- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Archie Miller was sitting in the visiting locker room at Hagan Arena when Saint Joseph’s radio announcer Joe Lunardi burst through the door to assure the Dayton coach that his team’s place in the NCAA Tournament remained secure.

That didn’t seem to make him feel any better.

The Flyers had five players score in double figures, but they were unable to contain the surging Hawks and lost 79-70 on Wednesday night.

Dayton (21-4, 11-2 Atlantic 10), off to its best start in Miller’s five-year tenure, had won nine in a row.

“This is the first time we’ve lost in a while,” Miller said. “It stings. Hopefully it stings in a good way.”

DeAndre’ Bembry had 16 points and 13 rebounds, helping Saint Joseph’s (22-4, 11-2) to its fourth straight win and 11th in 12 games overall. Aaron Brown scored 14 points, and Isaiah Miles had 12 points - all in the second half - 12 rebounds and five assists.

The Hawks also moved into a tie with Dayton and VCU for the Atlantic 10 lead with their first win over a ranked opponent since they beat then-No. 23 VCU in the A-10 championship on March 6, 2014.

“I give them credit,” Miller said of St. Joe’s. “I think they’re one of the best teams in the country. I think they’re gonna be primed for a great run in March because of the matchup problems they present.”

Charles Cooke scored 16 points for Dayton, and Darrell Davis had 13 points. Scoochie Smith had 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Dyshawn Pierre added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

With Dayton trailing by 13 with 6:25 left, Cooke scored seven straight points to trim the Hawks’ lead to six. After Saint Joseph’s freshman Lamarr Kimble hit his second big 3-pointer of the half, Dayton responded with four straight points to make it 66-61 with 3:49 left.

But the rally fizzled from there, and Bembry helped seal the win with a putback slam with two minutes remaining.

“I think we had guys hang tough in the second half,” Miller said. “The game could have gotten away from us a couple of times but we were able to fight and find a way. Offensively, in the second half we were better.”

Kimble finished with 13 points and James Demery had 12. The two connected for an alley oop that put the Hawks up 52-40 with 12:03 left and fired up the filled-to-capacity crowd at Hagan Arena. Demery had another big, one-handed dunk with 20 seconds left.

“I think this was a big game because we were playing for first place,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “I think the implications for March are that (Dayton’s) obviously a tournament team. We won a home game. I think the bigger implications are the road games.”

TIP-INS

Dayton: Steve McElvene had 12 points. … Dayton’s only two A-10 losses have come in Philadelphia. The Flyers lost 61-57 at La Salle on Jan. 9.

Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks got 57 points in this week’s poll, good for 28th in the nation. The Hawks haven’t been in the Top 25 since their undefeated regular season in 2003-04. … The Hawks own the nation’s best road record at 9-0. They have three more games away from home this season, including two in the next week. … Brown scored the game’s first six points over the opening 1:30.

INJURY ISSUES

Kendall Pollard, Dayton’s third leading scorer, missed his second straight game with a knee injury. Miller isn’t sure if it would have made a difference in the final score, but he admitted it was very difficult to play without the 6-foot-6 junior forward.

“It’s without saying that Kendall’s one of our best guys,” Miller said. “He’s one of the best guys in the league. And you need a tough-minded, physical guy like that in that type of game.”

GETTING OVERPOWERED

Miller knew it would be difficult to match up against the Hawks, especially in a hostile road environment. But he didn’t expect Saint Joseph’s to successfully attack his team as well as it did.

The Hawks finished with 17 more free-throw attempts than the Flyers, a big difference in the game.

“They’re hard to guard,” Miller said. “I thought the thing that was really surprising to me though was how they overpowered us for about 40 minutes. Physically I thought they dominated us. They were commanding in how they approached the game.”

UP NEXT

Dayton hosts St. Bonaventure on Saturday.

Saint Joseph’s visits Davidson on Saturday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide