Men’s Basketball: Dayton cruises past Central Michigan to start home stretch

By: Steven Wright – Sports Editor

Coming off a loss on the road and finishing final exams, a loose University of Dayton men’s basketball team came out with its best game of the season at home to set the tone in an easy win.

Five Flyers scored in double figures and Dayton handled Central Michigan University 84-58 Saturday, Dec. 14, in front of 12,153 fans at UD Arena.

“We’ve had a big, long week,” head coach Archie Miller said. “Finals weeks is always a hard, difficult game. We worked very, very hard in practice to try and reestablish some things.”

Senior forward Devin Oliver and sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre led UD with 15 points each.

Sophomore forward Jalen Robinson in his first start of the season scored 12 points, while redshirt senior guard Vee Sanford and redshirt junior guard Jordan Sibert added 10 each.

Sophomore guard Khari Price was tasked with stopping CMU sophomore guard Chris Fowler, who averaged just under 17 points per game coming into the night.

While scoring above his average with 20 points on 7-of-11 from the floor, Miller said he thought it was one of his
team’s better defensive efforts this season, despite what they may think of him or his constant ranting on its play.

“I told the guys after the game they must think I’m a lunatic because we’re winning and I’m going nuts about defense,”
Miller said. “Big picture, for us to reach the goals we want to achieve, we have to get better on defense.”

Dayton owned a 42-27 advantage on the boards against the undersized CMU squad. CMU averaged 25 3-point attempts per game coming into the contest, but only went 3 for 22 on the night from long range.

Dayton arguably played its best half of the season at home in the first half, building a 38-24 lead at the break.

Price made three shots from distance in the first half for all nine of his points on the night. UD shot 10-of-16 from inside the arc, with all but one bucket coming inside the paint.

Junior forward Alex Gavrilovic saw action for the first time in almost a month after recovering from injuries. He played eight minutes, scoring his first four points of the season and had a big block with the shot clock winding down near the end of the first half.

Dayton shot 51 percent from the floor and 74 percent at the free throw line in the game.

Oliver said the team was feeling loose with the pressure of school over for the time being, with just basketball to focus on now. He said it probably was his team’s best game of the season at home in terms of playing from start to finish.

“I think we finished the game the right way for the most part, continuing to build on the lead as the game went on for
the most part,” Oliver said.

The game was the first of a five-game home stand for Dayton, which will continue with two teams familiar with UD Arena in Iona College Thursday, Dec. 19, and the University of Southern California Sunday, Dec. 22. Both have played in Dayton during the NCAA Tournament in the past three seasons.

“We’re going to take this win and put it in our pocket,” Miller said. “We have to keep moving forward because this is a huge week coming up.”