Photo Credit – Ron Thaman
Game 1: Dayton Flyers – 69 Richmond Spiders – 54
The Dayton Flyers were the number one seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and it definitely showed against the number 9 seed Richmond Spiders. The Flyers opened up the game on a 20-4 run that eventually turned into a 27-7 run. The Spiders looked extremely tired and it really showed on the scoreboard. Richmond was playing its second game in as many days. The Flyers, who hadn’t played for 6 days, looked very rested. Dayton dominated every aspect of this game and they never trailed.
The Spiders were held to only 31.6% (18-57) from the field, 25% (5-20) from the three point line and 68.4% (13-19) from the free throw line. They had 30 rebounds and only 6 assists to 13 turnovers. They also managed one block and 6 steals. Leading the way for Richmond was junior forward TJ Cline who had 25 points and 6 rebounds in 32 minutes.
The Flyers shot 44.4% (24-54) from the field, 21.4% (3-14) from the three point line and 72% (18-25) from the charity stripe. Dayton had 48 rebounds and 14 assists to 16 turnovers. They also swatted 6 shots and had 7 steals. Not a single Flyer played more than 28 minutes. Junior guard Charles Cooke led the way for the Flyers with 14 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes. Junior guard Kyle Davis had 11 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes. Senior forward Dyshawn Pierre had 10 points and 14 rebounds in 27 minutes.
The Flyers would advance to face the number 4 seed St. Joseph’s Hawks. The Hawks came back from an 18 point deficit to beat the number 5 seed George Washington Colonials later that night.
Photo Credit – Ron Thaman
Game 2: St. Joe’s Hawks – 82 Dayton Flyers – 79
The Hawks from St. Joe’s needed a statement game and a big win because of the fact that they were on the bubble. They did exactly what was needed and upset the number one seed Dayton Flyers. You could tell fatigue was starting to set in as the two teams combined to go 1-10 from the field to start the game. The Flyers were able to take an early 11-4 lead but that would be the largest lead they’d have all game. The two teams traded buckets for most of the first half until St. Joe’s finished the half on a 12-0 run to take a 37-30 lead into halftime. The Hawks were able to push the lead to 12 with 15:22 left in the game. Dayton cut the deficit to 3 with 6:50 to go. The Hawks then extended their lead to 12 with 54 seconds left but the Flyers never gave up. They had a few chances to really cut into the lead but they missed too many open shots. The Flyers had the ball down 5 with 12 seconds left but took too long to do anything. Senior forward Dyshawn Pierre made a layup as the buzzer sounded.
St. Joe’s shot 41.7% (25-60) from the field, 37% (10-27) from the three and 88% (22-25) from the free throw line. The Hawks grabbed 40 rebounds and had 15 assists to 16 turnovers. They also had 3 blocks and 4 steals. Leading the way for the Hawks was senior forward Isaiah Miles who had 26 points and 9 rebounds in 37 minutes. Senior guard Aaron Brown chipped in 16 points in 25 minutes. Graduate forward Papa Ndao had a career high 14 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
Dayton shot 45.5% (30-66) from the field, 28.6% (6-21) from the three point line and 72.2% (13-18) from the free throw line. The Flyers had 36 boards and 16 assists to 14 turnovers. They also had 6 blocks and 9 steals. The Flyers dominated the paint, outscoring the Hawks 48-22. Leading the way for the Flyers was Dyshawn Pierre who had 22 points and 5 assists in 30 minutes. Junior guard Scoochie Smith recorded his first career double double with 14 points and a career high 11 assists in 38 minutes. Junior guard Charles Cooke had 13 points and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes. Junior forward Kendall Pollard chipped in 11 points in 22 minutes. Freshman big man Steve McElvene broke the Flyers single season record for blocks. He had 2 which pushed his total to 56 on the season.
Tournament Winner and NCAA Bids
St. Joe’s beat the VCU Rams in the Atlantic 10 Championship game by a score of 87-74. The Atlantic 10 put three teams into the tournament this season as Dayton received a 7 seed, St. Joe’s received an 8 seed and VCU received a 10 seed. Saint Bonaventure was snubbed from of the tournament with an RPI of 30. All three teams will be in action Friday, March 18th. (7) Dayton takes on (10) Syracuse at 12:15PM on CBS, (8) St. Joe’s plays (9) Cincinnati at 9:57PM on TRUTV and (7) Oregon State plays (10) VCU at 1:30 PM on TNT.