Dayton Flyers at St. Joseph’s: A tortured history

A look back at Dayton’s nine straight losses at Hagan Arena

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

The Dayton Flyers return to Saint Joseph’s at 1 p.m. Sunday to play at Hagan Arena for the first time in two years.

» LA SALLE GAME: Examining 18-0 runPhotosLa Salle coach on Flyers

UD ended one Philadelphia losing streak on Thursday, beating La Salle at Tom Gola Arena for the first time since 2011. Now it will try to end an even longer drought. It hasn’t beat the Hawks in Philadelphia since January 29, 2000.

Here’s a look back at the last nine losses:

Jan. 24, 2001: St. Joseph's 84, Dayton 71

The losing streak began here. Dayton had won two two straight games at Alumni Fieldhouse, which later became known as Hagan Arena, in 1998 and 2000 after losing its first game there in 1996. Story by Bucky Albers:

A trip to Philadelphia to play St. Joseph's has always been a good time for Tony Stanley.

The University of Dayton basketball player's itinerary reads something like this when visiting his hometown: Greet friends and family, including grandma Lucille, maybe grab a cheesesteak, beat the Hawks.

Everything went as planned Sunday afternoon except for that last part. After the Flyers battled back from a 10-point second-half deficit to take a two-point lead, UD's defense fell apart and St. Joe's pulled away for an 84-71 victory at the SJU Fieldhouse in front of 3,200 fans.

The Hawks shot 59 percent from the field (28 of 47) to beat Dayton for the first time in their last four meetings at Philly and improve to 13-3, 4-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. UD falls to 10-6, 1-2.

"Of course I'm disappointed," said Stanley, who scored a team-high 18 points. "We all had the mindset that if we came in and played hard as a team, we'd win. I've never lost to St. Joseph's. I'm disappointed we didn't stay intense the whole game on defense. We had lapses on defense. There were times we were not alert and next thing you know they've got an easy basket."

Feb. 23, 2002: St. Joseph's 70, Dayton 68

The story for this game seems to have disappeared from the Dayton Daily News' electronic archive, but this was the second of three straight road losses for Dayton in the 2001-02 season. They avenged this defeat by beating the Hawks 81-74 in the A-10 tournament.

I found this story from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

As the three-point attempt from the corner by Dayton's Keith Waleskowski descended on the basket with time running out, St. Joseph's guard Na'im Crenshaw had an uneasy feeling.

The feeling was justified. After all, this season the Hawks have lost five games that have gone down to the final possession.

"It's the most scared I've ever been in my four years here," Crenshaw said.

Crenshaw, his teammates, and the crowd that came to watch St. Joe's play at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse for the last time this season exhaled when Waleskowski's shot caromed off the rim. The Hawks had a hard-fought 70-68 win over Dayton yesterday in an Atlantic Ten Conference game.

The harrowing finish climaxed an impressive win for St. Joe's (17-9, 11-3), which had to find a way to compensate for the absence of star point guard Jameer Nelson against a team that, statistically, plays the stingiest defense in the conference.

Feb. 11, 2004: St. Joseph's 81, Dayton 67

There was no shame losing this one. The Hawks finished the regular season 27-0 in 2003-04.

Dayton's only hope Wednesday night against third-ranked and unbeaten Saint Joseph's was to overpower the Hawks with its inside game. Saint Joseph's didn't allow it to happen.

The Hawks did an effective job of handling the Flyers' 7-foot Sean Finn and 6-8 Keith Waleskowski while breezing to their 21st consecutive victory, 81-67, in front of a capacity crowd of 3,200 at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.

The formula was nothing new. Point guard Jameer Nelson and his backcourt partner, Delonte West, sliced through the UD defense for enough points and assists to stop Dayton's winning string at nine games. The Hawks, who lead the Atlantic 10 Conference's East Division, led all the way and were never in any danger of losing to the West leaders.

While Nelson, coverboy of this week's Sports Illustrated, scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out seven assists, West scored 24 points and had five assists and reserve guard Tyrone Barley contributed 14 points. St. Joe built its lead to 19 points (77-58) with 1:49 remaining before UD reduced the deficit by five.

Waleskowski finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds but did not have a particularly good game. He and Finn couldn't get the ball to the basket early in the game when they needed to as St. Joe double-teamed the big men, blocked their shots and batted the ball away from them.

"We missed some shots we normally convert," UD coach Brian Gregory said. "We have to do a little better job of aggressively going to the basket."

Feb. 4, 2007: St. Joseph's 71, Dayton 65

This was Dayton's seventh straight road loss of the season. This game story also has disappeared from the DDN electronic archive. Here's the Associated Press recap:

Pat Calathes scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Ahmad Nivins had 17 points to lead Saint Joseph's to a 71-65 victory over Dayton on Sunday.

Coach Phil Martelli won his 235th career game, moving past Jack Ramsay into second place on the school's all-time victory list.

Rob Ferguson had 15 points for Saint Joseph's (13-9, 5-4 Atlantic 10), which defeated the Flyers for the fourth straight time in Philadelphia. Calathes also was 8-for-8 from the free throw line, extending his streak of consecutive free throws to 31.

Monty Scott and Brian Roberts scored 15 points apiece for Dayton (14-8, 4-5), which fell to 0-8 on the road this season. Norman Plummer had 13 for the Flyers.

Jan. 23, 2010: St. Joseph's 60, Dayton 59

The Flyers finished 8-8 in the A-10 this season because of a 2-6 mark on the road. This was the second road loss. Story by Doug Harris:

Jameer Nelson and Delonte West are toiling in the NBA. Ahmad Nivens is earning a living playing basketball in Europe.

Saint Joseph's doesn't have its usual array of recognizable stars, but the University of Dayton ended up getting humbled again in newly christened Hagan Arena, the former Alumni Fieldhouse.

Chris Wright scored a career-high 28 points, but UD missed 16 of its first 17 3-pointers and finished 3-for-22 from the arc while suffering a 60-59 defeat before a capacity crowd of 4,200 Saturday night, Jan. 23.

Although they fell for the fifth straight time on the road to the Hawks, the Flyers had the ball with a chance to win in the final 10 seconds. But Rob Lowery's drive was blocked by Garrett Williamson with three seconds left to end the bid for victory.

"When you play like that, you don't deserve to win," UD coach Brian Gregory said. "It was a poorly coached game and a poorly played game. ... I'd have been more upset if we won the game because it would go against what we believe. Our defense was atrocious. We couldn't guard the ball and we didn't give any help. They turned it into a one-on-one game."

Jan. 25, 2012: St. Joseph's 77, Dayton 63

The Flyers were 4-1 in A-10 play in Archie Miller's first season. They went to Philadelphia and started a four-game losing streak. Story by Doug Harris:

C.J. Aiken of Saint Joseph’s is second in the nation in blocked shots, and the long-armed, 6-foot-9 sophomore almost dares opponents to challenge him.

University of Dayton guard Paul Williams once appeared to have some room to operate in transition, but Aiken lured him in by retreating to the baseline, then sprang above the rim for one of his five rejections.

“He’s going to be a tremendous player in our conference,” UD coach Archie Miller said. “He’ll probably be the defensive player of the year. He has a chance to be an absolute home run here at Saint Joe’s — his ability to block shots, his ability to step out (on offense). He’s a game-changer.”

UD’s inside attack was almost totally thwarted by Aiken and the Hawks’ athletic frontcourt. And when they tried to respond by hoisting long-range bombs, all the Flyers succeeded in doing was chip paint from the rim.UD shot just 35 percent from the field — 7-of-27 on 3-pointers — and fell out of first place in the Atlantic 10 with a 77-63 defeat before 3,781 fans here Wednesday.

Chris Johnson and Kevin Dillard each had 17 points, but UD (14-6, 4-2 A-10) didn’t get its usual contributions from center Matt Kavanaugh (six points) or backup Alex Gavrilovic (three).

Feb. 25, 2014: St. Joseph's 79, Dayton 53

This was the second of third losses to the Hawks in the Elite Eight season and the only one that wasn't close. Langston Galloway won the other two games on late 3-pointers. This was my first season covering the team. Here's an excerpt from my story:

The most honest official in the world saw a ball go out of bounds Tuesday night at Hagan Arena and shouted to his fellow official that he didn’t know who touched it last.

“I have no idea!” he said.

That got a laugh out of the Saint Joseph’s fans who overheard him, though their laughs turned to frowns when he awarded the ball to the Flyers. If the Dayton players on the court at that time heard him as well, they would have sympathized. At about that point, they had to be thinking the same thing. They had no idea how to stop the Hawks and no idea how to score against them.

Dayton never recovered after falling behind 10-1 and saw its six-game winning streak end with its most lopsided loss of the season, 79-53 at Saint Joseph’s.

“We got hit in the mouth pretty good,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “We didn’t play very well. We’re better than we played tonight. The one thing is at this time of year you can’t lose your mind and say, ‘Why?’ What you have to do is get back to work and not let Saint Joe’s beat you twice in one week. We have to be ready to go because UMass is so good.”

The Flyers (19-9, 7-6) host Massachusetts (21-5, 8-4) at 11 a.m. Saturday. In terms of keeping their NCAA tournament at-large hopes alive, it becomes almost a must-win — unless the Flyers plan on pinning all their hopes on winning the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Feb. 17, 2016: St. Joseph's 79, Dayton 70

A nine-game winning streak ended for the Flyers in this game. It was the first of three losses in four games. Here's an excerpt from my story:

Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller sat alone in a small room just off the visiting locker room Wednesday. Poring over a box score from a 79-70 loss to St. Joseph’s at Hagan Arena, he waited for three reporters to question him about his team’s first loss since Jan. 9.

The questions came, and then one more member of the media — ESPN’s famed bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who doubles as a longtime color analyst for St. Joseph’s basketball — interrupted to shake Miller’s hand.

“You don’t need a pep talk, do you?” Lunardi joked. “Because four other coaches called me today.”

“No, I’m all right,” Miller said with a laugh.

“Relax,” Lunardi said, “and don’t listen to what I say.”

Lunardi’s advice was sound. The No. 15/13 Flyers (21-4) saw their nine-game winning streak end and their Hagan Arena losing streak reach eight, but they still occupy a strong position in the race to March Madness. If they drop a spot in Lunardi’s bracket prediction, it’ll be a small demotion. They earned a No. 4 seed in his latest bracket.

Miller may not be able to relax — it’s hard to imagine him doing that if his team was undefeated — but his Flyers are still in first place in the Atlantic 10. Only now they share it with with St. Joseph’s (22-4) and Virginia Commonwealth (19-7). Each team is 11-2.

“Our deal right now is to get back to work,” Miller said. “It’s the first time we’ve lost in a while. It stings. Hopefully, it stings in a good way.”

St. Joseph’s beat Dayton by playing Dayton basketball. The Hawks made 16 of 24 free throws. Dayton got to the line seven times and made two.

The Flyers settled for 3-pointers (8 of 31, 25.8 percent) and struggled to find the shooting touch. Dayton trailed 36-27 at halftime, in part, because it made 2 of 13 3-pointers.

“We missed a lot of shots we usually make,” Dayton point guard Scoochie Smith said. “It became more mental for us. In the second half, we broke through that mental part of the game. It was a little too late.”

Jan. 17, 2018: St. Joseph's 81, Dayton 65

Five days after what it still maybe the most impressive performance of the Anthony Grant era — a 106-79 victory against VCU at UD Arena — the Flyers fell apart against the Hawks as the Hagan losing streak reached nine. An excerpt from my story:

For the second straight game, the walk-ons had their moment for the Dayton Flyers in the final minutes. Jack Westerfield hit a 3-pointer. Camron Greer hit a 3-pointer. Dalton Stewart almost made a shot at the buzzer.

Unfortunately for Dayton, these were not feel-good exclamation points on a victory — as Joey Gruden’s 3-pointer Friday against Virginia Commonwealth was — but baskets that mattered little to the result. St. Joseph’s dominated Dayton 81-65 on Wednesday, beating the Flyers for the eighth straight time at Hagan Arena.

Westerfield, a junior from Cincinnati St. Xavier who had played a total of seven minutes in his career, entered the game with 7:47 to play with the Flyers trailing by 18. Dayton coach Anthony Grant had seen enough of the starters at that point. Westerfield played the rest of the game.

“Obviously, the game was decided at that point,” Grant said. “I thought Jack came in and played well.”

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