By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor
Another close matchup gave the University of Dayton men’s basketball team a late scare, but more clutch shooting from redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert helped save the day again.
Senior forward Devin Oliver and sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre added double-double performances, and Dayton pulled away over the final four minutes for a 70-56 win over Saint Francis University from Pennsylvania Wednesday, Nov. 13, at UD Arena.
“We’re still finding our way as a team,” Oliver said. “You can’t be mad at a win. … It was just good to see us finish the game.”
UD and St. Francis were tied at 54 with 4:06 remaining after neither team led by more than five over the previous 10 minute stretch.
Dayton (2-0) had only three assists as a team through the first 36 minutes, but its fourth of the night off on a pass from Pierre into the right corner for an open 3-pointer by Sibert gave Dayton a three-point lead, which sparked a 16-2 run to close the game.
Sibert had the first seven points of Dayton’s run. Pierre, Price and Oliver added the next five to give UD its first double-digit lead of the game with 1:16 left. Dayton converted 17-of-21 free throws in the second half, nine of which came during the final four minutes of the game to help seal the win.
The three assists worry head coach Archie Miller though, as he said he sees his team not moving the way he wants offensively.
“Right now, we have some guys catching [the ball] and making sure there’s air in it and they can dribble it and it can come back up into their hands, and then they just double check and dribble it again,” Miller said. “They just keep dribbling. Everyone just stands and watches.”
He said the different line-ups the team is putting on the floor have played a part as well.
Oliver led UD in scoring and rebounding with 16 and 12, and Pierre followed up with 14 points and 10 rebounds of his own.
Sophomore guard Khari Price and Sibert both had their second consecutive double figure scoring games with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Sibert’s 12 tied his career high, which he set while playing for the Ohio State University.
Price hit at a shot at the buzzer to end the first half, giving Dayton a 33-28 advantage.
St. Francis junior forward Earl Brown also had a double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams ended the night with four players scoring in double figures.
UD never trailed in the final 17 minutes, but could not extend its lead to larger than five points during the 12 minute stretch leading into Dayton’s game-ending run. Miller said the team’s inability to get itself comfortable during the course of the game is an ongoing issue.
“I think we all know right now it doesn’t really matter who we play, we’re going to be in for a game here early on,” Miller said.