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Miller: Flyers’ confidence ‘fractured’ after second loss in a row

All those little facts an optimistic Dayton fan might have seized on as a reason they would beat Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday, you can throw them out the window.

Dayton hadn’t lost after controlling the opening tip. It hadn’t lost when it scored first. It hadn’t lost on a Wednesday. It hadn’t lost two games in a row all season.

All that’s gone. The Flyers lost 80-66 to the Rams, and the season has reached a low point. The Atlantic 10 Conference is a league of haves and have-nots right now, and the Flyers find themselves in the latter group. The bottom six teams have five conference wins between them.

“Our team right now, it’s not Xs and Os,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “It’s togetherness, it’s toughness, it’s purpose, and it’s understanding what we’ve been from the start of the season until today. I think it’s fractured a little bit.

“Long seasons and ups and downs, and confidence and individual performances, they all go up and down. The thing you can’t lose is your identity is as a team, what got you to this point.”

Standout stats: Devin Oliver hit 9-of-9 free throws and led UD with 21 points. Juvonte Reddic and Briante Weber each had 18 points for the Rams.

Kav and Gav: Injured Flyers Matt Kavanaugh and Alex Gavrilovic sat on the bench in street clothes Wednesday. Neither has been cleared to play after suffering concussions.

Miller said their status will be discussed again next week.

“We’re sort of at the mercy of the process, which everyone is when you’re dealing with symptoms like that,” he said. “The minute those guys get some type of clearance to do something, they’ll ease their way back in.”

Next game: The Flyers play at Rhode Island at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Rams (10-10, 1-4 A-10) lost 61-57 at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday after a bit of adventure on the trip to Philadelphia. Weather forced them to take Amtrak instead of a plane.

The Flyers have lost six straight games to Rhode Island, its longest current losing streak to an Atlantic 10 team, and five straight games at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.

The Rams lost their first three A-10 games to three teams that had lost only one conference game between them going into Wednesday: Saint Louis (4-0), La Salle (3-0) and George Washington (3-1).

Around the A-10: Richmond (13-6, 3-1) built on its 73-64 victory over Dayton on Saturday by upsetting No. 13 Massachusetts 58-55 in Richmond on Wednesday. UMass (16-2, 3-1) had won six straight games.

No. 19 Saint Louis (18-2, 5-0) survived an upset bid, winning 76-72 at Duquesne (8-9, 1-4).

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