Flyers steady themselves for stretch run

Despite the 86-83 overtime loss at Xavier, the Flyers seem to have recovered from the funk they went into after taking the early lead in the Atlantic 10 Conference race.

“We’re competing really hard,” coach Archie Miller said. “From Saint Louis to Fordham to Charlotte and to Xavier now, our guys are really competing, playing very hard and much improved on defense in a lot of areas.

“I believe our guys still believe they’re connected right now, and we’re trying to give ourselves a chance to win every game.”

The Flyers, who got off to a 4-1 start in conference play before losing four in a row, including two at home to Rhode Island and Duquesne, are 16-10 overall and 6-6 in the conference going into their game at Duquesne.

They are tied with the Dukes for eighth place in the standings, which is key because that would mean a game at home for the first round of the conference tournament.

But the conference is so jumbled when you get past the first two teams (Temple and Saint Louis), the Flyers could even move up to as high as fourth place and get a first-round bye.

That would take some doing but does remain mathematically possible.

NOTES, QUOTES

Dillard can’t match Xavier’s Holloway

–Dayton’s Kevin Dillard and Xavier’s Tu Holloway were in a battle of point guards in Cincinnati.

Dillard led the Flyers with 20 points in going 5-of-15 from the field (1-of-6 on three-point attempts, and Holloway paced Xavier with 32 points on 8-of-17 shooting (2-of-3 on treys).

Dillard had six assists, two turnovers, two blocked shots and one steal. Holloway had five assists, four turnovers, no blocks and two steals.

–Senior F Chris Johnson was 7-of-12 from the field and hit two three-pointers on his way to 18 points against Xavier. That gave him 62 points over three games — he had 44 in wins over Fordham and Charlotte in the Dayton’s previous two outings.

–The loss at Xavier was the 27th consecutive defeat for the Flyers on the Musketeers’ home court. The Flyers haven’t beaten Xavier in Cincinnati since Jan. 10, 1981.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2-2 — Dayton has played four overtime games and gained a even split after the loss to Xavier. The Flyers also lost to Miami (Ohio) in OT back in November but posted wins in OT against Saint Louis and Fordham.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The last two weeks everything matters. Every game is going to change you from maybe three slots up to three slots down. The only thing we can control is our effort rolling into Pittsburgh to play a very good Duquesne team who obviously got us in the first one. That’s all we’re worried about.” — Coach Archie Miller, looking at the A-10 race and the game against Duquesne.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK’S GAMES

–at Duquesne, Feb. 22

KEY MATCHUPS: G/F B.J. Monteiro scored 20 points and the Dukes got 15 points from G Mike Talley and 10 from G/F Jerry Jones in upsetting the Flyers in Dayton 83-73 on Feb. 1. G T.J. McConnell had seven assists for the Dukes.

–vs. Massachusetts, Feb. 25

KEY MATCHUPS: G Chaz Williams has made the Minutemen a contender for one of the top spots in the league and ranks among the leaders in both scoring and assists in conference play.

FUTURES MARKET: Dayton has two scholarships available for the spring signing period. Among the prospects is Isaiah Cousins, a guard from Mount Vernon High School in the New York City area. The Dayton Daily News reports that Virginia Tech is among the Flyers’ competitors for Cousins’ services. Also on the UD recruiting radar, according to the newspaper, is G Jerron Wilbut from Downers Grove High in suburban Chicago. He also is the target of Oregon, Clemson, Nebraska, Florida State and DePaul, according to the newspaper.

PLAYER NOTES:

–Junior F Matt Kavanaugh had 11 points and 11 rebounds against Xavier for his second double-double of the season and first in A-10 play.

–Senior G Paul Williams must get fired up to play Xavier. He has 18 points against the Musketeers, which was his first time in double figures since he scored 13 in the first meeting with the Musketeers on Jan. 21.