This is the second of three straight games against teams Dayton should beat as it tries to improve its record before the start of Atlantic 10 Conference play on Dec. 30 at Duquesne. Penn ranks 144th in the Pomeroy ratings. Dayton is 109th.
“We need to just keep building momentum and confidence in ourselves,” forward Josh Cunningham said, “so we know we can go out and do it.”
Postgame interview: Dayton's Josh Cunningham after beating Tennessee Tech
The Penn-Dayton game is an interesting one because it matches two of the top-50 winningest programs in NCAA history. Through the 2016-17 season, Penn ranked 20th with 1,747 victories. Dayton ranked 41st with 1,610. Penn ranked 37th in winning percentage (.615). Dayton was tied for 49th (.597).
The Quakers were a NCAA tournament regular from 1970-2007, making 22 appearances. The 2006-07 team finished 22-9, and it was the seventh 20-win season in nine years. In the 10 seasons since, Penn has one 20-win season and nine losing seasons. This Penn team returned 81.8 percent of its scoring and has won seven of its last nine games after starting 0-2.
» TENNESSEE TECH GAME: Archdeadon on Kostas | Four reasons Dayton won | Photos
Dayton hopes to continue to make strides on the defensive end. Three of its last four opponents have scored fewer than 70 points. Dayton’s improved zone defense has played a part in that.
“It’s pretty cool,” Cunningham said. “It’s something different. I haven’t played zone much before, but it’s working. I feel it’s one of our strengths. It’s not a normal zone. There’s a lot of different movement. Teams don’t know how to play it. We’ve just got to continue to work on our zone. Sometimes they figure it out, and it kind of takes a minute to catch on to what they’re doing, but when we do, we’re fine.”
Dayton never played a zone in previous seasons under Archie Miller, but Anthony Grant has the Flyers playing zone quite a bit in his first season.
"I think it's helping us," Grant said Wednesday after a 79-66 victory against Tennessee Tech. "I think the other day at Mississippi State it was a factor in us getting back in the game and making a run there. I thought tonight it kept them off balance. We're going to have to be a team that continues to develop both man and zone and continues to get better offensively against man and zone. "
Postgame interview: Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo after beating Tennessee Tech
Penn at Dayton, 3 p.m., NBC Sports Network, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO