The Dayton Flyers moved within two victories of the fifth undefeated season at home in school history by beating Duquesne 80-70 on Saturday.
Few coaches know the power of a sold-out UD Arena crowd more than Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot, whose dad Sidney played at Duquesne in the early 1950s. Dayton and Duquesne have played regularly since those years.
“I know a lot about Dayton basketball, going back to (Don) Donoher and (Tom) Blackburn,” Dambrot told PittsburghSportsNow.com after the game.
The Flyers are 15-0 at UD Arena. They finished 17-0 in the 2014-15 season. That was the last time they had a perfect record at home.
» GAME STORY: A tale of two halves
The crowd of 13,407, the 12th of 14 sellout crowds this season, made an impact in the second half as Dayton overcame a 38-36 halftime deficit.
“Those are some of the best fans in the country,” Dambrot said, ” and when (the Flyers) don’t have it, those fans make sure they have it.”
Dayton swept the season series from Duquesne for the second straight year. The Dukes rallied to make the first game close in Pittsburgh in January, losing 73-69. This time, they shot 53.3 percent in the first half to build a lead only to shoot 42.9 percent in the second half.
» MILESTONE: Toppin joins 1,000-point club
Duquesne (18-8, 8-6) is tied for fifth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with Saint Louis (19-8, 8-6). Dayton (25-2, 14-0) can clinch a share of the regular-season title by beating George Mason and Davidson in its next two games.
“We just have been consistently inconsistent,” Dambrot said. “We’ve shown we can play with the good teams in the league, but in order to be championship quality, you have to be more consistent than that. We went through stretches where we couldn’t score. They took advantage of that and won the game.”
» PHOTOS: Dayton’s 1,000-point club
Recruiting update: Dayton visited 2021 recruit Alex Fudge on Thursday, according to a report by Jake Weingarten, of Stockrisers.com. He’s a 6-foot-7 small forward from Jacksonville, Fla. who ranks 71st in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports.com.
Looking ahead: Dayton plays at George Mason (14-12, 3-10) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Patriots entered Saturday’s game against Saint Joseph’s with six losses in their last seven games, but that one victory came at Virginia Commonwealth: 72-67 on Feb. 12.
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