For the second straight game, the walk-ons had their moment for the Dayton Flyers in the final minutes. Jack Westerfield hit a 3-pointer. Camron Greer hit a 3-pointer. Dalton Stewart almost made a shot at the buzzer.
Unfortunately for Dayton, these were not feel-good exclamation points on a victory — as Joey Gruden’s 3-pointer Friday against Virginia Commonwealth was — but baskets that mattered little to the result. St. Joseph’s dominated Dayton 81-65 on Wednesday, beating the Flyers for the eighth straight time at Hagan Arena.
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Westerfield, a junior from Cincinnati St. Xavier who had played a total of seven minutes in his career, entered the game with 7:47 to play with the Flyers trailing by 18. Dayton coach Anthony Grant had seen enough of the starters at that point. Westerfield played the rest of the game.
“Obviously, the game was decided at that point,” Grant said. “I thought Jack came in and played well.”
Five days after beating VCU 106-79 in the highest-scoring Dayton game in 20 years, the Flyers (9-9, 3-3) scored 8.6 points below their average. They shot 37.1 percent from the field (23 of 62) and 34.2 percent from 3-point range (13 of 38). Jalen Crutcher was the only bright spot, scoring a career-high 23 points and making 7 of 10 3-pointers.
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Dayton’s offense didn’t get all the blame. St. Joseph’s (8-9, 3-3) entered the game ranked 13 out of 14 A-10 teams in field-goal percentage (41.1) and shot a season-best 49.2 percent from the floor. James Demery led the Hawks with 19 points.
“We didn’t get it done defensively,” Grant said. “Right from the jump, we wanted to trade baskets and rely on our offense to win the game. You can’t control whether or not shots go in on a given night. We had some good looks that didn’t go in, but on the defensive end, if you look at the numbers, in the first half, they shot 50 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3, and in the second half, they were on pace to shoot over 60 percent from the field and 40-plus from 3. The game was decided well before the end. We didn’t defend. We didn’t play with the energy and effort we need.”