The Battle 4 Atlantis was an unmitigated disaster for Dayton. Not only did the Flyers lose three games in as many days, but they also returned home from the Bahamas with their two backcourt starters on crutches.
Dayton (5-4) recovered last week with a pair of wins with a revamped lineup. On Wednesday night, the Flyers get their first major test without Kobe Elvis (knee) and Malachi Smith (ankle) as they travel to Virginia Tech (8-1).
The Hokies are coming off their most fulfilling win of the season, 80-72 over North Carolina in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener as Justyn Mutts scored 27 points, his most in his three seasons at Virginia Tech.
With UNC’s best player, center Armando Bacot, sidelined by a shoulder injury, the Hokies dominated the boards, 39-25, as Mutts (11 rebounds) and reserve MJ Collins (eight points, eight rebounds) did the heavy lifting.
“We needed the Tar Heels, someone of that ilk to play,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “That heightened sense of awareness, embracing the grit and the grind that goes along with winning games of this nature.”
After losing its backcourt duo, Dayton has shifted 6-8 freshman Mike Sharavjamts from the frontcourt to the point. Sharavjamts produced 18 points and 16 assists in the Flyers last two games, while Toumani Camara added 37 points.
The Flyers now start five players who are listed as forwards, all between 6-6 and 6-10.
Mustapha Amzil contributed a combined 30 points and 12 rebounds in the wins over Western Michigan, 67-47, and Southeastern Louisiana, 80-74, which was coach Anthony Grant’s 300th career victory.
Dayton is led by 6-10 DaRon Holmes who had double-doubles in the two wins and carries averages of 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
“We’ve got a lot of length,” Camara said. “We’re able to put out different defenses like we showed today with a different zone and a different press.”
Virginia Tech leads the series 8-7, going 5-0 at home. Dayton was a 62-57 winner last year in a game that Young called “the worst five-point beating I’ve ever had.”
–Field Level Media