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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,732) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Fordham 7-8, UD 13-4. Away Record: Fordham 2-12, UD 7-4. Neutral Record: Fordham 1-0, MU 1-3, UD 2-1. Conference Record: Fordham 2-14, UD 10-6. Series Record: Dayton leads, 24-5.
GAME NOTES: Coming into the postseason riding a strong wave of success, the fifth-seeded Dayton Flyers take on the 13th-seeded Fordham Rams in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament at the Barclays Center.
The winner of the game will meet fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
Fordham outlasted 12th-seeded George Mason in the opening round on Wednesday night. Losers of their last eight coming into the postseason, Fordham was absolutely reeling prior to prevailing over the Patriots. Last Saturday, the Rams lost a close one to George Washington at home, 70-67, in their final game of the regular season.
The Flyers have a 20-17 overall record in the Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship. Last year, UD lost in the first round to Butler. The Flyers have won three straight and nine of 10 entering the tourney, including their tuneup for the tournament, a 60-48 home triumph over Richmond.
Dayton has dominated Fordham in the all-time series, 24-5. The Flyers won the only matchup between the teams this season, taking care of the Rams in the Bronx on Jan. 15, 80-68. That was the eighth straight win for the Flyers in the series.
Led by 14 points each from Branden Frazier and Bryan Smith, Fordham edged George Mason in their opening-round bout. Jon Severe added 12 points, Travion Leonard chipped in with 10 points and Ryan Canty was a monster on the glass, pulling down 19 rebounds for the victors. Fordham jumped out to an early lead and took a 33-26 advantage into the break. They pulled ahead by as many as 11 in the second period before the Patriots rallied and narrowed the Rams' lead to just one with nine minutes to play. The game was tightly played the rest of the way. Trailing by three with four seconds to go, the Patriots missed two free throws, but got the rebound on the second miss and had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Patrick Holloway's last-second 3-pointer was off the mark.
The Rams field the best one-two punch in the conference, with Frazier (17.8 ppg, 5.1 rig) and Severe (17.4) sitting at second and third, respectively, in the A-10 scoring column. Mandell Thomas adds 12.1 ppg. On the glass, Fordham is led by Rhoomes with 6.9 rpg and Canty with 6.0 rpg. The Rams are scoring a respectable 71.7 ppg, but are the worst defensive club in the conference, allowing 77.7 ppg with foes knocking down their shots at a 46.1 percent clip, both ranking Fordham at the bottom on the league in those categories.
In their final regular-season game, seniors Devin Oliver and Vee Sanford led the Flyers past the Richmond Spiders. Oliver posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Sanford added 14 points. Jordan Sibert chipped in 12 points for the Flyers with a strong game from the perimeter, hitting on 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. A strong first half allowed the Flyers to take a commanding lead at the break, 34-19. Richmond got as close as eight late in the second half, but UD was able to pull away to secure the victory.
The Flyers play well at both ends of the court, scoring 73.2 ppg while only allowing 67.4 ppg to their opponents, giving them the fifth-best scoring margin in the A-10. Sibert leads the team at the offensive end, putting up 12.6 ppg. Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre are close behind at 12.4 and 11 ppg, respectively, with Oliver adding 7.4 rpg and 2.4 apg for good measure. Sanford is just out of the double-figure scoring club with his 9.5 ppg. On the glass, while the Flyers only pull down 35.2 rpg, they top the conference in rebounding margin (+4.3) by limiting teams to just 30.9 rpg.
While the tandem of Frazier and Smith is a formidable one, the Fordham defense gives up far too many points and allows their opponents too many good shots. The Flyers are the hottest team in the conference and should be able to take advantage of the weaknesses of the Rams and advance to the quartfinals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dayton 77, Forham 67
03/13 11:00:56 ET
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