Flyers off the bubble with big win at VCU

Dayton coach Archie Miller yelled, “Hell yeah, baby!” as he entered the locker room after a 59-55 victory over Virginia Commonwealth at the Siegel Center.

Where does this victory rank in the Miller era? It’s behind the three NCAA tournament victories but on a par with the win in Saint Louis last season. In other words, it’s near the top of the list.

If Dayton didn’t earn a berth in the NCAA tournament with this victory, it stuck one foot and two arms in the door. On Twitter after the game, a Dayton fan asked ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi what the victory does for the Flyers.

“Is Dayton officially in and off the bubble???” the fan asked.

“Yes,” Lunardi said.

The Rams (21-8, 11-5) ranked 13th in the RPI before the game. Dayton (22-6, 12-4) ranked 35th. According to, Dayton jumped to 28th with the victory. The NCAA selection committee smiles on teams that can win tough games on the road. The Flyers finally have that victory.

Dayton seeks its first back-to-back NCAA tournament berths since 2003 and 2004. Senior Jordan Sibert knows how much that would mean.

“I love my team!!!” he wrote on Twitter after the game. “Giving God all the praise because without him there is no us!! Let’s keep flying!!”

Front-row seats: Dayton fans Jeff Morley and Krissi Straszheim-Morley sat in the front row on the baseline and held up signs throughout the game. One read, "UD made him." The other one read, "VCU saved him."

The signs refer to the Morley’s 7-year-old son Jack. It was his birthday Saturday, and a local company, KPMG, gave Jack and the whole family front-row tickets.

Jeff, a 1999 UD grad, and Krissi, a 2000 grad, met at UD and moved to Richmond in 2007. He’s originally from Eaton. She’s from Warren.

Jack was born in Richmond in 2008. He was diagnosed in December 2014 with a Wilms’ tumor, a rare type of childhood kidney cancer. He had a 2.5-pound tumor removed on Dec. 9 at VCU’s Children’s Hospital and underwent radiation. He’s undergoing chemotherapy until April 24.

Jack had one side of his head painted in UD colors and the other in VCU colors. The signs tell the story. Jack and his family are big fans of both schools for different reasons.”Hard to root against VCU since they saved his life,” Jeff said

Final week: In the last week of the regular season, the Flyers host Rhode Island at 7 p.m. Tuesday and then play at La Salle at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Rhode Island (20-7, 12-4) beat La Salle 59-56 on Saturday in Philadelphia to stay in a first-place tie with Dayton. La Salle (15-14, 7-9) has lost three games in a row.

Davidson hosted George Washington on Saturday night, needing a victory to also stay in first place.

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