Last season, the Dayton Flyers were the talk of the town. They pulled off upset after upset, and captivated the nation on their spectacular run to the Elite Eight. While they lost to the Florida Gators in the Elite Eight, the Flyers put the nation on notice with their great play. They entered the 2014-15 season with high expectations around the program, and they had relatively lived up to them so far. Entering Saturday afternoon against Duquesne, they were right in the thick of things in the Atlantic 10 race, and were looking to add another win to their resume.
The Duquesne Dukes were in the headlines earlier in the season, but not because of the team as a whole. Derrick Colter caught the attention of media outlets everywhere with his story of playing basketball through cancer, and the inspiration he provided everyone who heard about his story. This season, Colter has been the offensive star for the Dukes, who have otherwise struggled in 2014-15.
Based on how both of these teams have played this season, with Dayton being a top mid-major program and Duquesne struggling, this game appeared to be a write-off on Saturday morning. Nobody told Duquesne that they weren’t supposed to win, and they came out and upset the Dayton Flyers, 83 – 73, on their home floor Saturday afternoon.
Dayton opened the game with a 7 – 0 run, and it looked like the Flyers were going to run away with things early on. Colter made a three to get the Dukes on the board, and to put a stop to the Flyers’ run.
Jordan Sibert made a three of his own, which pushed Dayton’s lead to 10 points, at 17 – 7. From there, Duquesne put together a nice comeback, capped off by five straight points from Colter. Duquesne took a 21 – 20 lead thanks to their 14 – 3 run.
Throughout the rest of the half, the teams would go shot for shot with one another, trading leads in the process. Duquesne took a five-point lead, which was the biggest lead by any team over the last ten minutes of the half, but Dayton would not let them get too far ahead.
Dyshawn Pierre made a three-pointer for Dayton with 1:02 left to play in the half, giving Dayton a four-point lead. With less than a minute to play, TySean Powell completed a three-point play to keep Duquesne within striking distance as the half came to a close.
At the break, the Flyers held a 42 – 41 lead on the road over Duquesne. If the first half was any indication, fans in attendance were in for a great second half.
Duquesne came out with a purpose in the second half, led by L.G. Gill. Gill scored four straight points for the Dukes, and Colter added a three-pointer of his own to give the home team a four-point lead just two minutes into the half, prompting Dayton to take a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Dayton would try and chip away at the lead, but Duquesne was having none of it. Dominique McKay would push the Dukes’ lead to six with just under 14 to play. Scoochie Smith would do his best to keep Dayton in the contest by scoring four straight points for the Flyers, but Duquesne was on a mission.
Micah Mason would respond with five straight points for the Dukes, and the home team suddenly had a nine-point cushion with under 10 to play in the game.
Dayton would keep chipping away, trying to get back into the game. Thanks to Dyshawn Pierre, the Flyers cut the deficit to five points on two different occasions. However, Duquesne would keep pulling ahead, and never looking back.
Once the Dukes took the lead in the second half, and got the home crowd behind them, there was no denying Duquesne on this night. Behind an all-around team effort and strong free throw shooting in the last minute, Duquesne came away with an 83 – 73 upset victory over the Dayton Flyers.
In the game, Dayton only used seven players in the loss. Dyshawn Pierre scored a game-high 27 points to go along with 12 rebounds in the loss. Scoochie Smith added 14 points, while Jordan Sibert added 12 points in a losing effort.
The Duquesne Dukes had two players on double-double watch, and one of them was on triple-double watch. Micah Mason stuffed the boxscore, recording 19 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. Dominique McKoy added 11 points and 9 rebounds, while Derrick Colter recorded a team-high 25 points as the Dukes used a team effort to come away with the win.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Dayton Flyers (20 – 6, 10 – 4), who now find themselves one game back in the race for the Atlantic 10 title. They will look to bounce back in their next contest, when they welcome the George Mason Patriots to town.
Saturday’s win was just the second victory in the last five games for the Duquesne Dukes (9 – 16, 4 – 10), and it gives them a bit of breathing room above the bottom three teams in the conference standings. The Dukes will look to build off the win over Dayton in their next game, when they welcome Saint Louis to the A.J. Palumbo Center.