Dayton takes ‘step in right direction’ with victory against Richmond

Flyers ended two-game losing streak

The coaches from Dayton and Richmond wore suits Saturday at UD Arena in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer program. Few coaches have worn suits since the 2019-20 season. Quarter zips have been the preferred look for Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant and his staff since then.

Explore» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Richmond

If Grant was superstitious at all, though, he and his staff would wear the same suits the rest of the season. That’s how well the team played in an 86-60 victory against Richmond.

“They were looking sharp,” Dayton point guard Malachi Smith.

The Flyers looked about as sharp as a butter knife in their previous two games, losing 76-69 at George Washington on Jan. 21 and 75-70 at Rhode Island on Wednesday. Against Richmond, they played like a machete, earning the most lopsided victory in 32 games between the two schools since 2001.

Dayton (14-8, 6-3) avoided its first three-game losing streak in Atlantic 10 Conference play since January 2014 when a team that would reach the Elite Eight lost four in a row. There’s hope this group could perform a similar turnaround. It will have to prove itself on the road to do that, but this was a good first step. The Flyers have now won 17 A-10 home games in a row against opponents not named Virginia Commonwealth.

“This was just a great way for us to bounce back,” guard Koby Brea said, “from everything we’ve been through these last couple of weeks. There’s been a lot of adversity, but we’re sticking together and we’re finding a way to gel together.”

Brea started the game on the bench after earning his first start of the season Wednesday but led Dayton with 18 points by making 6 of 7 3-pointers.

Smith directed the offensive success with a career-high 13 assists, two short of Negele Knight’s 1990 school record of 15.

DaRon Holmes II added 17 points, and Toumani Camara had 16. Mustapha Amzil scored 10.

Dayton made a season-high 14 of 27 3-pointers and shot a season-best 51.9%.

After three losses in four games, Grant made his most dramatic lineup change of the season, starting Smith and Kobe Elvis alongside DaRon Holmes II, Toumani Camara and R.J. Blakney. That group started most of last season together but had not started a game together this season since November.

This was the second game all season Dayton has had a fully healthy lineup as Blakney returned to action after missing the Rhode Island game with a lower-body injury.

“Obviously, we made some changes in terms of the lineup and roles and trying to get guys to understand what was needed from them,” Grant said. “I thought we did a good job of avoiding some of the things that have plagued us in terms of the inconsistency, either offensively or defensively from what we call war to war — every four minute-segment. We’ve had stretches where we haven’t done what we needed to do either offensively or defensively or sometimes both. And we needed to fix that. So I thought today was a step in the right direction of fixing that.”

Dayton got off to a slow start, missing 11 of its first 12 shots. Then it couldn’t miss. It made 15 field-goal attempts in a row at one point. It made all 11 of its field-goal attempts in the final seven minutes of the first half and then its first four shots in the second half.

Dayton outscored Richmond 12-0 to turn a 12-11 deficit into a 23-12 lead at the 5:51 mark. It stretched its lead to 43-23 at halftime and led by as many as 36 points in the second half. Prior to this game, Dayton’s most lopsided victory against Richmond came in 2019: 72-48 at UD Arena.

“That’s what we’re capable of,” Brea said. “It’s about time we started to show it.”


Loyola Chicago at Dayton, 9 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7

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