Dayton one of three teams in A-10 without back-to-back wins

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Highlights of 62-60 loss Saturday at the Arena

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Fans of the Dayton Flyers have enjoyed this basketball season about as much as they enjoy shoveling the driveway. If it’s any consolation, they have company in their misery. The Atlantic 10 Conference is a dumpster fire or a hot mess — pick your favorite negative metaphor — and NCAA tournament hopes are the fueling the flames.

If Rhode Island (11-3, 3-0) wins the Atlantic 10 tournament, the conference likely will be a one-bid league just four years after sending six teams to the big dance. St. Bonaventure (11-4, 1-2) was on the bubble in the latest projections by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm, but the Bonnies have lost back-to-back games to Dayton (7-8, 1-2) and St. Joseph’s (7-7, 2-1) — not a good sign with 15 games still to play in the conference gauntlet.

Dayton falls into a small group of A-10 teams that haven’t won two games in row all season. Fordham (6-9, 1-2) is one of those teams. Dayton’s opponent on the road at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Richmond (3-12, 1-2), is the third.

» PREVIEW: What you need to know about Tuesday’s game

Entering the second full week of conference play, nine teams are tied for last at 1-2, including the teams picked second (St. Bonaventure) and fifth (Dayton).

“We’ve got a very competitive league where anything can happen on any given night,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “What we’ve got to do is make sure we can control the things we can control, which is ourselves and our effort every day and our preparation.”

That has proven to be difficult for the Flyers. Their 62-60 loss at home Saturday to Massachusetts followed an 82-72 victory over St. Bonaventure. That two-game stretch was emblematic of the entire season. Every time Dayton takes a step forward, it takes a step back.

It has been as frustrating for Anthony Grant and the players as it has been for everyone watching them.

“It’s three games,” Grant said Saturday. “As frustrated as I am today, we still have (15) games left in conference play. There are opportunities all over the place. When you’re dealing with young people, you just have to figure it out in terms of what it takes to have the results we want. We’re in the process right now.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Anthony Grant talks about his team coming off a frustrating loss to UMass

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Richmond fans have it even worse. Chris Mooney is in his 13th season as head coach, and this could be his worst. The Spiders were 8-22 in his second season and have not had a losing season in their last 10. One fan is selling “#FireMooney” T-shirts on Twitter.

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Richmond lost its two best players from a 22-13 team: T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones. Its current roster is one of the youngest in the country. The Spiders start a freshman, a redshirt freshman, two sophomores and a redshirt junior. No one averages more than 4.0 points per game off the bench.

Mooney has looked at the big picture during a rebuilding season.

"It's very different when it's a young team, or an inexperienced team," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in December. "This part of really trying to get better and digging in and having guys grow in confidence and improve significantly, I really enjoy it. Losing games, coming up short, that's really hard on everybody, but the part about getting better and all those kinds of things, I enjoy that."

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