Each of the three coaches who beat the Dayton Flyers in the Battle 4 Atlantis praised the program after the games.
“I have a ton of respect for Anthony Grant and the job he’s done at Dayton,” Wisconsin’s Greg Gard said Wednesday.
“Anthony has done a tremendous job with that program,” North Carolina State’s Kevin Keatts said Thursday.
“Dayton has a great team,” Brigham Young’s Mark Pope said Friday.
Even the most optimistic fans of the program will see those comments and wonder if they’re just coach-speak because Dayton (3-4) finished last in the eight-team tournament by losing 43-42 to Wisconsin, 76-64 to N.C. State and 79-75 in overtime to BYU.
Here are seven reasons why Dayton lost three games in three days at Imperial Arena.
1. Dayton couldn’t hang on to early leads: Dayton had a 19-9 lead against N.C. State and a 32-9 lead against BYU.
2. Dayton couldn’t get good looks in end-of-game situations: With Dayton trailing by one point, Kobe Elvis had a shot blocked in the final seconds against Wisconsin. Malachi Smith turned his ankle as he drove to the basket in a tie game in the final seconds against BYU and threw up a shot as he fell to the ground.
3. Dayton couldn’t find the touch from long range: The Flyers made 13 of 58 3-pointers in the three games (22.4%). They’re shooting 26.8% on the season. No one has struggled more than R.J. Blakney, who has missed 11 straight 3-pointers in the last five games.
4. The offense took too long to find shots: Dayton had a number of shot-clock violations in the three games and many more possessions in which they got off a desperation shot just before the shot clock expired.
5. Turnovers continue to be an issue: Dayton had 17 turnovers against Wisconsin, 16 against N.C. State and 13 against BYU. The Flyers rank 305th in the country in turnover percentage with turnovers on 22.5% of their possessions.
6. Dayton continues to be short-handed: Koby Brea didn’t make the trip to the Bahamas because of an illness. Elvis left the game against BYU with an apparent knee injury. Smith hurt his ankle later in the same game.
In overtime against BYU, Dayton’s lineup consisted of DaRon Holmes II, Blakney, Mike Sharavjamts, Zimi Nwokeji and Mustapha Amzil.
7. The defense wasn’t good enough in the last two games: After holding Wisconsin to 43 points, Dayton let N.C. State shoot 62.9% (22 of 35) from 2-point range. Then BYU shot 48.1% (13 of 27) from 3-point range.
“What I’m what I’m seeing right now is our ability to really play with anybody in this tournament for small chunks, but it’s always going to be a 40-minute game,” Grant said. “We have to figure out a way to have guys on the floor consistently who can sustain what we are capable of doing both offensively and defensively. We don’t have the stamina right now to sustain it for a full game.”
Western Michigan at Dayton, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 1290, 95.7
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