Anthony Grant talked about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat during an interview Monday — as good a sign as any that he grew up in the days of ABC’s Wide World of Sports — and in his first two games as head coach of the Dayton Flyers, he has experienced both.
Six days after Dayton beat Ball State 78-77 on a last-second shot by Josh Cunningham, the Flyers almost tied Hofstra in the final seconds. A 3-pointer by freshman point guard Jalen Crutcher went in and out, and the Pride celebrated a 72-69 victory Thursday in the first round of the Charleston Classic.
“It’s tough,” Dayton senior guard Darrell Davis said. “We’ve got to go watch film and see where we messed up. I know they shot 26 free throws and made 20 of them, so I give them credit. It’s a learning experience for us.”
In and out and Flyers lose 72-69. pic.twitter.com/1hBT1zjMiY— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 17, 2017
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Dayton (1-1) will play Ohio (1-1) in the consolation bracket at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPNEWS. Here are five takeaways from Thursday’s game:
1. Poor start: Dayton gave up runs of 10-0 and 8-0 in the first 12 minutes, and it resulted in a 26-11 deficit. Hofstra made 5 of 7 3-pointers in that stretch. Eli Pemberton led Hofstra with 27 points, making 3 of 4 3-pointers.
“We didn’t get off to a great start,” Grant said. “I thought we looked like a young basketball team in the first 10 minutes of the game. We were erratic offensively and inconsistent defensively. They were able to build a lead. I thought after that point, we were able to settle in and get some consecutive stops and give ourselves a chance.”
2. Better play: Dayton went on an 12-0 run to get back into the game before halftime. Davis, who finished with a team-high 20 points, hit two 3-pointers during that run. The Flyers faced a 36-31 halftime deficit.
“I think coming into the half, our guys felt pretty good,” Grant said. “We understood what we needed to do.”
A big step forward for Kostas Antetokounmpo tonight, who had a double-double with 10 and 10. This season is going to be one long rollercoaster for the Flyers, but I do think they'll be fun to watch. pic.twitter.com/Bx7OrDkWFE— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 17, 2017
3. Breakout performance: Redshirt freshman forward Kostas Antetokounmpo made major strides from his first game. He scored three points in six minutes in the opener and had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes in this game. He also blocked four shots and was on the court for the last 10 minutes of the game.
“It felt good to be out there,” Antetokounmpo said. “Lately, in practice, I’ve been having trouble with my conditioning, and I’ve worked really hard to get out there for more minutes.”
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4. Foul problems: Hofstra made 4 of 6 free throws in the final two minutes. The Pride (2-0) didn’t make a field goal in the last six minutes, winning the game at the line. Hofstra made 13 of 19 free throws in the second half. Dayton made 5 of 9.
“We’ve talked about that before,” Grant said, “the need for us to defend without fouling.”
One of the calls that doomed Dayton in final minute. pic.twitter.com/mNbgosON4M— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 17, 2017
5. Lineup decision: Cunningham picked up his fourth foul with 9:56 to play and didn’t return to the game. He finished with seven points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Starting point guard John Crosby, who had nine points and three assists, also watched the last 9:37 from the bench.
Grant elected to stay with the lineup of Antetokounmpo, Crutcher, Davis, Trey Landers and Xeyrius Williams for the last five minutes.
That group got Dayton over the hump and into the lead with 2:03 to play when Davis made 1 of 2 free throws. However, that was Dayton’s last point. The Flyers missed their last four shots, and officials whistled Williams for a charging call on a potential game-tying layup with 37 seconds to play.
“We just felt like they were in a good rhythm both offensively and defensively,” Grant said. “They were clicking pretty well. We just decided to stay with them. We had some foul trouble with some guys. I just felt that group was playing well, so we decided to finish the game out with them.”