Well, that escalated quickly. In a game where many thought that they would finally let one slip, the Dayton Flyers cruised to a hammering victory over the Rhode Island Rams on Wednesday night, 84-57. This one was never in doubt at Dayton took it to Rhode Island from start to finish, never letting up off the gas pedal. This was Dayton’s 19th win in a row, the longest in the nation. Their record moves to 28-2 and 17-0 in the A10. Rhode Island drops their second straight game, moving to 20-9 and 12-5 in the A10. Let’s talk about it.
We can stop doubting the Flyers now
Many have thought for weeks that this game at Rhode Island was going to be the one game that the Flyers would lose. Well, Dayton did the exact opposite of that. The Flyers completely destroyed the Rams on their own floor and put any doubt to the Flyers losing anytime soon, especially in A10 play. We talk all the time about the teams that can beat Dayton or the matchups in the NCAA Tournament that they could see that would be a disadvantage to them. That’s all fine and dandy, but we can stop the speculation on who they are going to lose to until we actually see this team lose in the year 2020. It’s been so long since the Colorado game that it doesn’t even matter anymore. Dayton has no plans on losing anytime soon. Take notice.
Rhode Island’s at-large chances are all but gone
Rhody needed this game BADLY to get back on the right side of the bubble. They completely lost control in the first half and never came close to catching back up to Dayton. For their chances to get an at-large, the only path that I see for the Rams is to get all the way to the A10 tournament final, and one of those wins to get there has to be against Dayton (so basically as a #4 seed in the semi-final). If they never see Dayton at all because the Flyers lose somehow, they have to win the A10 championship and get the auto-bid. After that performance last night, they should probably just try and get the auto-bid.
Trey Landers is a First-Team, All-Conference Player
Trey Landers just keep getting better and better every game. The senior forward had 14 points and 14 rebounds last night. He is the most effective player on the floor and does anything and everything. To me, he is the mom of the team. He cleans up after everyone, yells at his kids out of love, and stands up for his kids or even fights for them so they don’t have to. He’s the ultimate mom player that keeps the team together, hence why moms are always the “glue guy” of the family. If last night’s performance did not put a cherry on top of his candidacy as a first-team, all-conference player, then they need to create a mom award. This dude deserves something.
Thank you, Jeff Dowtin and Cyril Langevine
Although it was a senior night that did not result in a win, this conference is thankful to watch Dowtin and Langevine the past 4 years. These dudes are part of the class of the league that plays the game the right way and work hard to make themselves but, more importantly, their teammates better. I could tell last night that this game meant so much to them. Langevine finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds while Dowtin was impressive with 16 points including shooting 5-7 from three. They were classy on their exit out of the game on their night, and I hope Rhode Island fans are appreciative of those two guys, who helped turn this program into one of the premier programs in the A10.
Dayton plays up and down to their opponents’ level still
As a Dayton fan, I have experienced and lived this thought for years. Through terrible losses during my years in school to teams like Weber State and Buffalo at home, to seeing them beat ranked Alabama and Gonzaga teams, the program always has had a niche for playing up or down to the opponent’s level of play. I think that has happened many times this season, as evidenced by the George Mason, UMass, Saint Louis, and even Duquesne. It can even be said during the games against Kansas and Colorado as well. I still believe this, but also believe that the Flyers have such an abundance of talent that they can beat anyone through any style of play. They are like the ultimate flex team of beating their opponents by playing their opponent’s style of play better than their opponents. Yes, there are examples to debunk parts of this theory, especially last night when they went on huge runs to open the game up, but this theory is a good thing at this time of the year. They seem to play better when the level of competition rises. All I’m saying is, when the competition gets tougher in March Madness, watch out for the Dayton Flyers.
Dayton goes home for their last game of the year against George Washington. The game is at 7:00 EST on ESPN+. The Flyers are hoping to finish off an 18-0 regular season, only the third undefeated season in A10 history. They will also be honoring seniors Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers as well as most likely cutting down the nets for winning the conference/going 18-0. Don’t forget that College Gameday is going to be broadcasted at 11:00 AM EST on ESPN from the University of Dayton campus!
Rhode Island will travel to Amherst to face Massachusetts on Saturday. The game is at 7:00 EST on ESPN+. They are out of the #2 seed race with the loss to Dayton and the Richmond win on Tuesday.
A win against the Minutemen would lock up the #3 seed in the A10 tournament.
A loss along with a Bona win gives them the #3 seed.
A loss along with a SLU win gives them the #4 seed.
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