Dayton put on an offensive show last night as they beat Davidson 82-67 in front of a raucous crowd at UD Arena. Dayton improved their win streak to 18 games and 27-2 overall (16-0 in conference play). Davidson dropped to 15-13 overall (9-7 in conference play). I’m going to go through the takeaways from this game but also how the results affect the rest of the league. Let’s get to it.
The Dayton Flyers are outright Atlantic 10 Champions
Congrats to the Flyers, who have won their third A10 title in five years, an outstanding feat for any team in the country in any conference. Obviously with the win, Dayton clinches the #1 seed in the conference tournament in Brooklyn. However, that is not always a good omen. Dayton will look to be the first #1 seed to win the A10 tournament since Saint Louis did it in 2013. That’s a lot of losing for #1 seeds in the A10 tournament, but if there is any team that can beat the streak, it’s these Flyers.
This was Dayton’s best offensive game this season
Dayton was getting everything it wanted on offense at the right time in the season. Dayton shot 36.8% (7-19) from three, which is just about their average of 36.4% on the season. That will get it done most nights; anything better and the game was probably more of an onslaught. However, the two-point shooting was where Dayton made its money. The Flyers shot 27-28 from two on the ENTIRE NIGHT, a 96.4% shooting mark (Their average is 63.1%, still #1 in the country). This stat is too good to be true, but indeed it is true. This is all Dayton needs to beat teams, especially in the NCAA tournament. It doesn’t matter if they play a team that rebounds at a high rate, there is nothing to rebound if Dayton is shooting almost perfectly from two in the game. This was great to see for the Flyers going into March.
Davidson also had a good offensive game
It obviously wasn’t as good as Dayton, but Davidson had a sneaky good offensive game. The Wildcats shot better than the Flyers from three, shooting 9-21 (42.9%). Even with the lack of size to match Dayton down low, they still shot 16-32 (50%) from two. That would win you a game on most nights. However, the defense was still an issue. Defense seems to always be an issue in games for Davidson. Lately, they have been using good shooting to blow out their opponents, so the defense has not mattered. They came into the game against Dayton winning 4 of their last 5, having offensive explosions against Fordham, Bona, Rhode Island, and La Salle. Tonight, the defense would hurt Davidson again, which shows how inconsistent they are and how different this team is at home versus on the road. Which Davidson team will show up in Brooklyn?
Chatman and Watson are officially back
At the beginning of the season, Dayton had multiple guys that could score on any given night, which was why they were so tough to stop on offense. We really haven’t seen that as much the past few weeks with the only big offensive threats being Toppin, Crutcher, and Landers. Tonight, they got those three plus Chatman and Watson to add to the shooting pot luck. Rodney Chatman was surprisingly the second leading scorer on the night, finishing with 14 points on 5-6 shooting from the field, including 2-3 from three. Ibi Watson was the third leading scoring off the bench with 13 points, 6-10 from the field. However, he was cold from three at 0-4. As for the big three, Landers had 11 points, and Crutcher finished with 10 points. The big night obviously was Obi Toppin, who put up a huge double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Obi shot 10-11 from the field with the only miss being a three, where he shot 3-4 on the night. Obi was his usual dangerous self last night, and that’s what great teams need, their best player playing their best at the right time of the season.
Gudmundsson and Grady can’t do it all.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Kellan Grady were on their game tonight, which is absolutely what Davidson needs every single game to have a chance to win. JAG finished with 20 points and Grady with 22. The duo combined to shoot 5-9 from three. Other than that, Davidson had barely anything. Hyunjung Lee did have 13 points off the bench, which shows that he can be the third offensive threat for the Wildcats. Davidson is good enough to win the majority of their games in the A10, but it faces a huge mismatch against this Dayton team. They hope to not see them in Brooklyn if they want to make a run toward Sunday.
College Gameday is coming to Dayton
For the first time ever, Dayton will host College Gameday next Saturday morning. The game that day is against George Washington, which is a little weird, but the Dayton fans will gladly take it. This will be the second time any A10 team will be on College Gameday, with La Salle “hosting” it back in 2013 at the Palestra against Temple. However, UD Arena cannot host Gameday because of the A10 women’s basketball tournament being at UD Arena that day. There is no confirmed word yet on where it will be on campus, but it should be interesting to see what Dayton comes up with.
Davidson is out of the top 4 race
Davidson was tied with Duquesne and Saint Louis at 9-6 in the standings, all one game back from St. Bonaventure at 10-5. With the loss to Dayton, Davidson is out of the top 4 running. The Wildcats will not finish lower than 9th in the standings. Davidson would like to stay out of the 8-9 game since the winner of that game plays Dayton on Friday in Brooklyn. As long as they win their last two games of the season, they will be no lower than 7th.
Davidson will travel to Richmond on Tuesday night for a matchup against the Spiders. This is a huge game for Richmond to maintain their three-seed slot in Brooklyn. Dayton will take their 16-0 record up to Kingston for arguably their most difficult game of the conference season against Rhode Island. This game is on Tuesday night late on CBS Sports Network. It seems to be a consensus that if Dayton wins this game and goes to 17-0, their final game of the season at home against George Washington will surely be a win to get to 18-0. Should be a good one.