DAYTON PLAYS AT RESURGENT DUQUESNE IN A SATURDAY SHOWDOWN
The University of Dayton Flyers look to cool one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic 10 as UD plays the Duquesne Dukes in Pittsburgh on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be carried through WHIO Radio and be available over the Internet with live stats and streaming video and audio from DaytonFlyers.com.
With the team battling flu-like symptoms this week, the Flyers look to heal on-and-off the court. After limiting opponents to 55.2 points per game and .352 shooting percentage during non-conference play, A-10 teams are shooting 48 percent from the field and averaging 73 points. The good news is UD has a 1-1 record in conference play thanks in part to Rob Lowery's game-winning lay-up to help the Flyers defeat Fordham 72-71. Dayton still leads the Atlantic 10 in field goal defense (.366) and offensive rebounding (14.4). The Flyers also showcase a balanced scoring attack with eight different players averaging four points or more per contest.
Duquesne is red-hot, winning seven in a row and is unbeaten in three conference contests. The Dukes have been one of the surprise teams in the league. Picked in the A-10 preseason poll to finish 12th, the Dukes have had three of their four losses to ranked teams. Six different Dukes, led by Aaron Jackson, are averaging in double figures during the seven-game winning streak. Duquesne is one of the most balanced squads leading the conference in assists per game (17.6) and steals per game (8.2).
Dayton leads the all-time series 40-17, but Duquesne has won the last two and three of the last five. Last year UD lost 63-61 to the Dukes despite a Marcus Johnson double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Dayton ranks second the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense, allowing a paltry 57.3 points per game and has held all but four teams under its scoring average. In the win over No. 15 Marquette, UD forced the Golden Eagles to shoot 39 percent from the field. At Akron the Flyers held the Zips to 25 percent shooting from the field. Marshall was held 28 points below its scoring average, and the best-shooting team in Conference USA (48%) was limited to a season-low 31% FG%. In their last 12 games, the Flyers also have 41 blocks and 76 steals. UD is on pace to average the most steals in 17 years and is 14-0 when out-rebounding their opponent.
LOCK IT UP
Only one team has shot better than 50 percent from the field this year against UD. That's the first time in coach Brian Gregory's tenure UD has accomplished that feat in his first six seasons through the first 17 games.
Through Jan. 15, the Dayton Flyers are one of 16 teams in college basketball with 15 or more victories. One of the keys to UD's success is the team's depth. Dayton is the only team with 12 players who see eight minutes or more of action. Marquette, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Utah State have 11 players, Illinois, Oklahoma and Wake Forest have 10, California, Clemson, Duke, Florida, St. Mary's, Syracuse and Texas A&M have nine, while Illinois State possesses eight.
The Flyers are 6-0 in games decided by five points or less this season. Rob Lowery has made more baskets (5) in the last two minutes of the game than any other Flyer this season, and none were bigger than the coast-to-coast game-winning layup with five seconds left in Wednesday's Fordham win.
LITTLE BIG MAN
At 6-foot-6, 247 pounds, Charles Little might be one of the most inaccurately named players in the country. Little scored 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting, in a win over UNC Greensboro including dunks on three straight possessions. He had 10 points and three rebounds over Bethune-Cookman. In the Mercer win Little tallied 11 points and five rebounds. He added a season-high nine rebounds against Auburn. Little was named to the Chicago Invitational Challenge All-Tournament Team. In his 100th career game, Little tallied his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 boards against Troy. Little had the game-winning basket at Akron and eight points. In the Toledo win he scored eight points and against Miami he had eight points and five boards. Little scored 11 points and hauled in six boards versus Fordham. In 10 home games this year, Little averages 8.6 points and is shooting .581 from the field.
THE WRIGHT STUFF
Displaying an NBA-like level of athleticism, Chris Wright looks to lead the Flyers back to the postseason. The sophomore forward is a Preseason All-Atlantic 10 Second Team selection. Wright tied for a game-high 17 points in UD's win over Wofford. He came back to score a game-high 18 points and haul in seven rebounds over Delaware State. Wright recorded his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 boards against Mercer. He added his second straight double-double with a career-best 14 rebounds and 10 points against Auburn. Wright then posted his third double-double in as many games with 13 points and 13 boards. At Akron, Wright led all scorers with 18 points. Wright then added 13 points and nine rebounds versus Coppin State. Against Marshall, Wright recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. Wright scored a game-high 14 points versus Miami and tallied 13 points and nine rebounds at UMass. Battling flu-like symptoms, he recorded seven points without hitting a field goal and seven boards versus Fordham. The Flyers are 28-4 overall and 4-0 against ranked opponents with Wright in the lineup during his UD career.
Last season, Wright earned a spot on the A-10 All-Rookie team even though he played just eight minutes in conference play. Wright was the fifth Dayton player to be selected to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. Tony Stanley (1998), Brooks Hall (2000), Keith Waleskowski (2001) and Brian Roberts (2005) are the previous Flyer A-10 Rookies. He played eight minutes in conference action before fracturing a bone in his ankle that required surgery. Before that, he was chosen A-10 Rookie of the Week four times in the first six weeks of the season (the last player to do that was Jameer Nelson).
The sophomore leads the Flyers scoring (12.0), rebounding (6.8), field goals made (71), offensive rebounds (42), defensive rebounds (73) and double-doubles (4).
Over the previous three weeks, Marcus Johnson has been the most consistent scorer for UD with eight consecutive games in double figures. He has averaged 13.0 points while shooting .535 (38-71) FG and .407 (11-27) 3-pt. FG during that span. He tied for a game-high 17 points in a season-opening win over Wofford. Johnson then scored 15 of his team-high 16 points in the first half over Bethune-Cookman. He scored all 10 points against Mercer in the first half. Against Auburn he sank all eight free throw attempts with six of them in overtime en route to 16 points. Johnson added 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor against Troy. Johnson came back to score 15 points versus Coppin State, tallied 10 points versus UNC Greensboro and scored 11 against Marshall. In the George Mason win he had 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He posted a season-high 21 points at Akron, hitting four 3-point attempts. Johnson added 12 points against Miami. At UMass, he recorded 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He chipped in with 12 points against Fordham. The 6-3 guard has scored in double figures 30 times in his 81-game career, with 28 in his last 41 games. Johnson has also reached double figures in scoring 13 times this season, including the last eight.
While he's scored in double figures in his last eight games, but what's even more critical to UD's success is his defense. Johnson has guarded the opposition's top scorer in all eight games. In the win over Miami, he held Redhawk wing Michael Bramos to six points, 13 points under his season's average.
Known as a strong outside shooter, team-first player and a quality individual, Mickey Perry is building upon a promising sophomore season. Perry was flawless against Bethune-Cookman knocking down both three-point attempts. Perry knocked down 3-of-4 shots versus No. 15 Marquette. Perry scored 10 points against Troy. Perry then tallied 10 points and a career-best three steals at Creighton. He had five points and three assists at UMass. The Flyers are 13-3 when Perry knocks down a three-pointer in his career.
THE JACKSONVILLE JET
Known as the "Jacksonville Jet," London Warren is an explosive point guard who has outstanding quickness on the offensive and defensive ends. Last season Warren earned the Flyers' Defensive Player of the Year award after leading the team with 45 steals. Warren opened the 2008-09 season with three points, four assists and a steal in the season opener over Wofford. He followed up with four points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in a win over Delaware State. He dished out six assists and had three steals over Mercer. Against Bethune-Cookman, Warren had five assists to only one turnover. In the triumph over No. 15 Marquette, Warren added seven points and two assists. Warren came back with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and six assists versus Troy. Warren recorded a season-high seven rebounds and dished out six assists versus Coppin State. Warren had five points and five rebounds versus Marshall. At Toledo, Warren was flawless with eight assists and zero turnovers to go with 11 points and three steals. He had five points and five assists at UMass.
BIG SHOT ROB
Junior Rob Lowery has quickly made a name for himself as a clutch performer. In the 72-71 win over Fordham, Lowery drove the length of the floor for a basket with 5.4 seconds to go. In the win over No. 15 Marquette, Lowery scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. With UD protecting a two-point lead, Lowery, who missed his first five shots, drilled a 15-foot field goal with 48 seconds to go to push the lead back to four and swished two free throws with 15 ticks left to seal the decision versus Wofford. He tied for the team-high with 13 points and had the steal and dunk that tied the game, the assist on the go-ahead three-pointer and the free throw that made it a two-possession game against George Mason. Against Delaware State, he had nine points, four steals and three assists. Lowery posted a team-high 15 points at Creighton. Against UNC Greensboro, he added seven points. In the win at Toledo, Lowery scored 13 points. He had six points, three rebounds and three assists at UMass. Lowery is averaging 5.9 points a game at home, but more away from UD Arena (9.8).
Freshman Paul Williams, one of the top prep recruits out of Michigan, brings a reputation as a clutch shooter and lockdown defender to the Flyer backcourt. Williams is a Preseason Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection. He added two rebounds against Delaware State and one versus No. 15 Marquette. Williams broke out in a big way with three 3-pointers to finish with nine points against Troy. He then added four points and three boards versus Coppin State. Against George Mason, he had two points, two boards and a steal. At Toledo, he had two rebounds and a steal. He had four rebounds versus Miami.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
Head coach Brian Gregory has enjoyed success in the month of January going 25-16 (.610) in six seasons. Dayton is 3-1 this year in the month of January.
CHAIRMEN OF THE BOARDS
UD is third in the Atlantic 10 in rebound margin at plus 6.8. Against Mercer, a team that had upset Alabama and Auburn by pounding the boards, the Flyers out-boarded Mercer 48-31. UD followed that up corralling 60 rebounds in an overtime win over Auburn. UD then held a 44-33 advantage on the glass against Coppin State thanks in part to 17 on the offensive end. Dayton then out-rebounded Marshall 42-32, George Mason 42-29 and Miami 38-30. The Flyers held a 44-33 edge against Fordham. Since being out-rebounded by a much smaller Wofford squad in the opener, UD has gotten at least ten more rebounds than 10 of its last 16 opponents.
STEAL OF A DEAL
Dayton's 6.9 steals per game is the best in 17 years and on pace right now to have the fourth-best steal-per-game average in school history. Six different Flyers had a steal in the season opener against Wofford. Dayton followed that with seven different players tallying a steal over Delaware State. In the Bethune-Cookman game, Dayton had eight steals. Dayton had four steals over Mercer and eight versus Auburn. UD tallied six swipes against No. 15 Marquette. At Akron the Flyers had 11 steals and at Creighton UD tallied seven swipes. UD added nine steals against UNC Greensboro, eight at Toledo and had 10 versus UMass.
WANT THE GOOD NEWS, OR THE BAD NEWS?
The bad news was that UD set an NCAA record in the Auburn game with 24 three-point attempts without a make. The good news was that UD won, relying on defense, rebounding and clutch free throw shooting. The bad news early in that game was that the Flyers made just 5-of-16 free throw attempts in the first 32 minutes of the contest, but finished with 15 straight made free throws, including 7-for-7 in overtime.
The odds a team that was making 39.5 percent of its three-pointers going 0-for-24 in a game are six-in-one-million, according to Texas Tech professor Dr. Alan Reifman.
Dayton coach Brian Gregory became just the fourth coach in Flyer basketball history to record 100 career victories. Gregory joined Don Donoher, Tom Blackburn and Oliver Purnell as the only Dayton coaches to reach the 100-win plateau. Gregory reached 100 wins faster than any Dayton coach except the two icons of Flyer basketball: Donoher and Blackburn.
FILLING UP THE STAT SHEET
Dayton has had five different players lead the team in scoring this season - Chris Wright (seven), Marcus Johnson (five), Rob Lowery (four) Charles Little (twice) and Chris Johnson (once). In rebounding, five players have taken honors in at least one game - Wright (seven), Chris Johnson (six) Kurt Huelsman (four), Little (twice) and Devin Searcy (once). (Note: scoring and rebounding numbers add up to more than 17 due to games where more than one player tied for the team-high).
Through Jan. 12, the Flyers rank third in the NCAA in field goal defense (.366), seventh in scoring defense (57.3) and 14th in winning percentage (.882). In fact the Flyers were .0003 away from leading the nation in field goal defense.
UD is the only top team playing 12 players at least 8.0 minutes a game, and one of the products of that is simply wearing down the opposition down the stretch. In the George Mason win, UD out-scored the Patriots 11-2 in the last 4:41 of the game. In the Miami game, UD out-scored the Redhawks 10-4 over the last 4:31. Against Marshall, UD held the Thundering Herd scoreless for exactly nine minutes late in the second half. In the last five minutes of the game, Dayton is holding its opponents to just .317 (39-123) from the field and .231 (12-52) from three.
The Flyers have eight players who are averaging four points or more and 12 who play eight minutes or more this season. One other Atlantic 10 team has 11 players who play eight minutes or more. The Flyers force an average of 16.3 turnovers per game. UD ranks second in the A-10 in scoring margin at plus 10.0.
DAYTON AMONG TOP 10 IN NCAA GRADUATION SUCCESS RATE
The University of Dayton's 96 percent Graduation Success Rate leads the Atlantic 10 Conference and ties it for 10th in the NCAA. In addition, this year's GSR Report shows that UD graduated 100 percent of its student-athletes that participated in women's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country/track & field, men's golf, women's golf, women's rowing, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and volleyball. In addition to the ten programs listed above, the football program had a GSR of 95 followed closely by men's soccer (93), baseball (92), softball (92) and men's basketball (89). The UD's men's basketball team's GSR was the best in the A-10.