Devin Oliver has been an active rebounder and cagey finisher around the basket for Dayton this season, and the junior wing was strong again in those categories against Miami while also adding a new facet to his repertoire Saturday night.
He dished out six assists — four above his previous career-best output — to go with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Flyers to an 83-61 win.
“I’m just trying to get my teammates involved and don’t force it,” said Oliver, who is known as D-MO (his initials). “I’ve always said I’d take my offensive opportunities when they were there. Some of those times when I drove, my teammates did a nice job of positioning themselves and knocked down shots.”
Oliver was joined in the double-double club by teammate Josh Benson, who had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
“Devin is doing it every night, and Josh is starting to mix it up a little better. He had seven offensive rebounds,” UD coach Archie Miller said.
“I didn’t think D-MO had a sharp first half because of (four) turnovers, but he had a nice line and didn’t turn it over in the second half. Those two guys are playing hard and had a big week. And as we keep going, they have to be anchors for us.”
Coming back: The Flyers (7-2) fell behind 7-0 and 18-9, and Miller went quickly to his bench. Freshman forward Jalen Robinson had eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. Freshman point guard Khari Price didn’t score, but he had a sound floor game.
Price also had one of the most thrilling plays of the night when he rejected a breakaway lay-up by Miami’s Will Sullivan at the rim and then dribbled out the last few seconds of the game.
“We needed all hands on deck. I’m proud of them. They should be proud of one another,” Miller said, “They’re becoming a closer-knit team by the week.
“I just want these guys to keep believing every day in practice that what we do works. And if we keep honing it and mastering it, we have to a chance to keep being successful.”
Said Oliver: “They kind of smacked us in the face early, but it was good to see our team respond.”
Familiar face: Former Miami coach Charlie Coles attended the game and sat behind the UD bench.
“I’ve known coach Coles for a long time,” Miller said. “My brother was a co-worker of his, they worked together at Miami when Sean was young. And when I was in high school, I’d go to their team camps or whatever. He’s always been a family friend and has always been a really good person.
“It’s difficult when you look down at Miami and you don’t see him there because he was there so long. Coach (John) Cooper is going to do an outstanding job. You can really tell from a talent perspective, from a depth perspective right now, it will change over the course of time to his style of play. And once they get that going, they’re going to be a tough one to deal with because of all the pressure and some things they do.
“They have a good coach in there now, and those guys are going to keep getting better if they play hard like they did tonight.”
Top mark: Will Felder led MU with 18 points. That’s the highest scoring total of his short Miami career after transferring from St. Francis (Pa.) and sitting out last season.
”We executed better in the first half, being locked in and making less mistakes, being sharper and stuff made a big difference,” he said.
Miami is now 0-3 on a four-game road swing that concludes Dec. 19 against Wright State.
“It’s been a tough road trip, but we just look at the next game,” Felder said. “You can’t really dwell on the last game because then it’s hard to move forward. So we just take it what it is tonight and then we get ready for the next game. We definitely can bounce back. We’re definitely capable.”
Said Cooper: “Hopefully it’s a good time for an 11-day break. We’ll see when we come back off of it how well we play. Then I’ll let you know.”
Not as good: RedHawks guard Quinten Rollins entered Saturday’s game among the national leaders in assist-turnover ratio with 32 assists and 10 turnovers. Against the Flyers, Rollins collected five assists and turned the ball over four times.