One by one, Dayton players walked to the bench in the second half to take a seat Saturday against Richmond. First it was Khari Price, then Devin Oliver and finally Scoochie Smith, each picking up his third foul in a matter of minutes.
The Flyers led 43-35 when Price left the game. Three minutes later, they trailed 47-43. Dayton regained the lead three more times in the second half, but foul trouble played a big part in its 73-64 loss to the Spiders at the Robins Center.
The Flyers (13-5, 1-2 Atlantic 10) committed a season-high 27 personal fouls. Richmond (12-6, 2-1) made 32-of-35 free throws, both season highs for a Dayton opponent.
“It definitely changes thing,” Price said. “It changes our rotation. It puts us into positions we’re not accustomed to. We have different lineups on the court. Foul trouble is definitely something you’ve got to stay away from.”
Price led the Flyers with seven points in the first half, and he had only one foul at halftime. He picked up two in the first three minutes of the second half.
“I just feel like (the third one) was a stupid foul,” he said. “I feel like I was letting the team down because I couldn’t get on the court. I know I’ve got to do a better job of moving my feet. I can’t let that happen.”
Freshman contributions: Dayton forward Kendall Pollard has shown flashes of his athleticism throughout the season. He also looks like a freshman just as often.
Pollard’s drive and dunk to cut Richmond’s lead to 54-52 with 7:59 to play was one of the more impressive individual plays of the game. Later, in a matter of seconds, he turned the ball over and went back the other way and blocked a shot.
Pollard finished with five points and three rebounds in 21 minutes.
“He’s a very physical kid,” UD coach Archie Miller said. “He’s just scratching the surface. He’s got a whole year or so coming up to continue to build his body and change his body. He’s going to be a heck of a player. His effort play on the blocked shot was terrific. He ran one down. He’s getting better. This was one of his more complete games. We’ve just got to focus Kendall on rebounding the ball.”
Week ahead: The Flyers host Virginia Commonwealth (14-4, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Wednesday and play at Rhode Island (10-9, 1-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday.
VCU beat Duquesne 80-65 on Saturday in Richmond. Dayton is 1-4 all-time against VCU and lost 74-62 to the Rams last season in their first season in the A-10.
Rhode Island beat visiting George Mason 71-69 in overtime. The Flyers have lost six straight games to Rhode Island and five in a row at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.
Injured Flyers: Matt Kavanaugh and Alex Gavrilovic didn’t make the road trip. They’re still recovering from recent concussions. Neither made the trip to Fordham on Wednesday eight.
Miller said he doubted either would be able to play against VCU.
“When you’re not traveling, it’s tough,” he said. “They’re obviously not practicing a lot. They’ll be evaluated once we get back. We’ll get hopefully another week where those guys can get better and hopefully closer to playing. We’ll need them.”
Around the A-10: In early action Saturday, St. Louis (17-2 overall) improved to 4-0 in the conference with a 70-48 victory over Fordham (7-10, 0-4).
La Salle (11-6, 3-0) beat Temple 74-68 in non-conference action.