The Flyers leaned on great individual performances and even better team defense to take down the 11-3 Bonnies from St. Bonaventure Wednesday evening.
With the Flyers’ struggling to start the season, sitting at only 6-7 going into this game, and the Bonnies soaring, you would’ve been hard pressed to find someone who thought the Flyers were going to come out victorious. Dayton wasn’t too concerned with the numbers though, as they shocked the Bonnies, winning 82-72.
Sophomore guard Trey Landers came out with the fire and passion that this team needed to bounce back from a tough loss at Duquesne on Saturday. Not only did he score a career high 17 points on 75 percent shooting from the field and racking up four blocks, but he set the tone for the Flyers on both ends of the court.
“Some of the things you can look at on the score sheet, but the majority of what (Landers) did tonight won’t show up on the stat sheet,” said Flyers coach Anthony Grant. “His hustle plays, his voice, his leadership. Those things were contagious tonight and our guys fed off of it”.
Landers made play after play, including drawing two charges, on the Bonnies early in the game which helped the Flyers pull out to a 21-8 lead in the first half.
“Being a leader and having a voice that’s just me,” Landers said. “But the scoring, I give that to my teammates getting me the ball.”
The Flyers defense continued to suffocate the Bonnies in the first half.
Stopping St. Bonaventure means stopping their two stars, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, and that’s exactly what the Flyers managed to do. Adams and Mobley were held to a combined eight points in the first half. “They’re obviously really good scorers, but we made them work for what they got,” Grant commented.
Dayton’s strong play continued out of half time on the defensive end, as they forced the Bonnies to take a lot of tough shots with the shot clock winding down. The Bonnies finished the game having shot only 39 percent from the field. The Flyers had no such troubles on offense making almost 56 percent of their attempts. And Landers’ showcase was matched by senior guard Darrell Davis’ offensive charge who dropped a career-high 28 points.
Still, St. Bonaventure wasn’t going down without a fight. They brought the lead down to seven points on the back of Mobley’s 24-point second half. The Flyers were able to weather the Bonnies run as two dunks from junior forward Josh Cunningham as well as six crucial free throws from Davis helped to seal the deal for the Flyers.
“We just fight hard as a team, we fought through the ups and downs,” Davis said. “We made it out with the outcome of a win.”
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Coach Grant’s 200th NCAA win will hopefully signal a change in fortune for the now 7-7 Flyers. The Flyers are back in action on Jan. 6 at UD Arena against the University of Massachusetts.
Photo Courtesy of Griffin Quinn/Staff Photographer