Iona (5-3) at Dayton (8-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University of Dayton Arena (13,455) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Iona 3-1, Dayton 5-0. Away Record: Iona 2-2, Dayton 1-1. Neutral Record: Iona 0-0, Dayton 2-1. Conference Record: Iona 2-0, Dayton 0-0. Series Record: Dayton leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Dayton Flyers try to keep their record at home unblemished as they host the Iona Gaels in non-conference play tonight at UD Arena.
The Flyers have won all five of their home dates this season, running their win streak in UD Arena to eight in a row tracing back to last season. The most recent win for the team came over the weekend versus Central Michigan in an 84-58 final. The victory was the third in the last four outings overall for the program.
As for the Gaels, they saw a four-game win streak come to an end over the weekend as they allowed a season-high 102 points in a loss to St. Bonaventure in New Rochelle, New York. The team is now 3-1 at home and 2-2 on the road, with one of those setbacks coming against second-ranked Kansas less than two weeks into the season.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Flyers have won all but one of the previous five encounters. The latest meeting took place in this same building back in 1988 with the Gaels capturing an 84-77 win. Despite not having faced the Flyers in more than 25 years, Iona has played in UD Arena in both 2012 and 2013 during the NCAA Tournament.
The Gaels put four starters in double figures against St. Bonaventure, but still the Bonnies were more than up to the task of taking down Iona. Sean Armand tallied a team-best 30 points on 9-of-16 from the floor, including 4- of-7 behind the 3-point line. A.J. English pitched in with 19 points and six assists, but at the same time he was also charged with seven turnovers. David Laury added 12 points and six boards, followed by Tre Bowman with 11 points as the team knocked down an even 50 percent from the floor and 21-of-28 at the free-throw line.
Armand, the leading scorer for the Gaels in three straight outings and four of the last five, is putting up 23.1 ppg as one of the top performers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in the early going. He is shooting not only 53.9 percent from the floor but also 45.9 percent behind the 3-point line. Laury (14.8 ppg), English (13.9 ppg) and Bowman (12.1 ppg) are all major contributors at the offensive end of the floor for an Iona group that is putting up 80.6 ppg on the strength of 38.9 percent accuracy beyond the arc.
Limiting Central Michigan to just eight field goals in the first half, the Flyers took an early lead in the meeting with the Chippewas and never looked back, en route to the lopsided 26-point home win. Except for Khari Price who finished with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting behind the 3-point line, every starter scored in double figures for Dayton, with Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre leading the way with 15 points apiece. Jalen Robinson pitched in with 12 points and both Vee Sanford and Jordan Sibert accounted for 10 as the team shot 50.9 percent from the floor and crushed the visitors on the glass, 42-27.
Although he plays just under 26 minutes per contest, Sibert is the leading scorer for the Flyers with his 13.2 ppg, thanks to his 52.5 percent accuracy from the floor and 48.8 percent effort beyond the arc where he has accounted for one-third of the team's 63 triples through 10 games. While Sibert proves himself worthy on the perimeter, Oliver (12.5 ppg) does more of his damage in the paint where he is pulling down a team-best 6.9 rpg, not to mention pacing the program with 23 assists and 13 steals as well.
The fact that the Gaels were exposed by St. Bonnies in the last meeting means that a program like Dayton can dictate the tempo and that should be all the Flyers need in order to come out ahead tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dayton 74, Iona 63
12/19 11:18:15 ET