FACTS & STATS: Site: UD Arena (13,409) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: WHIO. Home Record: Fordham 3-2, UD 7-3. Away Record: Fordham 0-9, UD 1-3. Neutral Record: Fordham 2-2, UD 2-1. Conference Record: Fordham 1-2, UD 3-1. Series Record: Dayton leads, 22-5.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to notch their first conference win of the season, the Dayton Flyers welcome the Fordham Rams to UD Arena for an Atlantic 10 Conference battle.
The Rams come into the contest having lost two straight, most recently dropping a 74-68 decision at Charlotte last Wednesday. They have struggled mightily away from the friendly confines of Rose Hill Gym, having lost all nine games on the road this season.
On the heels of a three-game losing streak, Dayton hope to change their ways as well. In their last outing, they fell to La Salle, 72-70, in Philadelphia. The Flyers hope that some home cooking will cure what ails them, playing four of the next six games at UD Arena. Dayton has started 0-3 in conference play and has not lost four straight since the 2005-06 season when it dropped its first four A-10 bouts.
This game marks the 28th meeting between Fordham and Dayton, and the latter leads the series, which began in 1952-53, 22-5. Dayton took last year's matchup, 72-70, in overtime at Fordham, as Chris Johnson scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Flyers, while Chris Gaston tallied 23 points and eight boards for the Rams. The Flyers have won six straight meetings and 12 of the last 13 overall.
The Rams have had nearly a week to recover from their 74-68 loss at Charlotte last Wednesday night. Although they trailed for most of the night, Fordham kept it close and trailed by only two, 65-63, with 1:21 remaining. The 49ers knocked down seven of eight free-throw attempts in the final minute to thwart the Rams' comeback bid. Branden Frazier led the Rams with 23 points, while Mandell Thomas chipped in with 13 points. Chris Gaston returned to action after missing six games with an injury and pulled down 10 rebounds, the second of which brought his career total to 1,000 as he became just the third Fordham player to record the massive figure.
Frazier leads the Rams in scoring and assists, averaging 16.4 ppg (fourth-best in the A-10), and 5.4 apg (second). Gaston has four double-doubles this year and 56 in his career. He is averaging 14.0 ppg, second-best on the squad, and a team-high 8.1 rpg in 12 games this year. Due in part to Gaston, Fordham is ranked second in the A-10 in rebounding (38.8 rpg) and offensive rebounds (14.1 rpg). As far as scoring goes, the Rams sit 12th in the conference with an average of 66.4 ppg, but they are allowing 75.2 ppg, putting them at the bottom of the league in scoring defense as well.
Vee Sanford and Dyshawn Pierre each scored 13 points, but the Flyers fell on the road to the La Salle Explorers last time out. Kevin Dillard scored all 12 of his points from beyond the arc in the second half, and had a chance to win the game with a 3-pointer as time expired, but his shot was long. He finished the night 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Dayton outrebounded La Salle, 35-21, but 24 turnovers by the Flyers proved to be too much for them to overcome.
Overall, Dayton ranks second in the A-10 in defensive rebounding (30.1 rpg) and rebounding margin (+5.4), and third in 3-point field goal percentage (.369). Dillard leads the Flyers in scoring (14.8 ppg), assists (4.5 apg), 3- pointers made (30), free throws made (78), free throw percentage (.867), minutes (31.9) and steals (24). Offensively, he is 11th in the league in scoring and sixth in assists. Devin Oliver ranks second in overall rebounding (8.8 rpg). Oliver has eight double-figure rebounding games this season, including four of his last six. Josh Benson is averaging 10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg and shooting .541 from the floor, that last figure good enough for eighth in the conference.
One of these squads will finally get back in the win column, and given the Rams' struggles on the road, it appears to be the night that the Flyers finally get a conference win.