By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor
A wounded George Washington University squad was what the doctor ordered Saturday, Feb. 1, at UD Arena for an ailing University of Dayton men’s basketball team.
Senior forward Devin Oliver led UD with 17 points and nine rebounds, and helped snapped the team’s four-game losing streak with a 75-65 win over the Colonials.
“I thought our players came in ready, played to win rather than fear of losing,” said head coach Archie Miller. “You could see that creeping into us a little bit as of late. … We had a lot of guys step up and play extremely hard.”
Oliver set the pace early for the Flyers by hitting a pair of consecutive threes to give his team a seven-point lead just over five minutes into the game. He finished 7-for-10 from the floor, including 3 of 4 behind the arc, and pulled down a team high three offensive rebounds.
After building its lead in the first half, Dayton (14-8, 2-5) came out in the second half with a 14-6 run. Capped by three straight 3-pointers, two from redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert and another by Oliver, Dayton held its largest lead at 52-35 with 15:18 to go.
GW (17-4, 5-2) didn’t go away, cutting the deficit to as little as seven in the final six minutes, but Dayton hit 13 of 14 free throws in the final 4:47 to seal the win.
“It’s what we work on everyday,” said sophomore Khari Price, who made five of the team’s final seven shots at the line.
“For it to finally pay off and get a good win, it feels good.”
GW was down three starting guards including senior Maurice Creek, sophomore Kethan Savage and sophomore Joe McDonald.
Those three made up 48 percent of the Colonials scoring this season coming into the game.
Senior forward Isaiah Armwood and sophomore forward Kevin Larsen had double doubles for GW. Armwood scored 19 points to go with 13 rebounds, while Larsen provided 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“We can’t take all the credit, they weren’t at full strength,” Miller said. “When they’re at full strength, they’re maybe one of the best teams in college basketball.”
Sibert said it didn’t give the team any more confidence heading into the game knowing the Colonials were shorthanded.
Price said everyone on the floor was recruited to play at the highest level, and can all play whether they were a
backup or starter.
“You have to play whoever shows up,” Price said. “We got the win, and that’s all that really matters.”
Dayton led 38-29 at the half behind 10 points from Oliver. UD shot 50 percent in the half from both two and three.
Oliver was one of four Flyers in double figure scoring. Redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford and Sibert had 13 and Price added 11.
Seven different Dayton players recorded at least two assists in the game, having 18 total as a team on 24 made field goals. UD only had seven turnovers, and forced five steals, scoring 13 points off 11 GW turnovers.
A three-game home losing streak in conference play behind them, Dayton goes back on the road to begin a two game trip at Atlantic 10 Conference newcomer George Mason University, Wednesday, Feb. 5, in Fairfax, Va., at 7 p.m.
“We’ve been on the ground here for awhile,” Miller said. “We tried to get up, but we haven’t been getting up. Now we’ve got up and it’s time to stay up. There’s a long season to go.”