In the post game interviews Dave Paulsen said this about Dayton, “They didn’t play like a team that was trying to defend a national ranking. They played like a team that was ticked off they weren’t ranked higher.” Well put coach. The Flyers, the best team in the Atlantic 10 this year and also one of the better ones in the nation, put on a on quite a show on offense last night. Without Marquise Moore, who didn’t recover from a late injury in the Richmond game, Mason struggled mightily to defend the perimeter. Dayton shot over 60% from the field and went 14-for-22 on three-pointers.
The Patriots miserable start on defense didn’t improve as the game went on and their lack of depth didn’t make things any easier. On offense instead of trying to slow the game down and play their speed Mason ended up forcing a lot of bad shots. Otis Livingston had a great game on paper but was really trying to do too much on offense. Obviously you can’t blame him but the lack of supporting cast sticks out in games like this. He really missed his go to partner Marquise Moore in the back court. Turnovers were not an issue as it has been all season but they weren’t smart on a lot of possessions and that led to points the other way just the same. Jaire Grayer had a good start but cooled off while Shevon Thompson and Marko Gujanicic were mostly non-factors when the team needed them.
Without or without Marquise Moore there’s no way Mason would have stopped the Dayton freight train that we saw last night. This team is far from winning games like this until they learn to play better defense as a team. The freshmen played a ton of minutes last night, out of necessity, which is another reminder of where we in in this rebuild. Having said all that it is still not acceptable to let any conference opponent nearly reach the century mark on your home floor.
[Photos by Bill Bride]