If the Dayton Flyers had beaten George Mason on Wednesday, they would have moved into a four-way tie for first place at 5-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference with Saint Louis, Davidson and Duquesne.
Instead, a 67-63 loss at UD Arena dropped Dayton to 4-2 and into a three-way tie for fifth with Virginia Commonwealth and Rhode Island.
In that the victory came on the road in an arena where Dayton had won seven straight conference games, this ranks as one of the biggest wins by any A-10 team this season. George Mason (12-8, 6-1) sits alone in first place by a half game and has won three straight games by five points or fewer, while Dayton (12-7) has gone 3-2 in a stretch of five games decided by six points or fewer.
“That was a great win and a gritty effort,” George Mason coach Dave Paulsen told GoMason.com. “Our guys played so well defensively, especially down the stretch. What I liked is when we got down late, there was no panic in our guys. We came down, executed and got some good shots. It’s very gratifying for our guys.”
Shooting struggles: Jordan Davis has always been told to keep shooting when the shots aren’t falling. It helped him break out of a slump earlier in the season, and he almost single-handedly shot Dayton to victories against George Washington and Massachusetts, scoring 46 points and making 13 of 19 3-pointers in those games.
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Davis stuck to the plan of shooting his way out of a cold start Wednesday, and it did eventually work. After sitting on the bench for an eight-minute stretch in the second half, he made two 3-pointers late in the game. However, he missed his first seven 3-pointers and finished 2 of 10 from outside the arc.
“That’s basketball,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’s been so hot from the 3-point line, and he got some looks tonight that didn’t go in. I guess the natural tendency is you get frustrated, but the game doesn’t allow for that. You’ve got to be able to quickly move on to the next play, and you can’t let something that happened on one end impact the next play, and that happened tonight to him and several other guys where one play impacted the next two or three, and Mason held us accountable and were able to get a win because we had too many of those over the course of a game”
Wardrobe mystery: Anyone wondering why Dayton coach Anthony Grant wore a suit coat with no tie Saturday at St. Bonaventure got an answer Monday during the Anthony Grant Show on WHIO Radio. A fan asked Grant about his new look. Grant laughed when he got the question.
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“I told my wife somebody was going to bring it up,” Grant said. “I knew it. Here’s the story, I get to Olean on Saturday around noon and open up my suit bag and get ready to iron my clothes, and there’s no shirt, so I had to get creative. We just went with the T-shirt and jacket. I picked up the phone and called Neil (Sullivan) and said, ‘Neil, I apologize. It’s going to be a little different look on the sideline in case you get any emails. It was an accident. It’s not on purpose.’”
Looking ahead: Dayton plays at Fordham (9-10, 0-6) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bronx, N.Y. The Rams have lost three straight games to Saint Louis, George Mason and La Salle by a total of eight points.
The Flyers lead the all-time series 30-5 and have won 14 straight games against the Rams, including six straight at Rose Hill Gym.
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