If there was a silver lining on a sad Saturday for the Dayton Flyers, who lost 88-76 to Rhode Island at the Ryan Center, it was the return of center Matt Kavanaugh and Alex Gavrilovic.
Kavanaugh had missed the three previous games after suffering a concussion against Saint Louis. Gavrilovic had missed four games since suffering a concussion in a collision with Kavanaugh in practice.
Both players were cleared Friday to play, coach Archie Miller said. Kavanaugh started and had 13 points in 24 minutes. Gavrilovic was available to play, but didn’t.
“Unfortunately, they had only about an hour workout prior to the game,” Miller said. “We went with Matt right away just to see what his wind would look like. I thought he did a decent job. Alex hasn’t practiced in three weeks.”
Kavanaugh said he was a little tired in the first half, but it felt good to play again.
“It was definitely frustrating (not playing), but you have to be patient with the doctors and trainers,” he said. “You feel you’re good enough to play, but they want to take every precaution.”
Postgame reunion: Former Buckeye and current Celtic Jared Sullinger waited outside the Dayton locker room after the game to talk to former Northland High School teammates Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott. Sullinger is two years older than both Flyers and joked that he knew them when they were uncoordinated.
Sullinger is now teammates with another former Flyer, Chris Johnson, who signed a 10-day contract with Boston earlier this month.
“Chris is playing well,” Sullinger said. “He’s hungry and doing everything the coaches ask. That’s what’s making him stand out.”
UD numbers: Dyshawn Pierre led the Flyers with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He leads the Flyers with 13 double-digit scoring games this season.
Devin Oliver had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and led the Flyers with six rebounds.
Streak continues: Dayton has lost seven in a row to Rhode Island and six in a row to the Rams in Kingston.
Next game: The Flyers return home for two games at UD Arena this week. They host Saint Joseph’s (13-6, 3-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday and George Washington (16-3, 4-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Saint Joseph is 64th in the RPI, according to the latest report from BBState.com. George Washington is 25th and is the only A-10 team to beat Virginia Commonwealth so far this season. It also has a win over Creighton, which is 10th in the RPI.
Around the A-10: VCU (16-4, 4-1) followed its 80-68 victory at Dayton on Wednesday with another road win Saturday, 97-89 in double overtime at La Salle.
La Salle (11-8, 3-2) led by six points with just over a minute to play in the second half. Treveon Graham scored six of his 34 points in the final 64 seconds to send the game to overtime. Graham also hit 1-of-2 free throws with six seconds left in overtime to tie the game.
• Richmond (14-6, 4-1) kept pace with VCU and George Washington in second place with a 77-62 victory at home against Saint Joseph’s (13-6, 3-2).
• George Washington kept George Mason (7-13, 0-6) in last place all by itself in the A-10 with a 75-69 victory in Fairfax, Va.