By: Keith Raad – Sports Editor
It was the opposite of the Andrea Doria.
Joe McDonald’s tip in at the buzzer Saturday ripped away Dayton’s starving hopes for a conference road win.
Ahead by one point with 6.6 seconds on the scoreboard in overtime, the Flyers needed to defend a George Washington shot, and it would be all over. On the inbound, it seemed guard Kethan Savage staggered at the top of the key. As seconds dripped away from the Colonials, Savage made his move and drove on junior forward Dyshawn Pierre. Pierre back-peddled, leaped and blocked Savage’s shot.
Sprinting in instantaneously from the corner was Colonial guard McDonald who grabbed the blocked shot, heaved it toward the basket, and watched as his last-second layup struck gold. George Washington won, 65-64.
As George Constanza reported about the famed ship, Andrea Doria, “it eased into the water like an old man into a nice warm bath,” McDonald’s shot did the opposite. It completely unraveled a Dayton comeback quickly and painfully.
“When you lose the way we did tonight, it sort of sticks a stake in your heart,” Flyers Head Coach Archie Miller said.
Miller’s words punctuated the final outcome, especially when the Flyers defended the last play to a T.
“I thought [GW] broke down a little bit, and [Savage] is coming right down the ‘shoot,’” Miller said. “Dyshawn made a great play on the ball.”
From the sidelines, Miller was pleased with the defense on the drive, from Pierre’s perspective in the paint, he cared more about the moments following the block.
“When I blocked the shot I was just hoping that someone would grab the ball,” Pierre said. “I thought maybe the ball was going to go out of bounds or something. I was trying to figure out how much time was on the clock and really hoping that the time would expire.”
Time did expire, and for the fifth time this season, Dayton lost. The Flyers fell to 17-5, 7-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and continued their struggles on the road, falling to 3-4 overall in that category.
Dayton showed fight during crucial times of the game. Sophomore point guard Kyle Davis popped the biggest three-pointer of the night to give Dayton the 64-63 lead before McDonald’s game winning tip-in. Davis hit three big threes, acting as a catalyst for breaking Dayton from its offensive woes. With UD down 48-40 with 6:37 left, Davis hit his first three-pointer. He added one two minutes later, again pulling Dayton within two possessions.
“He really stepped up for us tonight,” Pierre said. “We all know he’s a driver and a shooter, but he shot the ball really well for us tonight.”
Miller mimicked Pierre’s insight.
“Kyle was good,” Miller said. “…we were bound to have some guys step up and make some open [shots]…Kyle, to his credit, got some open shots and drilled it.”
Davis was the shining light amid a slow Flyers offense. Dayton assisted on seven of its 20 baskets, the lowest number of assists in a game this season.
Redshirt senior guard Jordan Sibert lead the team with 17 points, but missed all four of his three-point attempts. Sophomore forward Kendall Pollard, who fouled out with 3:05 left in the game with the score in favor of GW 54-50, scored 14 points and nabbed six rebounds. The Flyers shot just 29 percent from long-range, tying the lowest number of hit threes from that distance, five, since the team’s first road loss at Arkansas.
Miller made the message quite clear that despite the outcome at Charles E. Smith Center, Dayton would have to prepare for the next day, and their next eight conference games. The Saint Louis University Bilikens are next in line for the small ball seven.
“For us, we’ve got to move on,” Miller said. “We’re on to Saint Louis. Whether we won this game, lost this game, lost by 20, it doesn’t really matter, the next day, the next approach, is what’s on my mind right now. We competed. We played very, very hard in a tough environment. We battled foul trouble for the first time all season and I thought guys really stepped up and played.”
Dayton goes to SLU for a 9:30 p.m. EST tip-off on CBS Sports Network Tuesday.