Dayton Flyers forward Ryan Mikesell summed up what every Dayton fan who glanced at the box score was thinking after an 82-72 loss at Auburn on Dec. 8.
“If we just take care of the ball a little bit more, maybe it’s a couple possession game,” Mikesell said.
Dayton shot the ball better than the No. 8 Tigers and won the rebounding battle but never led and trailed by double digits for the majority of the game. The Flyers struggled because they didn’t take care of the ball. They committed 23 turnovers: 16 in the first half and seven in the second.
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Some of that had to do with Auburn, which ranks third in the nation in turnovers forced per game (20.7), but Dayton could blame only itself for many of the miscues. Fourteen turnovers were the result of leaving passes short, overthrowing teammates or passing into traffic.
Mikesell looked back at one in particular that led to an easy basket.
“I knew they were going to try to steal that pass,” he said. “He got a deflection. We started to come back, and he went and got an easy dunk. I definitely wish I had that one back. You live and you learn. Hopefully, I don’t make that mistake again.”
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The Flyers likely had to relive many of the turnovers in film sessions this week. Here’s a rundown of what they saw, quick summary of the 23 turnovers after watching the replay of the game:
No. 1, 19:04: On Dayton's first possession, it makes nine passes — all outside the 3-point line — before Jalen Crutcher shoots a deep 3-pointer as the shot clock expires. It's an airball.
No. 2, 18:36: Josh Cunningham throws a short pass to Mikesell, who's closely guarded outside the 3-point line. He can't handle the pass, and it goes out of bounds.
No. 3, 17:52: Jordan Davis leaves a pass short to Cunningham. It's deflected by an Auburn player. Cunningham dives on the floor to try to regain possession and hits his head on an Auburn player's knee. It's the third turnover in the first three possessions.
No. 4, 16:38: Although Trey Landers gets credit for this turnover, it was a bounce pass by Obi Toppin into traffic in the paint that led to it. Landers never gets a hold of the ball. He loses it out of bounds under the basket.
No. 5, 16:19: Crutcher tries to make a long pass to start a fast break. It's picked out of the air by Auburn.
No. 6, 15:26: After Toppin misses a free throw, Mikesell does a good job getting the rebound but has the ball stripped in the paint.
No. 7, 14:17: Jared Harper steals the ball from Landers. It's one of 10 steals by Auburn.
No. 8, 13:32: Harper comes up with another steal, this time after Davis dribbles into trouble.
No. 9, 13:10: After Dayton falls behind 17-4 and calls a timeout, it turns the ball over on its next possession. Crutcher jumps to throw a pass to the corner. It's deflected and stolen.
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No. 10, 12:02: Cunningham travels while trying to make a post move.
No. 11, 6:44: This turnover, the one Mikesell was talking about above, came more than five minutes after the previous turnover. During that stretch, Dayton trimmed a 19-6 deficit to 23-19. Mikesell throws an in-bounds pass from the baseline to Crutcher near the 3-point line. It's stolen by Auburn.
No. 12, 6:25: Dwayne Cohill throws a pass that's tipped before it gets to Cunningham, who's cutting to the basket. It hits his hands and goes out of bounds.
No. 13, 2:43: With Dayton trailing 37-29, Crutcher makes a shot, but it comes just after the shot-clock buzzer. It goes down as a turnover instead.
No. 14, 2:01: Crutcher, who finishes with a career-high seven turnovers, throws a pass to the corner to Landers, but Landers has already cut to the basket. The ball sails into the crowd.
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No. 15, 1:17: Crutcher throws a bounce pass to Cunningham, who has the ball knocked away just as he's trying to catch it.
No. 16, 0:46: Mikesell puts up a short shot at the rim, has it blocked, gets it back but loses it out of bounds.
No. 17, 17:32: Auburn intercepts Cunningham's bounce pass to Davis.
No. 18, 17:19: Davis is whistled for a questionable charge call on a fast break.
No. 19, 16:50: After catching a pass from Davis, Crutcher puts the ball on the floor. It hits his foot and rolls out of bounds.
No. 20, 11:50: Dayton cuts a 16-point deficit to 61-54 thanks to a five-minute stretch without a turnover. That ends here as Crutcher jumps to shoot a 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring and decides at the last second to throw a pass to Mikesell. He throws it out of bounds instead.
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No. 21, 10:04: Cohill overthrows Toppin on a short pass with no defenders in the vicinity.
No. 22, 8:47: Cohill again overthrows a teammate on a short pass. He leaves the game after this one and is consoled by coach Anthony Grant.
No. 23, 6:59: Toppin tries to connect with a teammate on the baseline but throws it out of bounds.
Dayton vs. Tulsa, 3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO
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