The Hokies left for the Big East Conference after five seasons in the A-10 and then joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004. That’s why Dayton had not played in Blacksburg for 22 years.
If the final score Wednesday is any indication, that’s not such a bad thing. Dayton lost 77-49 to Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum, where it is 0-6 all time, and fell to 5-5 in a season that has so far been the most disappointing in recent memory.
“They just played harder than us,” Dayton guard Koby Brea said. “They brought a level of physicality to the game that we just weren’t able to match. It kind of overwhelmed us a little bit.”
Here are five takeaways from Dayton’s 10th game, which goes down as its most lopsided loss since a 90-61 defeat at the hands of Xavier in the final game of the Advocare Invitational in 2015.
1. Dayton played well in the first five minutes: The Flyers built a 10-4 lead with four points from DaRon Holmes II and two each from Mike Sharavjamts, R.J. Blakney and Toumani Camara. The Flyers attempted only one 3-pointer in that span and grabbed three offensive rebounds on one possession.
2. Virginia Tech took over the game in the last 15 minutes of the first half: Former Wright State forward Grant Basile, now in his first season at Virginia Tech, had outscored Dayton 20-18 at one point in the first half. He scored 20 of his 23 points before halftime.
Basile led a 16-0 run that turned a 24-18 lead into a 40-18 advantage. The Hokies (9-1) led 42-21 at halftime. Sean Pedulla scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half.
“They’re a really good offensive team,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “They got it going in the first half. Grant Basile got it going. We knew Pedulla was going to be dangerous as well. Defensively, they’re a tough (team to) guard, and I thought offensively, some of the things we did after the first 10 minutes helped them extend the lead.”
3. Grant tried some new things with the rotation: Entering this game, Kaleb Washington had played one minute in one appearance, and Richard Amaefule had played three minutes in three games. Neither saw action Saturday in an 80-74 victory against Southeastern Louisiana.
In this game, Washington and Amaefule entered the game in the first 10 minutes. Washington played just under 16 minutes, and Amaefule played just under 11. Washington had three points and one rebound. Amaefule missed both of his shot attempts and didn’t score or grab a rebound.
“It was good to see some guys come off the bench and play with energy and play with effort when given the opportunity,” Grant said. “All I’m looking for right now is opportunities for us to continue to build under the current makeup of our team and continue to try to get better and move forward with these last few games we have in the non-conference to get prepared for the conference play here in late December.”
Asked if he was looking toward this game as an opportunity for those two players after they didn’t play in the last game, Grant said, “The thing that we’re looking to do is learn our team and figure out what we have and who we can count on. A lot of those guys have been injured most of the non-conference. It’s been difficult to get any kind of consistency in terms of practice. Today was an opportunity.”
4. Dayton’s shooting struggles continue: Dayton made 3 of 15 3-pointers (20%). It’s the fourth time in the last six games it has shot 20% or worse.
“It’s kind of hard right now because so much attention is being drawn to the post, and we go to our bigs a lot,” Brea said. “They’re kicking it out to us. Right now, we’re just not able to hit those shots, but hopefully they’ll start to fall.”
5. History lesson: This was Dayton’s first game at Cassell Coliseum since March 4, 2000. In the final game of that season, the Flyers lost 64-52. They had one basket in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
That was Dayton’s fifth loss in Blacksburg in five seasons while Virginia Tech was in the A-10. The Flyers were 3-2 against the Hokies at UD Arena during the stretch.
STAR OF THE GAME
Grant Basile scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He made 4 of 9 3-pointers. He also blocked four shots and grabbed 10 rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME
Virginia Tech shot 56.3% from the field (18 of 32) in the first half, while Dayton shot 24.3% (9 of 37).
Dayton plays UNC Asheville (6-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena. This will be the first meeting between the two schools. Dayton is 10-0 against the Big South Conference.
Asheville ranks 193rd in the NCAA Evaluation Tool. Dayton is No. 159. Asheville beat Warren Wilson College, a Division III program, 122-70 on Wednesday.