“They had momentum,” Grant said. “They played during the week. They weren’t off for finals like we were. There were a lot of different factors in the game.”
Dayton fell to 5-5. It suffered its fifth loss in six games. It’s the worst stretch for the program since it lost five of the first six games in Atlantic 10 Conference play in January 2014.
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That team rebounded to earn a NCAA bid and make the Elite Eight. It also had a more experienced lineup with three seniors playing big roles and a deep bench.
This Dayton team has one senior, Josh Cunningham, and a seven-man rotation. The eighth available player, freshman Frankie Policelli, has played sparingly. The loss of Jhery Matos hurt the team’s depth, but it wasn’t a deep team to begin the season because it left one scholarship open and added three transfers to the roster who can’t play this season.
“We’re relying on one senior and a junior (Ryan Mikesell) and a half (Trey Landers) — Trey’s really in his second year of experience — and a bunch of young guys trying to figure it out,” Grant said. “In order to be good, you’ve got to go through some stuff. You have to go through some adversity and get some battle wounds. Either it’ll break you or make you stronger. I believe this is a team that will get stronger because of it. At the same time, you can’t keep repeating the same lessons over and over again.”