By: Connor Hanson – Staff Writer
After a lackluster first half, the Dayton men’s basketball team came out of the break shooting to kill, putting up 52 second half points on their way to beating Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) 91-59.
The Flyers gave up three easy baskets at the beginning of the game which right away landed the starters on the bench. With the starters out of the game, Dayton continued to struggle, playing sloppy by missing a couple wide open layups and dunks.
“I thought we got off to an inattentive start,” head coach Archie Miller said in the postgame press conference. “You don’t start the game off and give up three straight baskets in thirty seconds. It’s unacceptable. We can’t have one day good one day bad, we have to be more consistent with that, especially how we start our games.”
However, Dayton was a new team coming out of the break, hustling at both ends of the court.
The Flyers scored a season-high 91 points, while at the same stifling Saint Joseph’s offense. UD recorded 11 blocks and 21 steals in the game.
The seniors were dominant on the scoring end once again, with all of them scoring in double digits for the second straight game. Both guards Kyle Davis and Charles Cooke led the game with 18 points and Davis shot an efficient 8-9 from the field. Forward Kendall Pollard and guard Scoochie Smith rounded out the double digit scorers for the Flyers with 14 and 13 points apiece.
Davis and Pollard also had a nice night defensively as Davis recorded four steals and one block while Pollard registered three steals and two blocks. Those blocks and steals created offensive opportunities for the Flyers, who shot an incredibly efficient 60.6% in the second half and 55% for the game.
“[Davis] continues to be our engine, he’s the tone setter, he’s the guy that has all the intangibles, that’s playing as hard as he can, trying to do everything that the coaches ask,” Miller said about Davis’ improvement the last four games. “That’s four games in a row now that he has spearheaded our energy level and our toughness level, he gets us going.”
Another player who had himself a day was sophomore forward Xeyrius Williams, who packed the stat sheet in his first ever start for the Flyers. He scored eight points to go along with five rebounds, five blocks, four steals and three assists, all in 31 minutes of work.
With everybody clicking offensively and defensively in the second half, the meager nine point lead ballooned into a 32 point margin when it was all said and done. Miller then turned toward his bench at the end of the game and send walk-ons Jack Parsley, Jeremiah Bonsu, Jack Westerfield and Joey Gruden into the game.
Gruden, a senior guard for the Flyers, ended up scoring his first point of his career as he hit the back end of his two free throws at the end of the game.
Now riding a four game win streak and a 6-2 record, Dayton looks to finish strong on their three-game homestand. They face off against East Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon.
Photo by Christian Cubacub/Staff Photographer