ANALYSIS: Five takeaways from Dayton’s season-opening win

Mike Sharavjamts shows poise in first game of his college career

Mike Sharavjamts wasted no time putting his name in the Dayton Flyers record book and making history for his home country as well.

On Dayton’s first possession of the first game of the season, Sharavjamts made a 3-pointer from the corner in front of the Lindenwood University bench. He shot the ball like a veteran, reacted like a veteran, bouncing backward down the court as a sellout crowd of 13,407 erupted and played like a veteran in a 73-46 victory Monday at UD Arena.

Only three true freshmen have started the season opener for Dayton in the last 11 seasons — Jalen Robinson in 2012, DaRon Holmes II in 2021 and Sharavjamts in 2022 — and only one them has a whole country behind him. That’s how big Sharavjamts is in Mongolia. He became the first NCAA Division I player from that country on Monday.

“It means a lot,” Sharavjamts said, “and it felt good, but I think I’ve got to work on my defensive habits.”

No. 24 Dayton routed a program making its Division I debut and will now play two much tougher opponents in the next eight days: Southern Methodist on Friday at UD Arena; and UNLV on Nov. 15 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Explore» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Lindenwood

First Dayton can celebrate its 18th straight victory in a season opener. Here are five takeaways from game No. 1:

1. Dayton struggled from 3-point range: After Sharavjamts opened the game with a 3-pointer, R.J. Blakney made a 3 on the next possession. Dayton then missed its next 13 3-point attempts before Zimi Nwokeji made one with 7:40 to play.

Mustapha Amzil, who led the Flyers with 14 points mostly by making 7 of 8 free throws, and Sharavjamts made 3-pointers in the final minutes as Dayton finished 5 of 19 (26.3%) from long range.

“Obviously, it wasn’t one of our better shooting nights,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said, “but those were shots that we want our guys taking. I love the fact that we didn’t allow missed shots to impact the intensity that we played with on the defensive end.”

2. Lindenwood was even worse from 3-point range: The Lions shot 20% (4 of 20) from behind the arc. Their leading scorer, Chris Childs, made 2 of 9 and scored 15 points.

Dayton led by as many as 17 points in the first half and had a 35-21 lead at halftime.

“I thought we set the tone defensively,” Grant said. “I thought the first 12 minutes we were really good defensively.”

3. Dayton remains hamstrung by injuries: Malachi Smith sat on the bench with a protective boot on his right foot. Koby Brea and Richard Amaefule were also not in uniform. None of the three are practicing, Grant said, and he still continues to stick to the script by saying there is no timetable for their return.

Kaleb Washington was not at the game. Grant said after the exhibition game against Capital on Oct. 29 he was suspended indefinitely. Grant also said after the game Georgia transfer Tyrone Baker will redshirt.

That leaves Dayton with seven scholarship players at the moment. Walk-on Brady Uhl played 11 minutes in the opener, and three other walk-ons got action in the final minutes: Atticus Schuler; Ty Locklear; and Cole Hatkevich.

4. Lindenwood doubled Holmes almost every time he touched the ball: Holmes scored 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He had two steals, two blocks and five rebounds.

“It was good experience,” Grant said. “We knew coming into the game they were going to do something in the post. We had a size advantage. On a lot of nights this year, he’s going to get different looks in terms of doubles.”

5. The Atlantic 10 Conference went 10-3 on opening night: With all but two of the A-10 teams in action, the only losers were: Rhode Island, which lost Archie Miller’s debut as coach 67-62 at home to Quinnipiac; La Salle, which lost 81-68 at No. 16 Villanova; and George Mason, which lost 70-52 at No. 15 Auburn.

STAR OF THE GAME

Mike Sharavjamts had 10 points, five assists and no turnovers in 28 minutes. He made 2 of 4 3-pointers. He was the only Flyer to make multiple 3-pointers.

STAT OF THE GAME

Dayton outscored Lindenwood 18-2 in fast-break points. Sharavjamts threw a pass to Holmes in the lane for a dunk in the second half. That play brought the loudest cheers of the night.

LOOKING AHEAD

Dayton plays Southern Methodist at 7 p.m. Friday at UD Arena. SMU beat Dayton 77-69 in Dallas last season and s beat the Flyers 66-64 the previous season at UD Arena.

SMU beat Texas A&M-Commerce 77-60 in its season opener Monday.

About the Author