The sky didn’t fall for the Dayton Flyers. The sun came up Friday after they lost 80-78 to Nebraska on Thursday, and the sun was warm. It always is in California.
The weather, of course, had nothing to do with how Dayton played in an 84-74 victory Friday over Portland in the consolation bracket of the Wooden Legacy, but it did represent a way of thinking. No matter how bad things look on one day, there’s always another day.
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“I’m really proud of our guys,” Miller said. “Any time you’re in this type of event situation, you can have a win or a loss, but you have a very short amount of time to figure out what you did right and wrong and then you have to move forward, and I thought we did that. Our guys handled a tough loss, a disappointing loss. It was not so much that we lost the game, but everyone understands in our program what we have to be about. On the defensive side, I thought we were much better to start the game. That carried us all the way through.”
Here are five things to know about the victory:
1. Better offense: Dayton shot a season-best 55.4 percent from the field. It has topped 50 percent in each of its three victories but shot 34 percent in a 61-57 loss to Saint Mary’s and 38.1 percent in the loss to Nebraska.
Dayton matched its season high with 19 assists, though it also had a season-high 16 turnovers. Scoochie Smith led the Flyers with seven assists.
“Our guys did a much better job of making the extra pass,” Miller said. “We made three or four passes on multiple possessions, and we also fed the post. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you don’t work it inside out on some level, you’re not going to have an efficient offense because teams are just going to take your perimeter game away. We had better ball movement. We had better reversal, and I thought guys were hunting for the good extra pass as well.”
2. Cooke’s game: Senior guard Charles Cooke led the Flyers with 20 points. He’s averaging 21.2 points per game after averaging 15.6 last season.
“Charles has done a great job of putting together all phases,” Miller said. “He’s taking good shots. He has great range.”
3. Davis stars: Senior guard Kyle Davis scored a total of 14 points in the first four games and matched that number with a season high Friday.
“I’ve just been trying to help the team more on defense and not focus on offense,” Davis said. “Today I helped on defense, and my offense got clicking, too.”
4. Williams scores: Sophomore forward Xeyrius Williams scored 15 points Thursday and 14 on Friday. He scored a total of two points in the first three games.
5. Opposing viewpoint: Portland hung around for most of the game but never got closer than six points in the last 15 minutes. The Pilots fell to 3-2. They lost their opener at the Wooden Legacy 99-77 to UCLA.
“Dayton came out on fire during the first half and caught us off guard a little bit,” Portland coach Terry Porter said. “We worked our way back in the game during the second half, but all in all, give them credit. They are an experienced team that has a lot of seniors. They gel well together and at times did a great job of knocking us off our rhythm.”
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