March Madness: Dayton Flyers face future without four seniors

Dayton players, including senior Scoochie Smith, center, leave the court after a loss against Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 17, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff
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Dayton players, including senior Scoochie Smith, center, leave the court after a loss against Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 17, 2017, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. David Jablonski/Staff

Xeyrius Williams says he needs to work on his body in the offseason

The Dayton Flyers have revolved around the careers of Scoochie Smith, Kyle Davis and Kendall Pollard for four seasons. Charles Cooke entered the mix for the last two seasons. They were the face of the program. Now they are gone, their great careers ending with a second straight first-round exit in the NCAA tournament.

No. 7 seed Dayton lost 64-58 to No. 10 seed Wichita State on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The player most likely to lead Dayton in scoring next season, the only returning starter, sophomore forward Xeyrius Williams, took a brief moment to look ahead after the loss.

“I need to work on my body,” Williams said. “That could do big things for the team. I’m looking at it that way. Hopefully next year we’re just going to be a better team.”

Williams said it’s tough to imagine playing without the four seniors, but “we’re just going to have to do it. We’re going to have to change the offense and change some things.”

Williams made some big shots this season but got off to a bad start Friday with two early airballs. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts. He shot 1 of 9 from the field and scored three points.

“Usually, I’m thinking just get to the next shot, but the next shot never fell,” Williams said.

Seed sequel: In what has been a topic since the selection show on Sunday, the No. 10 seed WSU received was discussed again in the postgame press conference. After answering the final question, Marshall added an unprompted comment.

“I would like to finish by saying that, once again, I think Dayton deserved a better draw in this tournament,” he said. “I’ll finish with that. I think Dayton deserved a better draw in this tournament.”

Asked if he had any reaction to that comment from Marshall, Miller said the committee essentially whiffed on Wichita State’s seed.

“Like a 4 seed, like a 4 or 5 seed maybe,” he said. “Thirty wins and you look at the numbers across the board, I mean, every coach studies the analytics. They’re a team that can beat anybody on a neutral court at any time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t pushing towards another second weekend.”

Rebounding rout: Wichita State dominated Dayton on the glass for a 48-29 advantage, marking the most rebounds the Flyers allowed all year.

“We were tremendous on the glass,” Marshall said. “I think we were plus 19 on the glass against a veteran, tough team. That was a good rebounding team.”

The Shockers got 13 of their boards on the offensive end, leading to 19 second-chance points.

Coaching news: North Carolina State will hire UNC Wilmington's Kevin Keatts as its men's basketball coach, according to multiple reports Friday.

N.C. State was rumored to be interested in Miller, a N.C. State grad. Keatts will replace Mark Gottfried, who coached for six seasons. Keatts coached three seasons at Wilmington and compiled a 72-28 record. He made the NCAA tournament the last two seasons.

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