ANALYSIS: Five takeaways from Dayton’s loss to Wisconsin

Dayton can’t overcome its lowest-scoring first half in Anthony Grant’s six seasons

NASSAU, Bahamas — Tournament officials clear Imperial Arena after every game at the Battle 4 Atlantis, so Dayton and Wisconsin fans waited in a line that stretched from the entrance down a long hallway and around the dolphin fountain after Kansas beat North Carolina State in the first game of the day Wednesday.

It was hard to tell who had more fans because everyone was wearing red, though it was the Dayton fans who started chanting: “Let’s go Flyers,” of course.

It was also Dayton fans raising the decibel level in the second half as Wisconsin blew a 10-point lead. The Flyer Faithful fly in droves wherever Dayton travels in November, even if it’s out of the country, as it was this year, and sometimes they’re rewarded for the effort — but not on this day.

Wisconsin (4-0) beat Dayton 43-42 in the first round of the tournament when Max Klesmit blocked a shot by Kobe Elvis in the final seconds.

“I’m disappointed at the result but not with the fight and resolve and resiliency we showed tonight,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said.

Here are five takeaways from the fifth game of the season for Dayton (3-2).

1. This was an ugly night for offense: Wisconsin shot 23.7% from the field and 22.2% (6 of 27) from 3-point range. Dayton shot 30.2% from the field and 14.8% (4 of 27) from 3-point range.

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The Flyers are shooting 26.2% from 3-point range this season. The offense has looked out of sync the last three games, and the return of point guard Malachi Smith in the last two games has not yielded immediate results. The offense is so stagnant at times, shot-clock violations have become common.

“I think if we make shots tonight, it opens up a lot of things for everybody,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “We weren’t able to make shots. Credit to their defense. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this team and its ability. Once we find that rhythm, I think really good things are in store for this group.”

2. The first half was a disaster for Dayton: The Flyers did not score in the final five minutes of the half and trailed 23-14 at halftime. They had almost as many turnovers (10) as points.

The 14-point first-half total was the lowest score for Dayton in a half since a game at Saint Louis in 2016.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

3. The game came down to the final shot: The Flyers never led in the second half but tied the game at one point and had a chance to tie the game again in the final minute when DaRon Holmes stepped to the free-throw line. He made 1 of 2.

Then after a blocked shot by Toumani Camara, Dayton had the ball with a chance to win the game with a basket. But Elvis, who scored 16 points, had his jump shot by Klesmit.

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“It (was) really just trust in the preparation,” Klesmit said. “I knew that they like to go to the slide on screens and get their guards going to their strong hand. So just trying to sit on that as best as I could and guard without fouling at the end.”

4. Turnovers continue to plague the Flyers: Dayton had 24 turnovers in a 60-52 loss on Nov. 15 at UNLV and 17 turnovers in this game. It now ranks 308th in the country in turnover percentage, according to KenPom.com, with turnovers on 22.5% of its possessions.

The Flyers turned the ball over in every imaginable: offensive fouls; traveling; stepping out of bounds, etc. Dayton’s big men, Toumani Camara and DaRon Holmes II, combined for seven turnovers.

5. Mike Sharavjamts’ numbers have taken a hit since the return of Smith: The freshman made 8 of 16 3-pointers in the first three games and has made 1 of 7 in the last two games while coming off the bench. He started the first three games. He missed all five of his shot attempts Wednesday.

STARS OF THE GAME

Kobe Elvis scored 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Connor Essegian led with Wisconsin with 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting. He made 5 of 5 free throws.

STAT OF THE GAME

The teams combined to make 10 of 54 3-pointers. Dayton has yet to top 31 percent in a game this season. Wisconsin shot 42% or better in two of its first three games.

LOOKING AHEAD

Dayton plays North Carolina State (4-1) at 4 p.m. Thursday in the consolation round. The programs have met only once. On Dec. 28, 1959, Dayton won 36-32.

THURSDAY’S GAME

Dayton vs. North Carolina State, 4 p.m., ESPNews, 1290, 95.7

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