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Scoochie Smith looking forward to last game in hometown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Dayton Flyers play at Fordham at 9 p.m. Tuesday in Scoochie Smith's hometown of Bronx, N.Y.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Bronx native will play fourth game at Fordham on Tuesday

Dayton Flyers guard Scoochie Smith has been waiting for the game at Fordham since the schedule came out last summer. The same could be said for the big group of family and friends he’ll have at Rose Hill Gym on Tuesday.

Two of Smith’s fellow seniors, Kendall Pollard and Kyle Davis, had to wait until this season to play a game in their hometown, Chicago. Smith has been more fortunate. The Flyers have played in the Bronx in each of his four seasons and have also played in the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn the last three years.

“It’s a good feeling when everyone comes out and shows their support,” Smith said. “I just want to play as hard as I can to show them my appreciation for the last four years.”

RELATED: Flyers get boost with return of Davis

The Flyers are 3-0 at Rose Hill in Smith’s career. He had four points in an 80-68 victory in 2014. As a sophomore in 2015, he scored 15 points in a 76-58 victory. Last season, he scored 14 as Dayton beat Fordham 64-50.

Dayton’s Scoochie Smith brings the ball up the court against Virginia Commonwealth on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton’s Scoochie Smith brings the ball up the court against Virginia Commonwealth on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Coach Archie Miller knows the games at Fordham have extra meaning for Smith.

“I think all New Yorkers when they get a chance to go home, it’s bigger than it really is, playing in front of your family, playing in front of people you care about,” Miller said. “A lot of guys don’t have that opportunity to go home and play. Scoochie has been fortunate in his four years to play a game at Fordham every year. He knows how to handle it. He’s got to be good for us. He’s going to have to handle the ball. They’re going to try to do some things to take the ball out of his hands. But he’s got to be ready to go.”

PHOTOS: Dayton vs. VCU

Smith did a good job handling the ball Friday in a 73-68 loss at Virginia Commonwealth. He had seven assists and three turnovers but made few mistakes against the full-court pressure defense.

Like VCU, Fordham thrives on turnovers. It ranks near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 Conference in many categories but ranks third in turnover margin (plus 2.38). It has forced 15.9 turnovers per game in A-10 play. That’s the most in the A-10, just above Dayton (15.8).

A-10 NOTES: Fordham one of most improved teams in conference

The Flyers (15-5, 6-2) have dominated Fordham (9-12, 3-5) for years, winning 12 straight games in the series, but have to be wary of this game. Fordham beat VCU 69-67 in overtime at Rose Hill Gym on Jan. 18. Fordham also won at Davidson 60-54 on Jan. 11 and at Massachusetts 71-68 on Jan. 21.

“They have very unique style,” Miller said. “They don’t allow you to do what you normally do on a daily basis, so they’re a hard prep. You have to get into the game and get a feel for how it’s going. It’s going to feel funny. They pressure. If you’re turning the ball over, if you’re not organized, it can get away from you at times.”

PREVIEWDayton at Fordham

Fordham came back to earth a bit in its last game Saturday, losing a rematch to Davidson 84-66 at home. Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge each scored 28. The Wildcats made 17 of 29 3-pointers. In their loss to Fordham, they made 7 of 27.

“Davidson certainly played great,” Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer said. “Aldridge and Gibbs were as advertised. They were terrific. We definitely ran into a buzzsaw, and now we have a quick turnaround for Dayton.”

Dayton's Scoochie Smith directs the offense against Fordham on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Robert Cole/Contributed photo
Dayton's Scoochie Smith directs the offense against Fordham on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Robert Cole/Contributed photo

Credit: Robert Cole

Credit: Robert Cole

TUESDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Fordham, 9 p.m., CBS Sports Network, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO