ANALYSIS: Five takeaways from Dayton’s victory vs. Duquesne

Flyers have won 10 straight games against Dukes at UD Arena

The stars of the game always get to talk at the postgame press conferences for the Dayton Flyers. DaRon Holmes II and R.J. Blakney, who combined for 39 points in a 69-57 victory against Duquesne, received the honors Wednesday at UD Arena, but they reserved most of their praise for coach Anthony Grant’s wife Chris, who cooked for the whole team on Christmas night at the arena.

“My favorite was the dessert,” Holmes said. “She made these cupcakes. Oh my god. I didn’t want to be selfish.”

Holmes saved some for his teammates, including Blakney, who couldn’t pick just one dish when asked about his favorite item.

“All of it, man,” Blakney said.

The Flyers returned to campus Sunday after celebrating the holiday with their families and had a shootaround that night at the arena. They practiced Monday and Tuesday and then started their 18-game journey in the Atlantic 10 Conference against one of the league’s most improved teams.

Here are five takeaways from Dayton’s 14th game:

1. The Flyers remain perfect at home: Dayton (9-5) won its fourth straight game overall, its eighth straight at UD Arena this season and its 10th straight game against Duquesne (9-4) at UD Arena. They Flyers scored the first 10 points of the game and never trailed.

“It was a great opportunity to start A-10 play at home,” Grant said, “and we wanted to make sure we did a good job setting the tone today. I thought our guys did that early in the game. Duquesne, obviously, had a very impressive non-conference performance in terms of what they were able to accomplish, and we knew that this would be a very challenging game.”

2. Holmes dominated early and late: Dayton’s leading scorer tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds. He scored six points in the game-opening 10-0 run. He made 9 of 12 shots from the field and 4 of 4 free throws.

“I think we played decent coming back from Christmas break,” Holmes said. “Our team executed pretty well. We could have played better all around, but I feel like we did what we needed to do today.”

3. R.J. Blakney delivered his best offensive performance of the season: Blakney made 3 of 4 3-pointers and scored 17 points. He had 12 points in the first half as Dayton built a 37-32 halftime lead.

This was Blakney’s highest scoring total since he had a career-high 19 on Dec. 12, 2021, against Virginia Tech. He has scored in double figures four times in the last six games after doing so once in the first eight games.

“We always say R.J. is one of those old-school shooting guards, like Clyde Drexler,” Holmes said. “He can fly through the air and play really good defense. He does it all.”

4. Dayton overcame major turnover issues: At one point in the first half, Dayton had 12 made field goals and 12 turnovers — three on offensive fouls on three straight possessions. It had 14 turnovers in the first half and 19 in the game. Mike Sharavjamts led the team with six turnovers.

“Just mental errors,” Blakney said. “We just had to slow it down, secure the ball first and then make the play next. That’s what we did in the second half. We limited the turnovers and continued to build that lead.”

5. Duquesne’s A-10 struggles continue: The Dukes won their A-10 opener a year ago but then lost their last 16 league games. They entered this game with the second-best non-conference mark in the league. Unlike most seasons, the Dukes don’t get another chance against Dayton. The Flyers don’t make a return trip to Pittsburgh for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Dayton held Duquesne’s leading scorer, Miami RedHawks transfer Dae Dae Grant (17.2 points per game), to eight points, his lowest total since the second game of the season. The Flyers also had 14 offensive rebounds to Duquesne’s seven.

“They’re one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country,” Grant said, “and several guys really put pressure on you with the way they score the basketball. Defensively, they have ability to turn you over and get out in transition. So those were keys for us tonight.”


DaRon Holmes II improved his season scoring average to 18.0 points per game. He has topped 20 points in four straight games, the longest streak of his career. He dunked four times. He leads the nation with 38 dunks.


Dayton has held four straight opponents below 60 points. It’s the first time that has happened since December 2009 when the opponents were George Mason, Old Dominion, Presbyterian and Appalachian State.


Dayton (9-5) plays Davidson (8-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C. Davidson beat Fordham 57-43 on Wednesday in Bronx, N.Y., in the other A-10 opening-night game.

Dayton has won five straight games in the series with Davidson. That includes an 89-78 overtime victory at Davidson in 2021 and an 82-76 victory at UD Arena in the regular-season finale last season.


Dayton at Davidson, 2 p.m., ESPN+, 1290, 95.7

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