
Sanford finished with a team-high 14 points and was perfect from the free throw stripe, going 4-4 in the second half.
Miller said he could still be tinkering with the starting lineup in upcoming games but he values “that type of experience and scoring ability coming off the bench.”
“He may lead us in scoring whether he starts or doesn’t start,” he said.
Sophomore guard Khari Price scored 13 points in another efficient performance from behind the arc, going 2-of-3 on 3-pointer attempts.
Miller said he is not surprised by Price’s early season shooting performance.
“I think he [Price] has the capability from behind the three-point line to be one of the better three-point shooters in the country from a percentage standpoint,” Miller said.
Senior forward Matt Kavanaugh rounded out the Flyers’ scorers in double figures and added 10 points in 20 minutes.