Postgame: Flyers Hold Off VCU to Clinch A10 Regular Season Championship

Photo Credit – Erik Schelkun

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Dayton Flyers: 79  VCU Rams: 72

The VCU Rams traveled to Dayton, Ohio to take on the Dayton Flyers in what was the biggest matchup of the Atlantic 10 season. A lot was on the line in this game. For VCU, a tie at the top of the A10 standings and a possibility to share a second straight A10 title with the Flyers. Dayton had the chance to clinch their first ever outright regular season championship and have back to back regular season titles. The sold out Dayton Decibel Dungeon was rocking for the whole game as expected. Red Scare had their section filled up immediately after the doors opened. Some students were waiting in line all day. This game would be a heavyweight battle. Everyone knew it.

Dayton was honoring their 5 seniors for senior night.(In order from left to right) Charles Cooke, Jeremiah Bonsu, Kendall Pollard, Kyle Davis and Scoochie Smith are all graduating. This class has been a part of a lot of great years and are the winningest class in Dayton Flyer history.

VCU got off to a very cold start in this game as they missed their first 7 shots. On the other hand, the Flyers started out pretty hot, hitting 7 of their first 11 shots. Dayton would hold the lead early in this game, but VCU was always within a few possessions of the Flyers. At the 10:28 mark in the first half senior guard Doug Brooks hit a 3 to pull VCU within 3, 18-15. The Flyers rushed back in transition and were able to get an easy layup from Charles Cooke that sparked a 10-2 run over the next 4 minutes that gave the Flyers a 28-17 lead with just over 6 minutes to play in the half. This matched their largest lead of the half. During this run, VCU head coach Will Wade picked up a technical foul that seemed to motivate the Rams a little bit but Dayton was able to keep the lead between 7-9 for the rest of the half. The Flyers took a 45-38 lead into the locker room. The good part of the half for the Flyers was that they were shooting 60% (15-25) from the field in the half. The bad part was that they were in a ton of foul trouble down low. Sophomore forwards Josh Cunningham and Xeyrius Williams along with Kendall Pollard all had 2 fouls at the half. The Rams shot 48.3% (14-29) for the half. Early in the second half, VCU was able to cut the Dayton lead to 4, 47-43. Dayton quickly went on a 7-0 run to put themselves back up 11, 54-43. With 12:08 to go, junior guard Darrell Davis hit a three from the corner to give the Flyers their biggest lead of the game, 65-51. VCU answered with a 8-0 over the next 3+ minutes to cut the deficit to 6, 65-59. VCU played an extended zone that befuddled Dayton during this run. The Flyers didn’t seem like they knew what to do. There were multiple sloppy and empty possessions and the Flyers looked like they were playing not to lose rather than to win. The Rams hung around and kept battling. VCU senior guard JeQuan Lewis hit a fastbreak layup with 4:21 to go to get the Rams within one possession, 71-68. In the next possession, the Flyers continued to look confused and ran the shot clock down to 4 seconds. VCU batted the ball out of bounds which forced the under 4 timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Dayton lobbed the ball to Josh Cunningham who bobbled it and turned around and threw up a prayer that was answered. This might have been the biggest shot of the game. Dayton took a 73-68 lead. Lewis answered again for VCU as he hit a jumper and was fouled. He hit the free throw to make the score 73-71 Flyers with 3:09 to go. A few possessions later, Kendall Pollard was fouled and split the two free throws to push the Flyer lead to 74-71 with 2:02 left. With 1:17 left, Lewis was fouled and split a pair of free throws to get VCU within 2, 74-72. With 19 seconds left, Lewis took a three that would have given the Rams a one point lead that clanked off the iron. Kyle Davis got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made two free throws to put the Flyers up 4, 76-72. Lewis missed two more threes for the Rams and the Flyers closed out the game with free throws. VCU never had the lead. The Dayton Flyers win the A10 championship!

President Spina getting into the action!

By the Numbers:

  • 18 – VCU scored 18 second chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds.
  • 40 – Dayton is now 23-1 on the season when shooting 40% or better.
  • 46 – Number of fouls called during the game
  • 66 – The amount of points VCU scored in the paint and at the line. They made two jumpshots outside of the lane all game.
  • 13,455 – Fans in attendance, setting the program record for single season average attendance with an average of 13,018.

VCU shot 42.9% (27-63) from the field, 13.3% (2-15) from the three point line and 66.7% (16-24) from the free throw line. They had 35 rebounds, 15 assists, 11 turnovers, 5 blocks and 6 steals. Leading the way for the Rams was senior forward Mo Alie-Cox who had 23 points and 4 rebounds in 35 minutes. Junior forward Justin Tillman had 18 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes. JeQuan Lewis added 15 points (4-13) and 5 assists in 34 minutes.

Dayton shot 54.2% (26-48) from the field, 40% (6-15) from the three point line and 75% (21-28) from the charity stripe. UD had 33 rebounds, 15 assists, 15 turnovers, 2 blocks and 4 steals. The Flyers were led by Charles Cooke who had 20 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in 37 minutes. Scoochie Smith had 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 37 minutes. Kyle Davis added 12 points and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes. Kendall Pollard had 11 points and 5 rebounds in only 17 minutes because of foul trouble. Josh Cunningham came off the bench and had 10 points and 4 rebounds in 27 minutes.

The Rams (23-7) (13-4 A10) head back home to play George Mason Saturday, March 4th at 2PM.

The Flyers (24-5) (15-2 A10) close out the regular season at George Washington on Saturday, March 4th at 8PM.

A10 Standings as of 3/1

Go Flyers!

Alex Handorf ’17

Alex Handorf
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Currently attending the University of Dayton. I was born as a Flyer and have been going to games since then. I am currently majoring in Sport Management and minoring in business administration and expect to graduate in 2017. I am the head student equipment manager in the Frericks Center equipment room. Follow me on Twitter @Alex_Handorf13. Go Flyers!

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