Video: Dayton's cold start as it falls behind 10-0 at Saint Louis
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Dayton Flyers: Three things advanced stats tell us about the team

Toppin has replaced Cunningham as main scoring threat

Some of the stats can be found elsewhere on the internet. Some only exist in this packet. All together, they paint a picture of a 2018-19 team that continues to confound its fans.

» SAINT LOUIS GAME: Five takeawaysTwenty photosNotes

The Flyers (15-8) are a top-100 team, according to the Ken Pomeroy ratings (No. 81) and the NCAA Evaluation Tool (No. 95). They are a top-four team in the Atlantic 10 Conference at the moment, tied for third with George Mason (13-10) at 7-3, two games back of Davidson (17-5, 8-1) and a half began behind VCU (16-6, 7-2).

While Dayton has avoided losing to the worst teams on its schedule, it has beaten only one team ranked above it in the Pomeroy or NET rankings — Butler (No. 55 in both) — and that victory doesn’t look as good now as it did then. The Bulldogs are 13-10 and tied for fifth in the Big East at 4-6.

Dayton's Josh Cunningham grabs a loose ball in the final minute of the first half against Saint Louis on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Here’s what else the “big stats” tell us about the Flyers:

1. Changing stars: Obi Toppin leads Dayton in scoring in the last five games (18.4) and in the last 10 games (13.3).

Josh Cunningham’s numbers have fallen in recent weeks. He averaged 13.8 points per game in November, 17.8 in December and 13.3 in January. In the last five games, he’s averaging 9.6 points per game, the fourth-best number on the team.

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“I think going into games we know they’re probably going to double on him or apply some sort of pressure to make it difficult on him,” said Dayton forward Ryan Mikesell on Tuesday after a 73-60 loss at Saint Louis. “I think it would help some if we make some 3s to open that up. Just have an awareness when he’s on the court to get some him easy ones early to try to get him going because he is our best player and when he’s on, he’s definitely a force.”

2. Late fades: In two of its three A-10 losses — against George Mason and VCU — Dayton had the lead in the final three minutes. While Dayton also played well in the final minutes in victories against George Washington, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s and Duquesne, in general, taking into account the whole season, it has not been at its best at the end of games.

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Dayton has been outscored 11.6-10.8 in the last five minutes of games. It has been outscored 6.0-5.6 in the last two minutes. The Flyers have shot 26.2 percent from 3-point range in the last five minutes of games. Its overall average is 32.1.

Dayton’s Dwayne Cohill, left, and graduate assistant coach Matthew Sweet leave the court after a victory against Duquesne on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, at UD Arena.
Photo: Staff Writer

3. Better production: Mikesell led Dayton in the plus-minus stat for most of the season, but now it’s Dwayne Cohill on top, at least if you factor in minutes played. Dayton has outscored opponents by 98 points when Cohill’s on the court, and that translates to a team-best 11.82 points per 40 minutes. Mikesell ranks second (8.56 per 40 minutes).

Here’s how the other regulars rank: Toppin (7.24); Trey Landers (5.21); Jordan Davis (4.98); Jalen Crutcher (4.86); and Josh Cunningham (4.51).

Cohill has made 4 of 6 3-pointers in the last five games after making 3 of 17 in the first 18 games. On the season, he’s averaging 3.7 points in 14.5 minutes per game. He has averaged 5.8 points in the last five games.

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