Newsletter: Dayton earns a longer stay in Brooklyn

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Dayton earns a longer stay in Brooklyn

Most of the Atlantic 10 Conference teams, including the Dayton Flyers, are staying at the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge this week. It’s a short walk from one of the most famous bridges in the world, though coaches and players on “business trips” — a phrase they love to use — may not see it except from behind the windows of a bus. Today could be the rare exception. For the first time in A-10 history, the four semifinalists get a day off before playing in the semifinals Saturday.

» A-10 TOURNAMENT DIARY: Day 3 in Brooklyn | Day 2 | Day 1

That day off includes practices at the Barclays Center and press conferences for the four coaches and two players from each school. Dayton’s Anthony Grant, DaRon Holmes II and Koby Brea will speak to the media today. I will be there. No. 2 seed Dayton extended my stay in Brooklyn with a 60-54 victory against No. 10 Saint Joseph’s on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

My son Chase, 4, got up Thursday and said to my wife Barbara, “Daddy’s not home yet?!” Maybe he’s used to quick tournament exits or was just hoping to get the toy I bought for him earlier, but the Flyers have now won their first A-10 tournament game three years in a row after losing their first game in 2017, 2018 and 2019. They have not won two games in the tournament since 2015.

Dayton’s path to the A-10 championship game Sunday goes through No. 3 seed Fordham, a team Dayton beat 82-58 at Rose Hill Gym in January. Fordham did not have much of a home-court advantage in that game on its home court but will have the edge in the semifinals Saturday with thousands of fans making the trek from the Bronx.

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Saint Joseph’s

Wayne High School graduate Darius Quisenberry, a fifth-year senior guard who led the Rams with 22 points in a 69-61 victory against No. 11 seed La Salle, talked about that fan support after the game.

“Them bringing Rose Thrill to the Barclays Center, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “You can see the alumni, the whole community and the students just bring energy the whole game.”

A big moment for Brady Uhl

Walk-on guard Brady Uhl made Dayton’s first 3-pointer Thursday after the team missed its first nine attempts. That started an 11-0 run with Uhl on the court. I knew immediately Dayton Daily News columnist Tom Archdeacon would write about Uhl if Dayton won. He waited between the locker room and the team bus in the bowels of the Barclays Center so he wouldn’t miss Uhl.

» ARCHDEACON: Walk-on Uhl helps send Flyers to A-10 semis

The 3-pointer was Uhl’s only shot of the game. He also had an assist in seven minutes. He has now made 3 of 6 3-pointers in 16 appearances this season. With Dayton missing Mike Sharavjamts and Kobe Elvis because of injuries, Uhl got his chance.

Uhl delivered the best postseason performance by a Dayton walk-on since Bobby Wehrli scored eight points in 20 minutes in the semifinals of the A-10 tournament in 2015.

“When you’re in the position I am, you have to stay ready,” Uhl told Archdeacon. “And if you’re bummed out that you didn’t get to play, that doesn’t matter. It’s about the team. At the end of the day, I’m part of a team that’s something bigger than just me.”

A look back at every Dayton A-10 tournament game

I flew into JFK airport on Wednesday and checked into an AirBnB studio apartment on the way to the Barclays Center. It’s a bit cheaper than a hotel room, though I’m a 1½-mile walk from the arena. It’s a cute place once you get past the rickety staircase. I get to feel like a Brooklynite for a few days. On the advice of former Dayton guard Scoochie Smith, a famed New Yorker, I stopped to get a chopped cheese sandwich at a deli on my first walk through the Crown Heights neighborhood. It was delicious. I need to get another one today.

Before leaving for New York, in an attempt to provide the most content possible on and make those subscriptions worth it for everyone, I put together a long story looking back at all 51 A-10 tournament games Dayton had played prior to this one. I copied and pasted from the game stories of former UD beat writers Bucky Albers and Doug Harris and my own stories.

Albers covered the tournament 11 times (1996-2006). Harris covered the tournament seven times (2007-13). I was lucky enough to get the beat when Harris retired before the 2013-14 season. This is my 10th tournament if you count the canceled 2020 event. This is my seventh trip to the Barclays Center: six for the A-10 tournament and one for A-10 Media Day last fall. I’ve now stayed north, south, east and west of the arena in a different place every time.

Hopefully, I get a chance to run over the Brooklyn Bridge as I do every time, but tonight I’m going to cheat on the A-10 by going to the Big East semifinals at Madison Square Garden. I’ve never seen Obi Toppin’s home from the inside. I was fortunate to get a credential at the last minute. I figure it’ll be a scouting mission for my AP poll on Monday, though Fordham is moving closer to getting my vote.

Fast Break

Each week, I’ll spotlight news from around the A-10 or other news that might interest Flyer fans.

🏀 Saint Louis delivered the most dominant performance of the A-10 tournament Thursday with a rout of George Mason.

🏀 VCU also impressed in the quarterfinals with a rout of Davidson.

🏀 The guys from the 3 Bid League podcast are covering the tournament all week. Here’s their show from Thursday.

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