Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:18 AM
By: David Jablonski
DAYTON — The Dayton Flyers haven’t lost since they played Virginia Commonwealth on Jan. 27 in Richmond, Va., winning eight straight games and completing their first perfect February since 1971.
The Flyers have yet to lose this season with a full and healthy rotation that includes Josh Cunningham. They won two games with him at the beginning of the season and have won five since he returned to action. They have not lost at UD Arena since the third game of the season Nov. 19 against Saint Mary’s. They’re 14-1 at home.
The Flyers are on quite a run, but that doesn’t guarantee a victory at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Senior Night when VCU visits Dayton with the Atlantic 10 championship on the line. Coach Archie Miller made his first comments about the game Monday morning during the weekly A-10 coaches teleconference.
The Flyers fell 73-68 in the first game against VCU. The Rams dominated the boards 41-24 and outscored Dayton 26-8 in second-chance points. VCU broke open a close game in the last six minutes, pushing its lead to 11 points before UD made a late run.
“Looking back on game one, clearly we were in a great environment that night against a very charged-up team as well,” Miller said. “I thought they played extremely hard and physical, and I just thought they were very, very forceful in the way they played. The way they rebounded the ball, not just from the big guys but from the guards, the way they attacked us in the second half downhill in the paint constantly, we’re going to have to match that in game two. We’re going to have to be a lot more forceful.
“Our guards, in particular, have to do a much better job of defending the ball. I think they have to do a much better job getting in there and rebounding the ball. We haven’t been as great rebounding the ball from the guard spot. We’re going to have to win some one-on-one battles on the glass. That’s what it’s going to come down to for us.”
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Dayton (23-5, 14-2) leads VCU (23-6, 13-3) by one game with two games to play. The Flyers will clinch the outright championship, their first ever in the A-10, if they win Wednesday.
“We’re playing against arguably the best team in the league, and you have to play at a high level,” Miller said. “You can’t turn the ball over against them. You have to be efficient, get quality shots, find a way to be ourselves. VCU’s going to play different styles during the game. We have to be able to adjust. Most important, we have to be a lot better, a lot more forceful, a lot tougher than we were in game one. It was a good game, but I thought they outplayed us in a lot of areas in the second half.”