The Flyers shot 58.7% from the floor and then cleaned the floor with an outmanned Duquesne bunch, cruising Saturday to their 17th win of the season.
DAYTON — Assisted Living can mean more than our beloved senior citizens receiving care at a nursing facility.
In the case of the University of Dayton basketball team, assisted living is a way of life — sharing the basketball and piling up assists is at the top of the list of every game plan, sort of a share-the-wealth policy.
Outmanned, outgunned and out-of-their league, Duquesne University discovered The Dayton Way Saturday afternoon in UD Arena while the Flyers were dismembering and dispatching the Dukes, 90-53.
The Flyers made 37 field goals, many of them easy-look, barely-contested baskets because they recorded 30 assists on those 37 baskets.
It tied a school record for third-most assists in a game — the record is 37 against Long Island University in 1985.
Those easy baskets enabled the Flyers to shoot 58.7 per cent from the field (37-63) and just to show they were on long-sniper patrol, too, they made 11 ofd 24 three-pointers for 45.8 per cent.
The Dukes, 9-and-15 and 2-and-9 in the Atlantic 10, are operating with a completely refurbished starting five from last year’s team, were hapless and helpless against the 17-and-5 Flyers, 8-and-2 in the Atlantic 10.
Duquesne was Defenseless.
Midway through the first half the Flyers exploded on a 17-0 run that built a 37-11 lead with 4:54 left in the half and the only thing left to determine was how much beer and popcorn they could sell at the concession stands.
With 3:11 left in the game, a TV time was called with UD in front, 84-41, and poor Duquesne coach Jim Ferry had to think of something to tell his team, something like, “Hey, guys, be sure to fold your uniforms neatly and tuck them into your bags after the game.”
UD senior Kendall Pollard hardly had to break a sweat in scoring a game-high 16 points. He never missed any of his six shots because Scoochie Smith, Kyle Davis and Charles Cooke kept finding him near the rim with passes.
Davis, who didn’t start because coach Archie Miller is playing safe as Kyle recovers from an ankle sprain, played less than half the game, 19 minutes, and made all five of his shots, snagged six rebounds, dished out five assists and didn’t commit a turnover.
Seven Flyers had eight or more points: Pollard 16, Darrell Davis 13, Kyle Davis 12, Smith 9, Cooke 9 and Ryan Mikesell 8.
Early in the second half, Kyle Davis stole the ball and drove by himself to the basket and laid it in. No dunk. And the crowd wondered why.
On the next UD possession, Davis broke free from the pack and attacked the rim — and dunked it, pushing UD to a 63-32 lead.
After the dunk, Duquesne’s Emile Blackmon asked Davis, “Why didn’t you do that on the first one?” And Davis said, “The last time we played y’all I got hurt so I wasn’t trying to do anything that crazy. I just wanted to put the ball in the basket and go play defense.”
Not starting games recently doesn’t perplex Davis for two reasons: He is a team guy and the man starting in his place, Darrell Davis, is playing solid basketball. Darrell was 5 for 8 Saturday, 3 of 6 from three, with two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes.
“Kyle is back in form and looks like himself again,” said coach Archie Miller. “He does everything you ask a guy to do and he doesn’t care about starting. He doesn’t care about anything but winning and that’s contagious. A guy like Kyle has allowed other guys to do things on the floor that they wouldn’t be able to do. If you look at his assist-to-turnovers ratio in the conference, it’s crazy. He is so unselfish on both ends of the floor and has been our MVP all year, on and off the floor.”
Kyle’s attitude of sharing the basketball is infectious, too.
“Our guys shared the ball and that was the easiest thing to see early in the game,” said Miller. “The ball was pinging around quickly and Charles Cooke had two or three and our guys were ready to shoot. It made the game easy for us.
“Our guys are engaged in what we try to do, The Team Concept, and it is about winning,” Miller added. “This team is about the right things and that can change quickly but this team is about the right things right now.”
And that means sharing the leather.
“We’ve always stressed ball movement and player movement and today you saw guys willing to get rid of the ball quickly rather than try to test it at the rim. And it started early-on today with Charles Cooke willing to kick to ball into the corners.”
Cooke’s shooting eye was at half-mast on this day, only 3 of 9, but the team concept numbers were good — six assists, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Kyle Davis, though, is nitroglycerin in small package. At only 6-foot-0 and 175 pounds, he looks easy to push around. But, not so. He is like pushing a boulder uphill and backs down to nobody.
Where does that toughness come from?
He says it goes back to his youth, playing basketball in his Chicago backyard with his adult uncle, Richard Davis, a grown man playing against a skinny kid.
“He never let me win,” said Davis. “He made it hard for me to score and I had to find numerous ways to get to the bucket and score, create shots for myself. Hard plays and hard fouls, that’s what he did to me. So when I step on the court now and people give me a hard foul it doesn’t faze me because that was normal for me growing up.”
And like so many other teams on UD’s schedule, Duquesne discovered that intimidating Kyle Davis doesn’t work because he is “The Intimidator” — offensively and defensively.