The Dayton Flyers lived by the 3-pointer on Friday and died by it on Wednesday.
No one expected Dayton to replicate its 106-79 victory against Virginia Commonwealth when it played at St. Joseph’s, but no one expected a meltdown either. Of course, that’s the way this up-and-down season is going. The Flyers lost 81-65 at Hagan Arena in part because the shots weren’t falling as they were Friday.
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Dayton made 13 3-pointers, its second-best total of the season, but took a season-high 38 shots from long range. That ties two other games for the third-most 3-pointers attempted in a single game in UD history.
“I thought we settled,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “They went zone, and especially against the zone, we settled for a lot of long-range shots, but that’s the nature of the game. Sometimes the shots are going to fall for you. Sometimes they’re not. I thought defensively tonight our effort wasn’t good enough against a talented St. Joe’s team to give us a chance.”
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Jalen Crutcher made 7 of 10 3-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points. The rest of the team made 6 of 28. Two walk-ons, Jack Westerfield and Camron Greer, made their first career 3-pointers in the final minutes.
Xeyrius Williams, who had made his last six 3-pointers, missed all five of his 3-pointers in this game. Trey Landers was 0 for 4. Darrell Davis made 2 of 7. Jordan Davis made 2 of 6.
After the game, Grant was asked if he ever tells players to stop shooting 3-pointers.
“We don’t want to ever stop taking good shots,” Grant said. “We had opportunities to attack the paint. We’re a pretty good team when we attack the paint and we can get shots around the basket. We’re pretty effective. We didn’t take advantage of that today, or we couldn’t sustain success doing that today.”
Dayton’s 3-point numbers look worse when you consider they made 4 of 5 in the first four minutes. Crutcher had three during that span. The Flyers led 12-10 at the first TV timeout.
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It was a back-and-forth game until midway through the first half. A 20-20 game turned on a jump shot by James Demery, who led the Hawks with 19 points. That started a 9-0 run by St. Joseph’s. They led 42-30 at halftime and pushed the lead to 52-33 early in the second half.
Dayton never recovered. This was the opposite of Friday’s performance against VCU when Dayton led by 20-plus points throughout the second half.
The Hawks (8-9, 3-3), who were playing on two days fewer rest than Dayton, had something to do with Dayton’s performance. They shot a season-best 49.2 percent from the field and held Dayton to 37.1 percent, its worst number since Dec. 19 at Saint Mary’s (35.0).
“The defensive patience made a difference both for the staff and the players,” St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said. “They were 4 for their first 6 from 3. We had watched them shoot VCU out of the state of Ohio, but we stayed the course. I thought we did a nice job offensively against the zone, which has hurt us this year. Players deserve a lot of credit because Monday was just a recovery day, and we were able to follow a good game plan, a little bit involved game plan, with only one day of practice. It’s nice to be the home team.”