- By David Jablonski Staff Writer
The Atlantic 10 schedule has proven to be every bit as difficult for the Dayton Flyers as it appeared it would be Dec. 30 when they lost their opener 70-62 at Duquesne.
Dayton (10-12, 4-6) has lost four of its last five games. That’s its worst five-game stretch since 2014 when it lost five of its first six games in the A-10. While that team regrouped in February and made an Elite Eight run in March, the chances of history repeating itself are slim.
Dayton’s players will try to put all that out of their minds as they prepare for a rematch with Duquesne (15-9, 6-5). at 7 p.m. Wednesday at UD Arena.
“You’ve got to be positive,” Dayton guard Trey Landers said, “but it’s tough when you’re losing. It’s all about flushing the (last) game and clearing your mind, which is a hard thing for us. We like to compete. With us losing, it doesn’t make anything better.”
Dayton is tied for eighth with George Mason, La Salle and St. Joseph’s. The Flyers are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“When you look at the conference standings, Rhode Island (19-3, 11-0) sits alone with an undefeated record,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Then you’ve got teams with three losses, four losses and in our case, six losses. But there’s a logjam there where anything can happen with eight games left. We’ve just got to make sure we take care of ourselves and try to get better and improve.”
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Dayton has improved in certain areas, most notably in its shooting numbers, over the course of the season and regressed or showed no improvement in others, particularly on the defensive end. Here’s a glance at how its numbers compare in the first three months:
• Field-goal percentage: November (six games, 45.5); December (seven games, 45.7); January (eight games, 52.3).
• 3-point shooting percentage: 33.3; 31.7; and 38.1.
• Free-throw percentage: 72.8; 69.8; and 78.2.
• Turnovers: 12.2; 14.9; and 13.6.
• Field-goal percentage defense: 44.3; 46.3; and 45.6.
• 3-point defense: 34.9; 38.7; and 38.7.
Duquesne remains the most improved team in the A-10 but has lost five of its last eight after a 4-1 start in league play. In the last eight games, the Dukes have lost three games by four points or fewer and four games to teams in the top five of the standings.
“I’m not going to let it rain on my parade,” said Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot on Saturday after an 84-81, last-second loss at home to St. Bonaventure. “Who would have thunk it? Who would have thunk that Duquesne could be one of the better teams in the league?”
Duquesne at Dayton, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sports, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO