Doc Nix and the Green Machine, George Mason’s pep band, played the theme from the original “Superman” movie before the game Saturday at EagleBank Arena.
No movie score could have been more appropriate for the Dayton Flyers, who dominated the Patriots from start to finish for a 98-64 victory. The Flyers (19-3, 9-1) are one victory from their third 20-win season in a row, and they still have eight regular-season games to play, not to mention the Atlantic 10 tournament and, in all likelihood, the NCAA Tournament.
The Flyers have a chance not only to break the school record for wins in a season — they were 28-5 in 1951-52 — but reach 30 wins for the first time. Dayton has won seven straight in Atlantic 10 Conference play for the first time since 2009. Here are three key points to take from this game:
1. Everyone contributes: Charles Cooke led the Flyers with 24 points. Dyshawn Pierre scored 15, and Kendall Pollard had 13. John Crosby and Scoochie Smith each scored 10.
Ten players scored for Dayton. The Flyers wanted an 11th player to score and worked hard to get walk-on Joey Gruden a shot in the final minutes. He missed a running jumper from the baseline as his dad, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden, watched from press row.
Smith and Cooke each had five assists. Kyle Davis had four assists. Smith said it was Dayton’s best offensive performance.
“We were just clicking on all cylinders,” Smith said. “Everybody shared the ball. Everybody made the extra pass, and everybody was ready to shoot.”
2. Cooke’s punishment: Cooke didn’t start but was the first player off the bench just before the first TV timeout. He was punished for an unspecified team rules violation.
“We needed to bring him off the bench to make sure he understands that won’t happen again,” Miller said. “He and I had a good conversation this morning, and I expected him to be ready to roll when he came off the bench. He looked at me and said, ‘I’ll be ready.’ I thought Charles demonstrated great maturity. Moving forward, he’ll be back in the lineup.”
3. Defensive effort: George Mason shot 36.8 percent from the field. It’s the fourth straight game Dayton has held an opponent under 40 percent shooting.
Freshman Otis Livingston II led the Patriots with 21 points. Jaire Grayer scored 11. George Mason’s leading scorer, Marquise Moore, missed the game with a sprained ankle.
“For our team, 64 points wasn’t the issue,” George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. “The issue was guarding them. That’s hard to simulate. We don’t have a lot of depth on our team. We had four perimeter players we could play tonight, and they were all freshmen.”
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