Dayton couldn’t have asked for a better way to head into Atlantic 10 play. OK, maybe a 30-point victory on the road would have been better.
But it’s hard to top beating a good Ole Miss team 83-80 on a last-second 3-point bank shot by Devin Oliver. That’s what the Flyers did Saturday at Tad Smith Coliseum.
“It’s huge, man,” Oliver said. “We got a lot of breaks tonight, but at the same time, that’s a testament to who we are as a team. We continued to fight through overtime when we were down four with 1:06 left. It’s big. We’ve got the defending champions (St. Louis) on Saturday. We’ve got to be ready to go.”
Next game: The Flyers host St. Louis at 11 a.m. Saturday. It’s the earliest game of the season because it’s on ESPN2. It will be the Atlantic 10 opener for UD, but the second A-10 game for the Billikens, who play at Rhode Island on Tuesday.
St. Louis (13-2) beat Yale 75-55 on Saturday for its seventh victory in a row. Its only losses are to Wisconsin (63-57) and Wichita State (70-65). The Billikens’ best wins are against Indiana State (83-66) and Vanderbilt (57-49).
St. Louis leads the A-10 in scoring defense (57.7 before Saturday) and ranks ninth in scoring offense (71.1). Dayton is third in scoring offense (77.4) and fifth in scoring defense (65.9).
Guarding Henderson: Dayton held Marshall Henderson, the leading scorer for Ole Miss, scoreless for the first 21 minutes, but he had 14 points in the second half. Jordan Sibert and Vee Sanford guarded Henderson most of the night. Kyle Davis was inserted late in the game for short stints to guard him.
They all count: Dayton had luck earlier on the bank shot. It scored four points off bank shots in the first half. Sibert banked in a 3-pointer, and Jalen Robinson made a free throw on a bank shot.
Travel plans: Dayton chartered two planes for the trip and flew into Tupelo, Miss., on Friday evening. The plan was to head straight to the airport after the game Saturday and fly home to Dayton, avoiding the bad weather forecast for today.
Around the league: In early games Saturday, No. 12 Florida beat Richmond 67-58. The Spiders, who led by four with under eight minutes to play, finished their non-conference schedule 10-5.
That was the first of three A-10 versus SEC games. Rhode Island (9-6) beat LSU 74-70 in the second game.
St. Joseph’s (9-4) beat Denver 53-52. St. Bonaventure (10-4) beat Cornell 81-57. La Salle (7-6) beat Pennsylvania 76-57.
La Salle’s victory meant every team in the A-10 had a winning record, for the moment at least. That depended on what George Mason (7-6) did Saturday night against Old Dominion.