Dayton showing inconsistency of young team early in season

Flyers fall to 2-2 with loss to Old Dominion in Charleston Classic

The Dayton Flyers waited about 45 minutes in the tunnel just off the court at TD Arena, watching Ohio and Indiana State play one of the most exciting games of the young college basketball season on Sunday at the Charleston Classic.

The Bobcats finally beat the Sycamores 96-94 in four overtimes thanks in part to some support from the Dayton Pep Band, which started cheering for the team from its home state.

The Flyers had to have patience as they waited their turn to play, and that’s something their fans will need all season if they’re going to get any enjoyment out of watching this young team, which fell to 2-2 with a 75-67 loss to Old Dominion in the fifth-place game.

“I think that’s the challenge for all of us,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Like we talked about all season, the expectation doesn’t change in terms of competing for championships and understanding what we’ve got to do to be able to do that. For me, it’s more about understanding what it takes to win. I have a saying, and I tell the guys all the time: what goes into winning doesn’t change. We have to be willing to do those things on a consistent basis and understand what those things are. For half our team, they’re learning that in on-the-job training because they haven’t been through it before.”

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Dayton finished 1-2 in Charleston. This was the first time since the 2010 Puerto Rico Tip-Off it didn’t win at least two games at its in-season tournament.

“I can tell you every guy in that locker room has the ability to do the things we’ve been asking them to do to put ourselves in a position to be successful as we move forward,” Grant said. “I guess patience would be the word. I’ve got to be able to maintain that. Our fans, our team, everybody has to understand that’s a process.”

Here are five takeaways from the loss to Old Dominion:

1. Defensive problems: Old Dominion (4-1) shot 51.8 percent from the field. Guard Randy Haynes, who averaged 7.0 points in the first four games, scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

The Monarchs made 5 of 10 3-pointers in the first half, building a 39-29 halftime lead and missed all six of its 3-pointers in the second half, though the Flyers never got closer than seven points after halftime.

“Their physicality, their maturity showed throughout the game,” Grant said. “It’s a lesson for us.”

2. Rebounding issues: The Monarchs dominated the boards, 36-23. B.J. Stith grabbed 13. Josh Cunningham led the Flyers with seven and added 13 points and five assists.

“We’ve just got to be tougher and rebound and play hard,” Cunningham said.

3. Hot shooter: Dayton guard Darrell Davis scored 72 points in the three games, the fourth most in the history of the tournament.

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Davis hit his career high for the third straight game. He had 20 against Hofstra, 25 against Ohio and 27 against Old Dominion. He started strong with two 3-pointers in the opening minutes and finished with three 3-pointers in the last 50 seconds to make the final score more respectable. In between, Old Dominion did a better job against him.

“They keyed into me a lot more,” Davis said. “I know a lot of teams are going to do that. Coach (Ricardo) Greer told me to be patient with the game. That’s what I did. My teammates found me toward the end of the game.”

4. Up-and-down performance: Dayton forward Kostas Antetokounmpo had two points and three rebounds in 15 minutes. He had his best game in the first round against Hofstra (10 points and 10 rebounds) but played a smaller role against Ohio and Old Dominion.

Antetokounmpo played only two minutes in the second half Sunday, and it wasn’t because of foul trouble.

“With Trey (Landers) being out, we tried to go with Xeyrius (Williams) at the 3 spot,” Grant said, “and when we got a deficit, we felt we needed more skill on the perimeter. We wanted to go with three guards. It gave X an opportunity to move back to his natural position at the 4 with Josh at the 5.”

5. Slumping shooter: Williams scored five points on 1-of-7 shooting. He made 1 of 6 3-pointers. He has made 5 of 29 shots from long range this season (17.2 percent).

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“We’ve just got to continue to work and continue to stay positive,” Grant said. “We feel he’s a good shooter. He’s struggled of late getting them to fall. We’ll evaluate the quality of the ones he’s taking to see if there are any corrections we need to make in terms of what he’s doing. We feel he’s a guy who’s capable, and we’ll need to get some of them to fall.”

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