Defensive performance to be key part of first game after buzzer beater
By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor
After an opening season victory providing as much of an emotional boost as any team could need, the best thing that could happen is playing another game as soon as possible to keep its focus straight.
It’s that, but also all the work head coach Archie Miller still sees his University of Dayton men’s basketball team needing to improve upon that is their driving force heading into game two.
“We’re far from a finished product,” Miller said. “It is nice, I will say, to be able to learn from a win rather than to take dose of medicine here early on. We’re far from being ready to play at a high level right now.”
Dayton will host Saint Francis University out of Pennsylvania Wednesday, Nov. 13 at UD Arena. The game comes four days after a thrilling 81-80 win against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in which redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert hit a game winning three with a second remaining on the clock.
Miller said he has questioned his team’s effort level coming off the opening game. He said he knows nothing has looked perfect so far, but doesn’t think the team is playing as hard as it needed to against IPFW.
“Defensively, in particular on the ball, our perimeter defense right now isn’t anywhere close,” Miller said. “The transition game, getting back on defense, all five guys being committed to understanding how important that is to winning has been challenging.”
Redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford said he knows he was beaten by opposing players he was guarding several times during the IPFW game, and he and his teammates went over its faults during film sessions after the game.
SFU comes into UD Arena after defeating the United States Naval Academy 60-57 at home Monday, Nov. 11, after falling in its season opener by 20 at Fordham University Saturday, Nov. 9.
Junior forward Earl Brown, standing at 6-feet, 6-inches, leads the team in scoring and rebounding so far this season, averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. He put in 16 points against Navy on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor.
“They are much improved from a year ago,” Miller said. “They can shoot the ball, they’re very versatile at the four and the five. They’re undersized guys that are going to stretch us off the bounce a little bit. Couple of perimeter guys can really shoot the ball.”
Miller said he thinks the game will primarily come down his own team figuring out what it wants to accomplish and then sets itself out to do it.
“It’s a little disappointing right now through two weeks to watch the effort level and we have to get that corrected in a big way,” he said. “It’ll be a big week for us to have four workouts, two games, and we have to start moving towards being a really good team.”