The Hawk will never die. The Dayton Flyers will never win again at Hagan Arena.
Those are two facts of life UD fans know well — along with death, taxes and all that other fun stuff. Dayton’s losing streak at St. Joseph’s reached nine games Wednesday with an 81-65 loss to the Hawks and their flapping mascot.
This game was much closer than 2014 when a team team that would later reach the Elite Eight lost 79-53 at Hagan, and it wasn’t as close as 2016 when a nine-game winning streak ended with a 79-70 defeat.
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What those games had in common with this one was the sense of disappointment the Flyers had. They had a chance to keep momentum going in 2014, in 2016 and again in 2018 and took steps back instead.
“It’s very disappointing,” Dayton forward Josh Cunningham said. “We didn’t come out with the same energy we came out with against VCU. I thought if we came out with the same energy, it could have been the same result. We’ve seen we’ve got to come out with the same energy every night. We can’t take one night off.”
Dayton players criticize their own energy and effort after almost every loss. Coach Anthony Grant does the same.
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Dayton played its best game of the season, if not its best game in years, on Friday, routing Virginia Commonwealth 106-79 and followed that victory and its first two-game winning streak with a performance that saw it fall behind by as many as 28 points in the second half.
Dayton (9-9, 3-3) now has to play the best team in the Atlantic 10, Rhode Island (14-3, 6-0), at 1 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena.
“My message to our team is we don’t have that luxury to not to come out with great energy, great focus and great energy every single night no matter who we’re playing,” Grant said. “Against a good team like this, it gets you down 30 and you get a loss on the road.”