Matt Kavanaugh lay on Tom Blackburn Court motionless for a few seconds before turning over. He remained still again as Dayton trainers attended to him.
When a player as big as Dwayne Evans, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound St. Louis forward, lands on your head, it’s going to hurt. Kavanaugh eventually got up and returned to the bench, but he didn’t play again after that first-half collision. It’s not why Dayton lost 67-59 to the Billikens on Saturday at UD Arena in the Flyers’ Atlantic 10 opener, but Kavanaugh could have helped.
The senior center from Centerville hit his only shot from the field, but he played only nine minutes because of the injury. Evans was called for an offensive foul on the play.
The Flyers also played without forward Alex Gavrilovic, who suffered a concussion in a collision with Kavanaugh in practice on Monday. Dayton matched a season low with 18 points off the bench.
“(Kavanaugh) will be evaluated day by day, but I think he’s going to need a little bit of time,” coach Archie Miller said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not out for a week or something. Just based on the information I have, Alex isn’t doing really well, so we’re a little short-handed.
“That’s the way it goes. That’s why we’ve got to use all the players we’ve got. We’ve got to use as many as we can. I don’t think we were able to use our bench as effectively as we’ve been using our bench.”
Evans stars: Evans scored 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting. It was his best shooting performance of the season.
“We came in with a list of things we really wanted to get done, and we accomplished most of them,” Evans said. “We got them out of transition, got the stops we needed to, put the pressure where we needed to. I think it really took them out of rhythm.”
A-10 introduction: This was the first Atlantic 10 game for Dayton junior Jordan Sibert, a transfer from Ohio State. He hit 4-of-7 3-pointers and led the Flyers with 15 points.
Sibert noticed the increased intensity of the conference game right away.
“It was definitely everything I expected it to be,” he said. “I’m excited about it. There’s nothing like conference play.”
Week ahead: The Flyers play at Fordham at 9 p.m. Wednesday. They fly home after the game and then return to the air Friday for a flight to Richmond. They play the Spiders at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Fordham (7-7) lost its A-10 opener 87-81 at Duquesne on Wednesday. Richmond (10-6) also started 0-1 with an 84-70 loss at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.
Fordham hosted Richmond on Saturday night in the second A-10 game for both teams.