Dayton seeks 6th straight non-conference win in first true road game

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Dayton vs. SMU on Dec. 5, 2020: Highlights from final minute

Flyers play at SMU on Wednesday night.

The Dayton Flyers have won five non-conference games in a row seven times in the last 12 seasons, including this season. A longer non-conference winning streak has eluded them since the 2009-10 season when they won eight in a row, beating Towson, Miami University, Lehigh, George Mason, Old Dominion, Presbyterian, Appalachian State and Boston.

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That’s the kind of history the 2021-22 team will chase at 8 p.m. Wednesday when it plays Southern Methodist (7-3) at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.

It’s the first true road game for Dayton (6-3), which has played six home games and three games on a neutral court at the ESPN Events Invitational in Florida, and another opportunity for Dayton to distance itself from a 1-3 start. The Flyers have beaten the University of Miami, Kansas, Belmont, Alabama State and Northern Illinois in their last five games.

“It’s so much sweeter when you can go into someone else’s building and get a win,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant told WHIO’s Larry Hansgen on his weekly radio show Monday. “That’s not easy. No wins are ever easy, but it’s always hard to do that. This is a great test for our group. The next game on the schedule is always the most important, but the first road game feels like it’s another challenge our guys will have to step up to and answer.”

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This is the second game in a two-game series between Dayton and SMU. A year ago, the Mustangs ended Dayton’s 21-game winning streak, which started with 20 victories in the 2019-20 season, with a 66-64 victory at UD Arena.

SMU won the game when Emmanuel Bandoumel dribbled the length of the court and got a friendly bounce on a jump shot over Dayton’s Jordy Tshimanga and Ibi Watson. The officials put 0.2 seconds left on the clock. Jalen Crutcher missed a desperation shot at the end, though it came after the buzzer.

That SMU team finished 11-6 and, like Dayton, lost in the first round of the NIT. Bandoumel, Kendric Davis and Isiah Jasey, who started against Dayton last season, remain starters this season. No one who started that game for Dayton remains in the program.

Davis scored 21 points against Dayton last season. Bandoumel had 19. They are the team’s leading scorers this season, averaging 20.3 and 11.2 points per game respectively. They both hit on their averages Saturday in an 84-72 victory against Vanderbilt. That was the best victory this season for SMU, which has won four games in a row since starting 3-3 with losses to Oregon, Missouri and Loyola Marymount.

SMU is 7-0 at home this season and has won 28 of its last 32 games at Moody Coliseum.

This will be Dayton’s first true non-conference road game since Dec. 8, 2019, when it lost 82-72 at Auburn. It played five neutral-court road games in the 2019-20 season, one game on a neutral court last season and three so far this season.

“We’ve just got to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” Dayton guard Elijah Weaver said Saturday after a 79-41 victory against Northern Illinois. “Go back to practice. Go back to the drawing board. Going on the road trip, this is going to be an important game for us. We’ve just got to lock in and get a W.”

TODAY’S GAME

Dayton at SMU, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 1290, 95.7

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