George Washington’s Charles E. Smith Center sits in the middle of a living history book. It’s blocks away from the Watergate Hotel and the Lincoln Memorial and about as close to the White House as UD Arena is to the Cronin Center, where the Dayton Flyers practice on campus.
Of course, Dayton’s tortured history at the arena is not something it wants to revisit, but it has to be done as the Flyers (9-5, 1-0) prepare for a 7 p.m. Wednesday game against the Colonials (5-9, 1-0) in Washington, D.C.
March 4, 2017: The Colonials made their first nine shots from the field on their way to a 16-1 lead and an 87-81 victory, ending a nine-game winning streak for the Flyers, who clinched the Atlantic 10 regular-season title in their previous game.
March 9, 2013: George Washington beat Dayton 81-80 on a dunk by Isaiah Armwood with two seconds left in overtime.
March 5, 2011: Dayton freshman Juwan Staten fouled George Washington’s Tony Taylor with 10.8 seconds to play, and he hit two free throws to give the Colonials a 60-58 victory.
The list goes on. Dayton is 3-11 at the Smith Center. The current Flyers may not know all that history and probably shouldn’t, but they know how much they need to improve on the road after finishing 1-8 in road games in A-10 play last season.
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“I know last year was terrible,” Dayton forward Josh Cunningham said Sunday after a 72-48 victory against Richmond. “I know the one win we had on the road last year was against Richmond. That’s something that sticks in my head. We don’t want that same thing happening this year.”
Here are three things to know about Dayton’s 15th game:
1. Improved Colonials: George Washington (5-9) was picked to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the A-10 and started the season 0-5. Then it got everyone’s attention in its first A-10 game, winning 70-56 at St. Joseph’s on Sunday. It outscored the Hawks 20-6 in the last seven minutes.
“We got five or six guys on our team that have never played an A-10 game, never mind an A-10 game on the road to open up conference play,” George Washington coach Maurice Joseph told GWHatchet.com. “Given that, all of our guys did a great job of staying within the moment.”
2. Building momentum: Dayton has won four straight games and delivered one of its best 40-minute efforts in its A-10 opener. This will be Dayton’s second true road game. It lost the first one 82-72 at Auburn.
3. Struggling shooters: Dayton made 3 of 20 3-pointers against Richmond. Its 15 percent accuracy from long range was its worst of the season but continued a slump. Dayton has shot 24.2 percent (24 of 99) in its last five games.
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While Dayton ranks 283rd in the country in 3-point shooting (30.9 percent), it also shoots fewer 3-pointers than most teams. Just over 34 percent of Dayton’s field-goal attempts are 3-pointers. It also ranks 283rd in the country in that respect, so its struggles from outside haven’t hurt it in recent games.
On the Anthony Grant Show on Monday on WHIO Radio, the Dayton coach said he’s fine with the number of 3-pointers the team is taking.
“I’m going to say 75 percent (Sunday) were shots that we’re more than capable of making,” Grant said. “I don’t think we got into any situations where we had to force late-clock situations in terms of shots from the 3-point line. I think on any given night we’re more than capable of having a night where we shoot the ball really well.”