Archie Miller puts emphasis on hard work

Scoochie Smith leads the Flyers to the court at the Smith Center before a game against George Washington on Saturday, March 4, 2017. David Jablonski/Staff

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Scoochie Smith leads the Flyers to the court at the Smith Center before a game against George Washington on Saturday, March 4, 2017. David Jablonski/Staff

The Dayton Flyers made history Wednesday, clinching their first outright Atlantic 10 championship with a 79-72 victory against Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena. They can make a lot more this month.

Dayton’s seniors have already set the school record for victories — 102 and counting going into a game Saturday night at George Washington. The team won 15 conference games, which is also a school record. UD also set a school record by averaging 13,018 fans in home games.

Dayton coach Archie Miller sees this team as a group he molded to play as he did in college at North Carolina State.

“You try to coach the game the way you see it through your eyes,” Miller told Lance McAlister on 700 WLW on Thursday. “The way I was brought up playing the game, we were always competing and playing to win. Be tough. Be the hardest-working guy when no one’s around. I try to approach our program that way. Working at it every day is more important than game day, the individual instruction alongside that, and then the development of a style.

“We want to be up-tempo with pace. We want to have skill and versatility. But we also want to be a tough-minded group that is hard to knock out. That’s what this group has really been about through the course of their careers. They’re very resilient.”

Alone among seniors: Sophomore forward Xeyrius Williams made his seventh start Saturday with the four seniors: Scoochie Smith, Kyle Davis, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard.

“It’s a special feeling being trusted out there with some upperclassmen,” Williams said.

Nearing record: Smith played in his 136th career game Saturday. He's two away from tying the record set by Chris Johnson from 2008-12. Smith is one game away from tying Kurt Huelsman and London Warren for consecutive games played. They played in every game from 2006-10.

Bracket update: In his latest bracket update Saturday, ESPN's Joe Lunardi gave the Flyers a No. 7 seed and had them playing No. 10 seed Arkansas in Tulsa with the winner likely earning a second-round matchup against No. 2 seed Baylor.

Conference awards: The A-10 will honors its annual awards on Tuesday. Archie Miller could win his first A-10 Coach of the Year Award.

Next game: Dayton will play at noon Friday in the quarterfinals of the A-10 tournament at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The Flyers will play the winner of the No. 8 vs. No. 9 seed game. Those teams play at noon Thursday.

A-10 results: Some seeds were finalized early Saturday. The A-10 tournament will start with the opening round Wednesday. No. 12 seed Massachusetts (14-17, 4-14) will play No. 13 St. Joseph's (11-19, 4-14) at 6 p.m.

The second opening-round game at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday pits No. 11 Saint Louis (11-20, 6-12) against No. 14 Duquesne (10-21, 3-15).

In the first round Thursday, No. 5 seed St. Bonaventure (19-11, 11-7) will play Saint Louis or Duquesne at 2:30 p.m. The Bonnies beat UMass 80-72 Saturday.

Richmond (19-11, 13-5) beat Saint Louis 72-62 at home Saturday to clinch the No. 3 seed.

After losing at Dayton on Senior Night, VCU bounced back with a 72-60 victory against George Mason on its own Senior Day. The Rams (24-7, 14-4) will be the No. 2 seed in the A-10 tournament.

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