Dayton dropped a stinging 81-80 overtime decision to George Washington here Saturday afternoon and then boarded a bus to make the charter flight home, distraught over having put its hopes of making the Atlantic 10 tournament in the hands of others.
The Flyers needed either St. Bonaventure to lose at home to Fordham, Richmond to fall to visiting Duquesne or Charlotte to succumb to Saint Joseph’s at home to make the 12-team field. Since Fordham and Duquesne had combined for three conference wins this year, the Flyers’ best hope figured to be St. Joe’s pulling through.
But in one of the most startling upsets of the A-10 season, the Bonnies were handed a 76-72 defeat by a team that began the day with a 10-game losing streak, sending the Flyers to Brooklyn for the tourney.
Barclays Center will host the 2013 Buick Atlantic 10 Basketball Championship in March 2013, as Brooklyn’s new state-of-the-art arena continues to solidify its position as a significant national collegiate sports venue.
“I gave that about a zero-percent chance of happening,” UD coach Archie Miller said of the Fordham win.
Dayton, St. Bonaventure and GW ended up with 7-9 league records. And the Flyers unofficially will be seeded 12th, while the Bonnies, Rhode Island, Duquesne and Fordham failed to make the field.
UD’s opponent Thursday still wasn’t determined as of Saturday night because of multiple tiebreakers and an A-10 game today between VCU and Temple that could impact the pairings.
“Obviously it’s a sigh of relief that we get a chance to keep playing,” Miller said. “We’ve been playing basically the last month of basketball with our backs against the wall. Some of those wins really got the job done in terms of tie-breakers.
“We approached every game like it was life or death. I didn’t think we approached anything differently (against GW). It’s still disappointing we weren’t able to get to 8-8 and secure our spot. But, obviously, we’re playing some really good basketball down the stretch, and hopefully we can muster up a couple more efforts.
“I know this: We’re a dangerous team because our guys are cohesive right now and they’re playing well together.”
The Flyers (17-13 overall) shot 57.4 percent against GW — their sixth straight game shooting 50 percent or better. But they had their three-game winning streak snapped because of massive foul trouble and a dismal rebounding effort.
“It’s been a taxing season, an emotional season — ups and downs,” Miller said. “But I give our kids a lot of credit. We have absolutely fought the fight the right way. I think our guys are very, very disappointed about the loss. But the fact we have a chance to take the floor again, that will rejuvenate everybody for the second season.”