Flyers have beaten five of the seven teams ahead of them in the standings
Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant and Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot started walking toward each other for the post-game handshake Wednesday when officials started blowing their whistles because one-tenth of a second remained on the clock.
The officials made Duquesne in-bound the ball just to run out the time, extending the misery for the Dukes, who ran into a team that has looked like one of the best teams in the Atlantic 10 at home and one of the worst on the road.
“Why are the Flyers so much better at home?” a reporter asked Darrell Davis after the game.
“We’re comfortable here,” Davis said. “A lot of guys are comfortable here.”
Dayton did lose at home to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, so it isn’t invincible on its home court. However, its best performances have come at UD Arena, and some of them have been spectacular.
The Flyers set a school record with 66 points in the first half against Virginia Commonwealth in a 106-79 victory on Jan. 12, and it set another school record Wednesday by shooting 81.8 percent (20 of 24) in the second half.
That was the best second-half shooting performance in school history and the second-best percentage in any half, trailing only an 86.4 percent effort (19 of 22) in the first half against Southern on March 1, 1986.
Dayton made its first 10 shots in the second half to extend a 29-26 halftime lead to 54-34 with 12:51 to play. Duquesne (15-10, 6-6) got no closer than 11 points in the final 12 minutes.
“We executed right,” Davis said. “We played to our abilities and strengths. We scouted right, and we came out with the W.”
Davis scored 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Josh Cunningham led the Flyers with 21 points and made 8 of 13 shots. Jordan Davis added 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Trey Landers made 6 of 10 shots and scored 12.
Jalen Crutcher had eight points, nine assists and no turnovers. John Crosby and Kostas Antetokounmpo added five and four points off the bench, respectively.
The Flyers recorded their season highs in field-goal percentage (31 of 48, 64.6) and 3-point percentage (8 of 14, 57.1) and had a strong night at the free-throw line (18 of 22, 81.8) as well.
“I think our guys were really focused and motivated and understood what we had to do,” Grant said. “The first half, I thought our guys were really locked in and did a great job. Offensively, we were not quite in a great rhythm. In the second half, we talked about trying to duplicate or better our defensive performance from the first half and that we could play better offensively. Obviously, you look at our numbers offensively in the second half, and our guys did an outstanding job.”