The Dayton Flyers struggled on both ends of the court in their last game Saturday against Rhode Island. It was the opposite for ther next opponent, Richmond, which played a complete game on offense and defense, coach Chris Mooney said, in an 83-67 victory at Duquesne on Saturday.
“Defensively, which is where we’ve struggled, I’m really pleased with how we played,” Mooney said. “It’s not easy to play a team where so much of their offense comes from the guards. … On offense, we were in control of the game. We were able to throw the ball inside. That’s an emphasis for us every game.”
Richmond (15-13, 7-9) ended a three-game losing streak and sits in eighth place in the A-10 with two games to play. Dayton (22-6, 12-4) has lost three of its last four and trails first-place St. Joseph’s (24-5, 13-3) and Virginia Commonwealth (21-8, 13-3) by a game. The Flyers and Spiders meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va.
Richmond is 1-8 against teams above it in the standings. Its only victory against teams .500 or better in the A-10 came at George Washington (21-8, 10-6) on Jan. 28 (98-90 in overtime). The Colonials avenged that defeat with a 73-61 victory at Richmond on Wednesday.
The Spiders are using a seven-man rotation that is heavy on experience. Starters Trey Davis, Deion Taylor and Terry Allen will play their final home game Tuesday.
“I think some of the advantages of having a veteran team are your trust level and your confidence in their understanding of the situation,” Mooney said. “A really young team, you’re not sure exactly. There’s a lot more of a chance of being hot and cold. With a veteran team, you have a better chance of consistency of approach, consistency of understanding. I think these guys have been great for Richmond, for our program, the community.”
Title chase: If St. Joseph’s and VCU win their last two, they will tie for the regular-season title, and the Rams would get the No. 1 seed in the A-10 tournament because they beat the Hawks 85-82 on Jan. 5.
The Hawks’ biggest challenge of the final week comes Wednesday when they play St. Bonaventure in Rochester, N.Y. The Hawks avoid playing in St. Bonaventure’s home gym, which coach Phil Martelli notes is one of the tougher places to play in the conference. But Martelli doesn’t see this as a big advantage.
“At the end of the day, we’re playing a really good team, an older team, a team that has our number,” Martelli said. “We can play on an outdoor court in Buffalo. It’s good basketball. If you think about it, it’s genius in a way because it prepares their team and our team for the Barclays Center next week. Both of us will play basketball beyond the Atlantic 10 tournament, and it’ll be on a neutral site.”