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Freshmen giving Miller options

Dayton has won three straight games and four of its last five while putting together its best stretch since early December. And senior forward Josh Benson offered his opinion on why the Flyers are suddenly surging.

“We’ve got freshmen playing their butts off,” he said.

Forward Dyshawn Pierre is averaging 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds in Atlantic 10 games and is making a bid for the all-rookie team. But the biggest change in the Flyers has come because of what his less heralded classmates are doing.

Guard Khari Price, who missed six games with a quad injury, has solidified the Flyers’ backcourt since his return. He’s enabled coach Archie Miller to keep Kevin Dillard fresh, and the senior point guard has averaged 18 points, 4.7 assists and two turnovers in the three games with Price backing him up.

Miller also is allowing Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson to gobble up minutes at the 5 spot. Scott had his best outing of the year with five points and seven rebounds in a 75-63 win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday, while Robinson is averaging 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in his last six games.

Benson, who struggled at the 5 most of the year, has been moved to the 4 position and is thriving. He’s averaged 12.1 points over the last five games and is shooting 65.7 percent from the field in that span.

“I didn’t think Jalen and Devon were ready for those minutes in December and January. They just weren’t ready yet,” Miller said. “We played Josh out of position. In some cases, he had an advantage with speed at the 5, but he had foul trouble.

“I think his best chance is to be alongside someone who can occupy that block. He’s been able to move a little more. He’s been able to use his quickness for drives and 15-footers. It’s a mismatch against some smaller 4’s on the inside. He’s playing more at his natural position right now.”

The Flyers are on an upward trajectory going into a crucial game at George Washington today with a spot in the Atlantic 10 tourney on the line.

“We’re playing well right now. Everyone is contributing,” Benson said. “When Devon Scott is getting seven rebounds and locking down a tough big man (St. Bonaventure 7-footer Youssou Ndoye), who is a shot blocker and who can create down there, it’s good to see.

“We’ve got everyone making plays and doing the little things — the hustle plays, diving on the floor, getting loose balls. If we keep playing like we’re playing … we can be really good.”

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