Every time the Dayton Flyers huddle during a timeout, the coaches update the players on their defensive efficiency rating, telling them how many points they are allowing per possession.
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Trey Landers noticed the number improving fast in the second half Tuesday. Virginia Commonwealth called a 30-second timeout with 15 minutes, 26 seconds to play and another one three minutes later. Those play stoppages, combined with two television timeouts, gave Landers a chance to process what his team was doing to the Rams.
“The rate was going down every time,” Landers said, “so we were doing something right. For a decent amount of time, they didn’t score.”
What Landers didn’t know until after the game was just how long VCU played without scoring and just how many points Dayton scored in that span. From the 17:06 mark to the 11:08 mark, Dayton outscored VCU 22-0, turning a tie game into a rout. The Flyers coasted the rest of the way to a 79-65 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 13,407 at UD Arena.
“I didn’t know (about the run),” Landers said. “The gym was getting loud, though. I know that.”
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The No. 13 Flyers (15-2, 4-0) beat VCU for the first time since a 106-79 victory on Jan. 14, 2018. For the moment, this goes down as Dayton’s second-best victory of the season. VCU (12-5, 2-2) ranked 43rd in the NCAA Evaluation Tool entering the game. Virginia Tech, which Dayton beat 89-62 on Nov. 26, ranked 38th.
The Flyers ranked eighth in the NET before the game and moved up even higher in another stats-based ranking after the game, climbing from No. 6 to No. 5 in the Ken Pomeroy ratings. That’s the highest Dayton has ever been.
The 22-0 run decided the game. Here’s a look a by-the-numbers look at that scoring spurt:
11: VCU missed 11 straight shots during Dayton’s run. They shot 40 percent from the field in the second half and missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts.
“The message all year is when we defend, it helps us in a lot of areas,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “That’s what that run was all about.”
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10: Dayton made 10 straight field goals during the run. The Flyers shot 50 percent in each half.
“We lost our discipline,” VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. “We had some bad fouls. We went rogue in our press, and they had some leak outs, easy transition baskets.”
9: Obi Toppin scored nine of his 24 points during the run. He played 33 minutes three days after suffering a sprained ankle. He practiced Monday without incident and was cleared to play. This was the eighth time he has topped 20 points this season.
7: Landers scored seven of his 16 points during the run. He tied Toppin for the team lead with nine rebounds.
Landers and Jalen Crutcher were the only players who appeared in this game who saw action the last time Dayton beat VCU. The Flyers had lost the last four games in the series in the final minute.
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“It feels good, obviously,” Landers said. “It’s a big game for us, but it’s another win to put in our book in conference. That’s all that matters. It’s not about VCU. It’s about winning the A-10. This is another step toward that.”
4: Crutcher had four of his five assists during the run. He finished with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
3: Toppin dunked three times during the run. He has 57 dunks this season and 140 in his career.
“One thing we talk about him is, ‘Once the ball goes up, you’re done,’” VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. “So we got to get to him before that. And, early in the game, we did some good things but then we lost our discipline and it hurt us. He’s a very good player.”
1: Dayton had only one turnover during the six-minute stretch. It finished with a season-high 20 turnovers against VCU’s full-court pressure defense.
“When you turn it over 20 times, it’s hard to win against a team as good as VCU,” Grant said, “but we found a way not only to win but to build a substantial lead in the midst of that. Our guys were able to move on to the next play when something bad happened.
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