“I see these guys every day. I’m with them every day. We have some of the best young men. But they’re young. Sometimes they have to understand in order to become the best version of themselves, this is what’s required and it’s not easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it. That’s the beauty of sports. Sometimes you’ve got to go through stuff. You’re not always going to end up with the result you want and maybe other people expect. But you’re in the fight. Stay in the fight. Learn from it. Let’s continue to grow and get better.”
Dayton Flyers highlights: UD makes 8 3s vs. George Washington on Jan. 8, 2022
Dayton (9-6, 1-1) gets another chance to build on those lessons at 7 p.m. Tuesday at UD Arena. It plays Saint Louis (10-4, 1-0), which has seen three of its four A-10 games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
Saint Louis has had its ups and downs this season but has performed well considering it lost its top player, Javonte Perkins, to a season-ending knee injury in October. The Billikens won 86-82 in overtime at Boise State (10-4) in November. Their losses are to Memphis, UAB, Belmont and Auburn — all ranked in the top 50 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool.
Saint Louis beat Richmond 76-69 in its only A-10 game Jan. 2 in St. Louis. Then the Billikens got creative with their schedule Saturday when a game against St. Bonaventure was postponed, finding a non-conference home game against Iona.
The matchup, which featured Travis Ford, of Saint Louis, coaching against his former Kentucky coach, Rick Pitino, was announced Thursday night. Fred Thatch Jr. scored the go-ahead basket on a putback with nine seconds left as the Billikens won 68-67.
“I was proud of the effort of our guys in adjusting to probably the most physical game I’ve been a part of in a long time,” Ford said in the postgame press conference. “I told them, I’ve been in coach Pitino’s practices. I know how they play — the aggressiveness and the toughness. The first 10 minutes we were adjusting to it. We were a little shellshocked.”
Saint Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7