The first half between Dayton and Rhode Island on Wednesday lacked rhythm. There were too many fouls, too many turnovers, stretches of great offense by both teams followed by cold spells.
It was like watching two elephants from the Shrine Circus, which visited UD Arena last weekend, fighting over a circus peanut.
The Rams couldn’t miss for a stretch, but then they couldn’t get off a shot in the final minutes of the first half. They had 13 of their 18 turnovers before halftime, while Dayton committed seven turnovers in the first half and only one in the second.
That’s the biggest reason the Flyers beat Rhode Island 76-69, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Rams and improving to 4-0 in February.
“Obviously, a very hard-fought game,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “I’m proud of our guys. They continue to keep the good fight going. Anytime you’re in February, you take them and you run with them because you know you’re not going to be perfect. The team you’re playing against knows you very well. Every game this time of year feels like a bloodbath.”
Dayton scored only six points in the last six minutes, all at the free-throw line. Its last field goal came at the 6:27 mark on a layup by Jalen Robinson. That gave the Flyers a 70-59 lead.
Throughout the game, they hit their free throws (24-of-29) and took care of the ball. The turnover total continues to be a key state for UD. They’ve had 7, 10, 12 and 8 during this four-game winning streak following a four-game losing streak in which they turned it over 14, 18, 15 and 14 times.
“If you look at some of the games we lost, we had a lot of turnovers,” guard Scoochie Smith said. “We’ve been emphasizing at halftime not to turn the ball over. To have just one turnover in a half is very good for a team.”
Break time: The Flyers don’t play this Saturday and return to action at 9 p.m. Wednesday at home against La Salle. Miller wasn’t concerned about the breaking disrupting his team’s hot streak.
“Anytime you can get a break at this time, you can freshen up your mind and freshen up your body,” he said. “It’s a good thing. I don’t really like a break when you have to take the weekend off. I’d rather have the break during the week when you have school.”
Miller said the Flyers will take Thursday off from practice, practice Friday and Saturday and then have Sunday off before getting back to their regular schedule.
Numbers game: The Flyers shot 41.8 percent from the field, their third-worst shooting performance of the season. They’ve shot under 40 percent three times: all in losses at home to USC, Saint Louis and Saint Joseph’s.