A dazzling first half performance by Dayton’s men’s basketball team built up enough of a cushion to hold off a second half comeback against Presbyterian Sunday afternoon. The Flyers move to 7-5 on the season after beating Presbyterian 81-69.
“I was pleased with what we did in the first half,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “This team is difficult to guard in the way they run offense, and I thought our guys did a good job of being able to take our mental preparation and take it to the court.”
The Flyer defense dominated Presbyterian in the first half holding them to only 6 for 32 from the field. Dayton closed out the half on a 15-1 run, and went to the locker room leading 45-17.
Dayton’s first half offensive efforts were lead by sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half.
“Whatever the defense gave me, I tried to take advantage of it to help my team win,” said Crutcher.
Sophomore guard Jordan Davis (18 points) and junior guard Trey Landers (15 points and 14 rebounds) also had strong individual performances on the day.
The Flyer’s appeared to get a bit too comfortable after their first half dominance as Presbyterian came out trying to retain some of their dignity.
“In the second half I thought they made some adjustments to what they did offensively,” Grant said. “They got some open looks and they were able to knock them down.”
Presbyterian hit 10 three-point shots in the second half, and outscored the Flyers 52-36.
“When you have a big lead you feel like you can chill a little bit,” Landers said. “I think that’s what we had, and obviously you can’t do that against good teams.”
When asked whether fatigue had a role to play in the slow second half, coach Grant was very concise in his answer.
However you have to wonder whether his assessment is entirely accurate. Three players eclipsed 36 minutes on the night (Landers, Crutcher, and Davis) and only seven players saw the floor, even when Dayton’s lead reached 30 points. Depth could prove to be an issue going forward for Dayton.
Nonetheless, Dayton has now won two games in a row, and will look to make it three next Saturday against Georgia Southern at UD Arena.