The Dayton Flyers had not won a game when scoring 52 points or less since 1937 — or not long after metal rims replaced peach baskets.
Coach Louis Tschudi must have shook his head in 1934 when UD beat Toledo 31-28 in overtime, though his offense showed a little more life after losing 45-27 to Ohio State in the previous game.
It was a different game then, but the current Flyers, with a little help from the Saint Louis Billikens, turned back the clock Tuesday night. No. 22 Dayton (22-5, 12-3) stopped a two-game losing streak with a 52-49 overtime victory. It was the lowest score in a Dayton victory since that game in 1934.
“Things haven’t been really pretty at times,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said Tuesday. “This one counts just as much as the next.”
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The Flyers return to action at noon Saturday against Rhode Island (15-13, 7-8) at UD Arena. While it appears unlikely Dayton junior forward Kendall Pollard will play, as he’s still fighting a knee injury, the Rams have their own injury problems.
Rhode Island’s third-leading scorer Hassan Martin (12.1 points per game) might miss the rest of the season with tendinitis in his knee, the Providence Journal reported Wednesday. Martin did play Tuesday in a 65-54 loss at Davidson, but guard Christion Thompson (4.0 points per game) missed the game with a concussion.
The Flyers beat the Rams 68-66 on Feb. 12. That was the last of nine straight victories. They started a new winning streak Tuesday but did not look like a team capable of a run in the Atlantic 10 or NCAA tournaments.
Shooting woes have contributed to Dayton’s malaise. In the last three games, the Flyers have made 19 of 77 3-pointers (24.6 percent). They made 23 of 49 (46.9 percent) in the three games before that. In 27 games, they’re shooting 34.6 percent.
Junior guard Charles Cooke, the most dependable and consistent player most of the season, has struggled more than most. He has made of 4 of 22 3-pointers (18.2 percent) in the last five games. Sophomore guard Darrell Davis has made 3 of 15 3-pointers (20 percent) in the last three games.
“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.
The Flyers have other ills — free throws, Steve McElvene’s constant foul trouble, defensive lapses, turnovers — but the game will get a lot easier if they can get some shots to fall.
“We’re not shooting the ball particularly well,” Miller said. “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 (victory) than the alternative.”