Miller decries Dayton’s defensive drop-off

Dayton coach Archie Miller was upset with his team’s play on defense in its loss at home to Rhode Island on Jan. 28, but he couldn’t single out any particular statistic as a measure.

And for a very simple reason.

“It’s hard to equate when they’re all bad,” Miller said.

The visiting Rams made more than half their attempts from the field overall and nearly half of their 3-point tries in their 86-81 victory. The Flyers came up with just one steal and forced the Rams into just 12 turnovers while making 16 themselves.

“As we started Atlantic 10 play, our defensive intensity, our lack of interior paint protectors, however you want to look at it, and just guarding the basketball has really dropped off,” Miller said, “and has been dropping off almost game by game.

“I would said that the last three halves of basketball that we have played, minus the first half at St. Joe’s, we’ve totally lost the edge of what we had going for us in some of our big wins.

“It’s alarming. The shooting percentage from twos and threes, the lack of turnovers being forced, all of those numbers right now are alarming.”

The Rhode Island loss was the second in a row for the Flyers, who had dropped them behind conference leaders Massachusetts, La Salle, and St. Bonaventure — all with 5-2 conference marks through Jan. 29.

The Flyers were 4-3 in the league, 14-7 overall as they got ready to host Duquesne before heading on the road for games at Saint Louis and Fordham.

NOTES, QUOTES

Flyers get pair of double-doubles in URI game

–Senior F Chris Johnson and junior G Kevin Dillard both posted double-doubles in Dayton’s loss to Rhode Island on Jan. 28.

Johnson scored 20 points, giving him 37 over the past two games, and had 12 rebounds, a season high.

Dillard’s double-double consisted of 12 points and a career-high 13 assists.

Dillard has been on quite a run recently. In an eight-game stretch that ended with the 13 assists against Rhode Island, Dillard had games of 10 against Saint Louis and nine against Xavier.

He averaged 8.3 assists and 11.9 points a game over that stretch.

–Coach Archie Miller tempered his overall criticism of his team’s play somewhat, noting that the effort from his players is there even if the results are not.

And some players are doing the job he wants.

“I could point to Chris Johnson right now and say he is probably playing as hard as any player that I’ve been around in a long time,” Miller said. “He’s really getting after it.

“I think Matt Kavanaugh plays really hard and well.

“What we need to do is get a couple of guys getting back in that mode of thinking effort plays, hustle plays, and doing some little things, and I think they’ll start playing a little bit better.”

–Senior G Paul Williams was only 1-for-6 from the field for just three points in Dayton’s loss to Rhode Island, that after going scoreless in the loss at Saint Joseph’s in the game before.

Though he had 13 points against in the win over Xavier on Jan. 21, that has been his only outing in double figures over a six-game span through Jan. 29.

He had at least 10 points in eight of Dayton’s first 15 games this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 52.6 percent — Rhode Island, which was shooting only 40.0 percent from the field coming into the game, shocked Dayton by going 30-for-57 from the floor (52.6 percent) in pulling off the stunning upset.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “When we take the floor against Duquesne, it’s going to have to be a really, really charged-up team, a team that really has a bounce to it. … In particular against Rhode Island, we had only bounce at all on the defensive side of the ball.” — Coach Archie Miller.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK’S GAMES

–vs. Duquesne, Feb. 1

KEY MATCHUPS: The Dukes have a solid all-around guard, T.J. McConnell, who can score and handle the ball as well as create turnovers. Veteran B.J. Monteiro has struggled since injuring his hand, but he could be dangerous if he is healthy.

–at Saint Louis, Feb. 4

KEY MATCHUPS: F Brian Conklin is a good inside scorer, and Kwamain Mitchell and Kyle Cassity are 3-point threats. G Jordair Jett came off the bench to go 6-for-8 from the field in the Billikens’ recent 13-point loss at Massachusetts.

FUTURES MARKET: The loss to Rhode Island hurt, obviously, since the Rams came into the game on a six-game skid in conference play. Compounding the impact was the fact it was a home game for the Flyers, who now face the prospect of going on the road five times in February. After hosting Duquesne, the Flyers are away from home for four of their next five games, including a trip to Saint Louis and a rematch against Xavier.

PLAYER NOTES

–Senior F Luke Fabrizius scored a season-high 17 points against Rhode Island, going 5-for-9 on 3-pointers. He also had six rebounds, also a season high.

–Junior G Kevin Dillard had six of Dayton’s 16 turnovers in the loss to Rhode Island.

–Junior C Matt Kavanaugh was back in double figures with 12 points against the Rams on Jan. 28 after managing just six in the loss to Saint Joseph’s in the previous outing. He had been in double figures five times over a six-game span.