By: Daniel Massa – Sports Editor
BROOKLYN— The Dayton men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire in a 69-54 win over Richmond in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The No. 1 seed Flyers (25-6) had six days off after winning their regular season finale 68-67 in overtime over VCU at UD Arena on Saturday night. No. 9 Richmond, on the other hand, played Thursday afternoon in a second-round game, defeating No. 8 Fordham 70-55.
It had been just 10 days since the Flyers and Spiders last played, when Dayton prevailed 85-84 in Richmond on March 1.
“I think everybody was just real urgent to come in and play, and everybody was really focused,” Dayton junior point guard Scoochie Smith said after the game. “We knew what we had to do just coming off that one-point victory against them the first time.”
The Flyers did whatever they needed—and wanted—to do right from the tipoff, building a 20-4 lead within the first 11 minutes of play.
“We got it going pretty early and got some good looks,” redshirt junior guard Charles Cooke said. “We put in a lot of work throughout these past few practices, just trying to execute our game plan.”
Dayton led 33-20 at halftime and led by at least 15 points throughout the second half.
Cooke led the Flyers with 14 points, doing most of his damage from the free throw line. He finished just three-of-12 from the field but hit six-of-eight attempts from the charity stripe. Senior forward Dyshawn Pierre chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and junior guard Kyle Davis also scored in double figures with 11.
“I was happy with our effort level,” head coach Archie Miller said after the game. “We came in ready.”
Miller said he has seen a much-improved Dayton defense in the two games following the Richmond game 10 days ago, and he was pleased with his team holding the Spiders to 30 fewer points than they put up against them last week.
He said the team focused especially on stopping Richmond in transition and preventing the Spiders from getting easy baskets down low.
“I thought that was the big key, [Richmond] not being able to operate in and around the paint early in the first half,” Miller said.
Dayton was active defensively, forcing 16 Richmond turnovers, six more than the Spiders average on the season.
Kendall Pollard was a game-time decision and played 20 minutes, finishing with four points and two rebounds.
The Flyers will face the winner of No. 4 Saint Joseph’s and No. 5 George Washington Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.