The Dayton Flyers have been as resilient as they have been inconsistent in the 2018-19 season. Every loss in Atlantic 10 Conference play — most of them coming in devastating or frustrating circumstances — has been followed by a victory.
The Flyers lost 76-71 at Virginia Commonwealth and then beat St. Bonaventure 89-86 in double overtime. They lost 67-63 at home to George Mason and then won big at Fordham on the road. They played one of their worst games of the season in a 73-60 loss at Saint Louis and followed it with one of their best performances, routing Rhode Island 77-48. Dayton suffered a heartbreaking 69-68 loss at home to VCU and then beat Davidson 74-73 on the road.
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If the trend continues, Dayton should play well on Senior Night at 7 p.m. Wednesday against La Salle, but if this season has taught everyone anything, it’s that trends don’t hold up for long.
The Flyers appeared to have turned a corner to more consistency in a three-game winning streak against Davidson, Saint Louis and Massachusetts only to revert to a losing formula — fall behind by double digits early, play catch-up all night and lose in the final minutes — in a 72-70 overtime loss Friday to Rhode Island at UD Arena.
“I think we definitely let that one get away,” Dayton forward Ryan Mikesell said. “We had a chance to kind of control our destiny in terms of that double-bye.”
The Flyers (19-10, 11-5) fell into third place and would have to scoreboard watch Saturday to see where they stood entering the final week of the regular season. Even one victory in the last two games against La Salle and Duquesne could get Dayton a top-four seed in the A-10 tournament, but two victories would likely guarantee it.
“It’s going to be critical,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “The thing you always want to be able to do is control your own destiny, and tonight we had an opportunity to do that. We tried to stress how important it was to not take that for granted.”
Looking ahead: Dayton will honor two seniors Wednesday before the last home game of the season: forward Josh Cunningham and walk-on guard Jack Westerfield.
“We’ve got to play our hearts out, get the W for them, and hopefully they go home happy,” forward Obi Toppin said.
The Explorers (9-18, 7-8) beat Davidson 79-69 in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Their 0-4 on the road against teams with winning A-10 records, losing at Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure.
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