Travis Ford painted a picture of woe for the Saint Louis Billikens in the days leading up to their matchup with the Dayton Flyers. Not only had his team lost four games in a row in Atlantic 10 Conference play after a 5-0 start, it was also battling injury problems that threatened to derail the rest of the season.
“We’re thin, to say the least,” Ford told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s probably the thinnest I’ve ever been in 23 years as a college coach. Whoever is dressed out will play. It may be six guys in uniform, maybe seven. No more than that.”
FIVE TAKEAWAYS: Poor rebounding hurts Dayton in loss
Saint Louis had seven players in action Tuesday at Chaifetz Arena, including leading scorer Javon Bess, who was fighting an ankle injury, and all seven played a role in beating Dayton 73-60. Everyone had at least three points. Everyone grabbed at least one rebound.
D.J. Foreman led Saint Louis with 18 points and nine rebounds. Bess added 14 points.
Dayton (15-8, 7-3) needed the victory to keep pace with the contenders. Saint Louis (15-8, 6-4) needed a victory to stop the bleeding in a season spinning out of control. It beat Dayton in St. Louis for the second straight season. The teams meet again in Dayton on Feb. 23.
“I’m just so proud of how hard they played,” Ford said. “They played with almost a desperation and were making plays, and everyone did it. Everyone made a big play at some point.”
Shooting woes: After missing their first nine 3-pointers against Duquesne on Saturday in a 68-64 victory, Dayton missed its first 10 3-pointers in this game.
» TWENTY PHOTOS: Best shots from Tuesday’s game
Dwayne Cohill ended the slump in the first game and did it again in this one. His 3-pointer from the corner in the final seconds of the first half gave Dayton a brief glimmer of hope, cutting what had been a 20-point lead to 34-22 at halftime.
Dayton made 3 of 16 3-pointers (18.8 percent). That’s its third-worst mark of the season. Jalen Crutcher made 1 of 6. Ryan Mikesell made 1 of 5.
“A lot of our shots are good shots,” Mikesell said. “We’re taking open 3s. In practice, we’re getting extra reps. It’s just a matter of knocking it down. We’ll just continue to work.”
Looking ahead: Dayton plays at Rhode Island (12-9, 5-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Rams began the week tied for sixth with Saint Louis. They play at first-place Davidson (16-5, 7-1) on Wednesday.