Dayton’s last chance for second road win comes at La Salle

Explorers are 9-4 at home and will celebrate Senior Night on Wednesday

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant stopped Jalen Crutcher as Crutcher headed to the bench in the final minute of an 81-56 loss Friday at Rhode Island. The first-year coach and freshman point guard talked briefly before Crutcher took his spot with the other starters, who watched the Rams put the finishing touches on a victory that clinched the outright Atlantic 10 championship.

After the game, Grant called it a teaching moment. On the Anthony Grant Show  on Monday on WHIO Radio, Dayton's coach elaborated on what he hoped his team gained from the experience.

“I look at Rhode Island as a team that had to climb and go through some stuff,” Grant said. “They’ve had to get some scars to be where they are right now. They showed a hunger all year. My thing for our young guys is let’s remember what this feels like.”

» PREVIEW: What you need to know about Dayton vs. La Salle

Dayton may look back on the moment as a positive if it returns to the top of the conference in the coming years. For now, the Flyers (13-15, 7-9) have to be more concerned about falling to the bottom. They’re tied for eighth with two games to play and could earn one of the four lowest seeds in the A-10 tournament if they lose at La Salle (12-17, 6-10) at 7 p.m. Wednesday and at home to George Washington (13-16, 6-10) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Winning either of the games should keep Dayton in the middle of the pack and allow it to avoid playing a first-round game March 7 in Washington, D.C. The reasons Dayton should beat the Colonials on Saturday — it’s a home game and it’s Senior Day — are the same reasons it’s an underdog against the Explorers.

» A-10 PREDICTION: What seed will Dayton get?

• Dayton has won one of its 10 road games. La Salle is 9-4 at Tom Gola Arena.

• The Flyers haven’t won at La Salle in seven years, losing by a total of eight points in their last three trips.

• La Salle will have the extra motivation of wanting to win on Senior Night. It’s honoring four seniors, including an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Candidate, forward B.J. Johnson.

On the other hand, Dayton shouldn’t fear La Salle. The Explorers are tied for 10th place with Duquesne and George Washington. Three of the top five teams in the conference (Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and Virginia Commonwealth) have won at Tom Gola Arena this season.

» NCAA TOURNAMENT: Where Dayton women might be heading

Rhode Island needed overtime to beat La Salle 95-93 on Feb. 20 in the Explorers’ last home game. It was La Salle’s third overtime loss of the season. Johnson had 29 points and 23 rebounds in the game.

La Salle hasn’t won back-to-back games since it started the season with three straight victories. After a 79-68 loss at home to St. Bonaventure on Feb. 13, coach John Giannini told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “We’re playing worse. I think we have some kids who are trying too hard and some that are a bit fragile. We’ve got to get back to work. Our fundamentals are so poor. What makes it more frustrating is that I like my team and I’ve seen us play well. It’s really hard to figure out. From myself to them, something is coming up short. It’s too bad because we have good kids and we have enough good players to win.”


Dayton at La Salle, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sports, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO

About the Author