Dayton seeks fifth straight win against Saint Louis on Tuesday

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Dayton Flyers highlights: 14-0 run against George Washington on Jan. 8, 2022

Flyers show improved effort in win at George Washington and return home to face Billikens, who are coming off a dramatic victory

Three days after Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant climbed onto his soap box — while saying he didn’t want to get up there — to criticize his team for not playing hard, he stood in the locker room at the Charles E. Smith Center and delivered the same message to the Dayton Flyers.

“I want to see some competitiveness out there today,” Grant said before the game. “Represent my alma mater. That’s what I want to see.”

Everyone saw that message later in the video shared by the official Dayton basketball Twitter account. Did it work? The game result — an 83-58 victory at George Washington — seemed to say yes.

After the game Saturday, Grant was asked about his postgame press conference Wednesday and whether he hoped the players saw what he had to say. That wasn’t his goal in the postgame press conference. He gave another answer explaining what he had to say after the 53-52 loss to Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena.

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“I’m always trying to communicate to our team what the expectations are,” Grant said, “and some lessons have to be repeated and reemphasized and retaught. That was one. My thing with our team is there’s a standard that we need to be able to play to and certain habits that you have to have. My job as a coach is to try to help them achieve what they want to achieve sometimes by making them do what they don’t want to do. If that means it sounds like I’m calling them out, what I’m really trying to do is call them up, so they can become the best version of themselves. All the other stuff is just noise.

“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.”

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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.”

TUESDAY’S GAME

Saint Louis at Dayton, 7 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7

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