A security guard warned a photographer sitting near the Dayton Flyers bench in the final seconds: “You might want to stand up because the students are going to rush the court.”
That guard must not have watched the previous six minutes because the Billikens hadn’t made a field goal since the 7:22 mark, and they missed two shots in the final 10 seconds. The game went to overtime, and the No. 22 Flyers continued to play suffocating defense. That helped them overcame poor shooting at the foul line, behind the 3-point line and everywhere else.
Dayton survived — that’s the only word that works here — and left Chaifetz Arena with a 52-49 victory Tuesday.
Here are three points to take from Dayton’s 22nd victory:
1. Davis stars: Dayton junior guard Kyle Davis had no points on 0-of-2 shooting in the first half. He scored all 13 of his points in the second half on 5-of-8 shooting. He had five points in a quick spurt after the Flyers fell behind 42-33 at the 7:22 mark.
Davis also hit a 3-pointer at the 3:29 mark in overtime to give Dayton a 49-46 lead. The Flyers didn’t trail again.
After scoring eight points in the last three games, Davis picked a good time to break out of his slump.
“We’ve been waiting on him to come back,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “It’s not so much about making an open shot. It’s about being himself, being aggressive. He stepped up. He made a couple shots. He gave everyone else confidence. He kept us in there when we weren’t doing really well.”
2. Poor shooting: Dayton looked lost on offense in the first half, scoring 14 points on 6-of-25 shooting. Saint Louis wasn’t much better, making 7 of 24 shots. The Billikens led 19-14 at halftime.
“A lot of these guys go through their ups and downs,” Miller said. “They’ve been through so many battles. You have to remind them sometimes how we’ve gotten where we’ve gotten. Things haven’t been really pretty at times. This one counts just as much as the next. Now we have to get ourselves back in order a little bit, get ourselves organized and not turn the ball over quite like that.
“We’re not shooting the ball particularly well. We’ve got to get some guys’ confidence back on offense. We’ve got a big battle Saturday afternoon (against) Rhode Island. Our guys hopefully will feel better going home with this than the alternative.”
3. Smith’s night: Dayton point guard Scoochie Smith had an up-and-down night. He had one assist and five turnovers and left the game after a flurry of turnovers in the first half. Miller gave him a pep talk at that point.
Smith recovered and made some big plays down the stretch, though he also missed some important free throws. The Flyers had numerous chances to tie the game or take the lead in the final minutes of the second half but didn’t tie the game until Smith scored on a layup with 36 seconds left.