Familiar Flaws Come Back To Bite Dayton Against George Mason

Michael Crouchley
Contributing Writer

University of Dayton’s men’s basketball team suffered another loss in a close game on Wednesday night, falling 67-63 to George Mason.

“We have to dig deeper to win these close games,” redshirt junior forward Ryan Mikesell said. “I mean, we’ve been in how many close games that we’ve lost? I don’t think we’ve really gotten blown out, in these close games we just have to figure it out.”

The Flyers started the game well on the offensive side of the ball. Crisp ball movement and hot starts from Mikesell and redshirt senior Josh Cunningham gave Dayton an early lead. However, Dayton could not hold onto the lead for long as George Mason went on a 12-0 run in the middle of the first half.

The rest of the game was a back-and-forth battle that included 13 lead changes. The largest point differential was only five.

The star man for Dayton recently has been sophomore guard Jordan Davis. He averaged 19 points-per-game in his last four games while shooting over 55 percent from behind the three-point line. Davis couldn’t find the same stroke against George Mason, as he missed all of his first 10 shots.

“He’s a great shooter, he works so hard,” Mikesell said. “I told him just keep shooting. With the law of averages, they’re going to go in.”

Mikesell’s statistical analysis proved correct, as Davis hit his only two shots of the game late in the second half; the latter of which put the Flyers up 63-60 with three minutes left in the game.

“[Davis] got some looks tonight that didn’t go in,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “The natural tendency is to get frustrated, but the game doesn’t allow for that.”

A couple factors went against Dayton towards the end of the game. There were some 50-50 calls that went against Dayton late. The Flyers also missed several open shots and failed to convert on two late one-and-ones. Ultimately, the criticism that has been haunting these UD Flyers is rearing its head again: They struggle to finish out games.

“As young team we have lessons to learn,” Grant said. “It’s tough when you have to take losses to learn those lessons. Hopefully guys will become resilient and realize what it will take to win.”

Dayton heads to the Bronx on Saturday afternoon, looking to get back on track against Fordham.

Photo courtesy of Atticus Hughes