City Sports Report

Dayton prevails in tough win over Rhode Island

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The effort was valiant, but in an absolutely must-win situation for the University of Rhode Island, the Rams faltered late losing 56-52 to the Dayton Flyers.

It was a tough night of shooting for both teams. Dayton shot just 42% from the field; Rhode Island, 39.5%. E.C. Matthews led all scorers with 16 points, but turnovers did the Rams in, coughing up the ball 21 times in the game, including a critical pair in the last minute of play.

Jordan Sibert led the Flyers with 12 points including a huge reverse with 1:09 to put them up by six.

Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley, clearly upset by certain aspects of the officiating down the stretch, limited his opinions to simply repeating, “It was a tough loss,” a number of times.

“Obviously for us, knowing with their limited roster, scholarship players, playing seven guys, our game plan was obviously to try to attack the paint  as much as possible,” Coach Hurley said.

He may have wanted to question what it was the refs in fact saw; why they chose to swallow the whistle in the last minute of play almost completely; why 55 contested touches in the paint resulted in shooting 39.5% shooting from the field and only 11 Dayton fouls. He may have wanted to, but he maintained his composure, and said very little.

“You know, they showed tremendous–I guess they showed tremendous discipline,” Hurley said of the foul situation. “We commit 11 fouls and so they did a great job defensively of not fouling us with that limited roster.”

In Archie Miller’s fourth year with Dayton, this is the first time he’s led the Flyers to the A10 Championship game.

It’s not the first time he’s been to a conference championship though. As a senior with the NC State Wolfpack, he was part of an incredible run to the ACC Championship where they eventually fell quite easily to a Jason Williams/Carlos Boozer led Duke team.

“We had a great run. We lost by about 50,” Coach Miller said, laughing. “It was an awesome run though.”

When asked if he used that experience as a teachable moment for his players who hadn’t been on this stage yet, while apparently uncomfortable with revisiting the 30 point loss fro 13 years ago, said, “What we talk about this time of year is advancing. We have some seniors on our team, and guys who were part of our run last year, know how special it is to stick around every time you get a win. Whether you can stick around in your conference tournament or the next one, it’s the greatest feeling the world, going back to that hotel and watching other games and knowing you’re still alive to play.”

They’re alive for the moment and will face a tired VCU team who will be playing their fourth game in as many days.

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