By: Chris Bendel – Sports Writer
A win against St. Joseph’s University on Friday, Mar. 14, would have essentially guaranteed Dayton a ticket for the 2014 NCAA tournament. However, in a heartbreaking70-67 loss, the Flyers encountered a major problem. It came in the form of 31 points from the Hawks’ senior guard Langston Galloway at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in the quarterfinals of the A-10 tournament.
Galloway finished the afternoon 6-11 from beyond the arc, a perfect 7-7 while the rest of his team shot a pedestrian 44 percent – from the free-throw stripe and shot 56 percent overall from the floor.
When the clock ran out on Dayton’s 2014 A-10 tournament championship hopes, the Galloway problem which plagued UD for 40 minutes led to exponentially bigger ones.
The Flyers simply could not stop St. Joe’s’ first team all-conference performer and when Devin Oliver’s 3-point attempt with four seconds remaining on the clock fluttered on the rim and fell into the opposing team’s hands, one could almost hear murmurs from one of Barclays Center and Brooklyn’s most famous tenants.
The Flyers now face what Jay-Z might consider 99 problems, none more pressing than the decision before the NCAA tournament committee’s ruling on the team’s fate on Sunday, Mar. 16.
The lead changed 16 times throughout the afternoon as the two evenly-matched teams traded buckets in the second half with St. Joseph’s taking a game-high, six-point lead into the hectic four minute stretch to end the game.
Following a timeout and trailing by six with 3:30 remaining, on a three pointer from redshirt junior Jordan Sibert, an easy lay-in by senior forward Matt Kavanaugh and a 15-foot corner jumper from the UD big man as well, Dayton went on a 7-0 run and led by one before a timeout by St. Joe’s with 34 seconds left in the game.
With the shot-clock turned off, freshman guard Kyle Davis shadowed Galloway as the star senior held the ball around mid-court calmly waiting for what everyone in the building understood as his moment to shine. Win or lose, the Hawks’ fate rested on his shoulders and smooth release of Galloway’s jumper.
With 20 seconds left, Galloway drove to his right and stopped on a dime, before creating distance between himself and Davis using an arm-bar on his left side. The contact left his defender sliding backwards to the floor. Davis picked himself up quickly and lunged as Galloway shifted his weight from his front to his back foot, squared up and knocked down what would prove to be the game winning 3-pointer.
Sophomore guard Dyshawn Pierre felt a no-call in spite of some extra-contact on the game-winning shot was a questionable decision by the officials.
“[The play] could have gone both ways. We thought it was a push-off, but at the end of the day that was a really good team and a good shot,” Pierre said.
Miller affirmed Pierre’s sentiments, but stopped short of calling Galloway’s move a “push-off.”
“It can go either way,” Miller said. “It was a well officiated game. If you ask me what I see, I felt like he got some space.”
Poor free-throw shooting plagued the Flyers throughout the afternoon, as the team finished just 6-14 from the line for a 43.9 percent mark, the team’s lowest percentage for the season.
Miller said thanks to the free-throw shooting performance, UD left points on the table which proved costly in the critical moments of the game.
Sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre was one of three Flyers in double figures and led the team with 11 points.