On this date: Dayton set free-throw record 23 years ago

UD made 35 of 44 free throws in victory against George Washington

Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant loves to say, “Every game has a life of its own,” and it’s true.

Dayton beat Duquesne 72-63 on Jan. 13 and three weeks later lost 69-64 to Duquesne in a game that was a blowout for the first 35 minutes. Two years ago, Dayton routed Rhode Island 77-48 on the road and lost to the same team three weeks later 72-70 in overtime.

There have been numerous examples proving Grant’s thinking correct over the years. Twenty three years ago on this date, Feb. 14, 1998, Dayton beat No. 17 George Washington 78-64 at UD Arena one month after losing by 20 to the Colonials in Washington, D.C. In the victory, Dayton set a school record that still stands by making 35 free throws.

Here is Bucky Albers’ game story from the Feb. 15, 1998, edition of the Dayton Daily News:

UD ends Colonial rule

Dayton tops GW, 78-64

They didn’t look like the same teams.

The University of Dayton Flyers, who took a 20-point whipping from George Washington three weeks ago, took revenge on the 17th-ranked Colonials Saturday night, beating them, 78-64, at the UD Arena. UD had lost each of the previous five meetings by at least 10 points.

A crowd of 12,061, many of whom spent much of the night on their feet, watched Dayton push GW aside and take a share of first place in the Atlantic 10 West Division.

The Flyers, 17-8 overall, and GW, 20-5, are 9-3 in A-10 games with four to play.

UD coach Oliver Purnell says he isn’t surprised to see the Flyers, who were 13-14 last year, sitting in first place.

“I feel like this team is back home,’ he said. “We were there for two or three weeks early in the season. This team has been resilient. We’ve lost some games along the way, some we could have won, but we’ve always come back.”

The Flyers, who were manhandled, 81-61, by GW in Washington, D.C., were determined not to let it happen again. They came out aggressively, knocked down some early shots, and led all the way. They built their lead to 17 points (44-27) early in the second half and held their composure as the Colonials applied a full-court press for the last nine minutes.

Credit: Ron Alvey

Credit: Ron Alvey

“We knew what to expect this time,” UD guard Andy Metzler said. “We went out there (Jan. 18) and they put it on us. It was embarrassing. We knew we had to go at them, not let them throw all the punches at us and take them. We got the crowd into it and they picked us up.”

Purnell painted a perfect victory picture on Friday when he said the Flyers merely had to make free throws to win. He knew GW would foul. With Dayton going hard to the basket from the beginning, GW committed 31 fouls to Dayton’s 15.

The Flyers, who made only 14 of 27 free throws in the first meeting, sank 35 of 44 Saturday night while GW was making only 3 of 7. Edwin Young, who led UD with 18 points, made 16 of 18 at the line. This is the same Edwin Young who made 18 in a row against Northeast Louisiana in December.

GW coach Mike Jarvis had no quarrel with officials, even though he did protest an intentional foul call on point guard Shawnta Rogers late in the game.

“All in all I thought the referees did a good job,” Jarvis said. “They (the Flyers) deserved to win this game tonight. I’m not saying they’re a better team, because they’re not, but they deserved to win this game tonight.”

The Flyers, who were outrebounded, 39-31, in D.C., won the battle of the boards this time, 37-34. Ryan Perryman had eight and Coby Turner six.

Alexander Koul, GW’s 7-foot-1, 280-pound center, was not much of a factor. He scored nine points, as did forward Yegor Mescheriakov, who did not play in the first game with Dayton. Koul was on the bench much of the time, but not because he was in foul trouble.

“Without those two guys,” Young said, “GW is just a regular ball club.”

Jarvis was disappointed that his team did not play aggressive defense in the beginning. They gave the Flyers just enough room to knock down some outside shots, including a pair of early 3-pointers by Turner. “We came out and we allowed them to get off and get some baskets,” Jarvis said. “You can’t allow shooters to get open shots. We didn’t follow our assignments the way we were supposed to.”

The crowd was vocal from the beginning, with the UD students chanting, “USA! USA!” when GW’s international lineup was introduced and at various times during the game.

Perryman drew the biggest roar five minutes into the game when he blew by GW’s Antxon Iturbe with a behind-the-back dribble down the lane and made a layup to put Dayton ahead, 15-5.

“It was a blast,” said Ted Fitz, who contributed a basket, a free throw and some good defense in 14 minutes. “This is the kind of atmosphere you come to college to play for.”

Perryman warned that the Flyers must prepare well for every game, including Wednesday night’s battle at Virginia Tech.

“Everybody’s going be gunning for us, now,” he said. “It’s a challenge to be ready.”

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