By HAL McCOY
The University of Dayton Flyers played Saint Joseph’s Tuesday night in UD Arena.
No, no, no. It wasn’t THE Saint Joseph’s, the fellow Atlanta 10 Conference member, the Hawks from Philadelphia.
These were the Saint Joseph’s Pumas, a Division II school of 2,000 from Rensselaer, Ind. — and if you can spell Rennselaer you are a Rensselaerite or a Rensselaerian or whatever they are called.
Had the Flyers been playing the Saint Joseph’s Hawks instead of the St. Joseph’s Pumas they would have been covered with red-faced embarrassment.
The Flyers were such prohibitive favorites that not even Las Vegas put out a line on the game.
Oh, the Flyers won, 91-59, but to say they won ugly is to insult the word ugly — at least until the final 10 minutes when the game turned into junk basketball and the Flyers wore down the outmanned and outgunned Pumas.
Early on, the obviously overconfident and lackadaisical Flyers permitted four offensive rebounds in the first two minutes, missed three point blank slam dunks, missed a couple of open layups, threw up an air ball on an open shot and an air ball on a free throw and played like a Cadillac with a Pinto engine.
UD coach Archie Miller was aghast from the opening tip. Just 1 ½ minutes into the game, with the score 4-4, he made three substitutions, leaving Charles Cookie and Kyle Davis as the only starters in the game.
Only because they were bigger, stronger, swifter and more talented, the Flyers led at halftime, 39-30. And Miller’s halftime repartee probably isn’t something a father would say to his daughter.
Normally, a team returns to the floor five minutes before the start of the second half, but the Flyers didn’t return until nearly a minute to go.
The score says the Flyers spliced their act together, outscoring the Pumas in the second half, 52-29, but it was more the ineptness and overmatched Pumas collapsing than anything the Flyers did. UD made 20 of 33 second half shots, most of them fast breaks after missed shots or turn overs.
On the positive side, the Flyers had 15 steals that led to 15 points and they blocked 11 shots. Guard Kyle Davis, known more for his defensive prowess than his offensive weaponry, led the Flyers with a career-best 18 points. He made 8 of 9 shots and has scored in double figures four straight games.
After a plodding 1 for 6 first half, Charles Cookie finished with 18 points and Kendall Pollard, playing his second game of the season, missed his first two dunk attempts, then hit one, and also made a ‘3’ en route to 14 points. And Scoochie Smith contributed 13 in the four-pronged attack.
The Flyers had 52 points in the paint against the smaller Pumas.
But on the negative side, UD only outbrebounded Saint Joseph’s 24-20 and he Pumas had 14 offensive rebounds. But Saint Joseph’s turnovers led to 34 UD points.
The score looks good, but the execution wasn’t stellar and there is a lot for the players to digest when Miller has a film session to discuss the many minuses of this misleading victory that left the Flyers 6-and-2.