Dayton under .500 for first time in almost 12 years

Flyers play Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. Wednesday

For the first time in 4,290 days, the Dayton Flyers have a losing record.

That last time UD was under .500 was March 8, 2006, when it lost 67-55 to Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 tournament to finish the season 14-17. That was the last time Dayton suffered a losing season, and in the 12 seasons that followed, including this one, it had won 19 games in a row when a loss would have dropped it below .500. That number includes 12 season openers.

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The Flyers (3-4) hope to start a new streak Wednesday when they play Tennessee Tech (7-2) at 7 p.m. at UD Arena. They first have to put the pain of a 61-59 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday behind them.

“We were hurting after the game,” point guard Jalen Crutcher said. “We should have won the game.”

Dayton enters a three-game stretch at home against Tennessee Tech, Penn and Georgia State. It will be favored in each game. The Flyers will be a big underdog on the road Dec. 19 at Saint Mary’s and then will be favored to beat Wagner and Duquense.

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Dayton has learned while losing, and now it has a chance to learn while winning — not that any victory guaranteed with this young team.

“Our focus is on the things we can control,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “We can’t get back what happened the last two (games). We’ll try to learn from it and get better and improve and continue to work on the things we can control.”

Dayton’s main problem in the last two games has been turnovers. The Flyers took care of the ball well in their first five games and then committed 19 turnovers against Auburn and 26 against Mississippi State. Foul trouble is the other problem, and that has hurt the team all season.

“I thought the story of the game (Sunday) was the first half: 16 turnovers,” Grant said. “We dug a hole for ourselves. Foul trouble didn’t help us. We’ve just got to figure out a way to be able to sustain some of the things we do well throughout the game. But I thought the second half, the last 17 minutes in particular, we kind of played the way we’ll need to play to have success.”

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Josh Cunningham and Kostas Antetokounmpo have been hurt the most by foul trouble. Cunningham has managed to play 30 or more minutes in six games despite averaging just under four fouls per game. Antetokounmpo has picked up 11 fouls in the last three games. He had two in the first 30 seconds against Auburn.

“You’ve just got to more careful,” Cunningham said. “We’re both aggressive players. We’ve just got to be more smarter.”

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Tennessee Tech brings a strong offense to UD Arena. It’s averaging 84.6 points per game, though it’s coming off its worst offensive game. The Golden Eagles made 2 of 19 3-pointers Friday in a 64-50 loss at Furman.

“We had their lead down to seven and were on a good run there to open the second half with a chance to make it interesting, and every time we’d try and cut it closer, we’d give up an offensive rebound,” Tennessee Tech coach Steve Payne said after the game. “I’m a little frustrated with our guys because of that. Our offensive execution wasn’t very good, but we had plenty of open shots. We just didn’t make any of them. We’re not going to be 2 for 19 from 3-point range very often. We’ll get back to being Tennessee Tech, but it was just a frustrating day for our guys and as coaches with our failure to execute the things we usually do.”


Tennessee Tech at Dayton, 7 p.m., Spectrum Sports, AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO

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