Dayton beat URI 77-48 Saturday afternoon at the Ryan Center.
How it happened: Dayton raced out of the gates to a 12-0 lead, making six of their first 10 shots, as URI missed its first eight. While there a few hints at a URI comeback, the ton was set. After falling behind by as many as 21 in the first half, the Rams worked back to a 14-point deficit at the half. After an even first segment in the second half, the Flyers went on an 12-2 run to take complete control.
What it means: URI had scored significant home wins over VCU and St. Louis. With the biggest crowd of the season packed into the Ryan Center hoping for another, the Rams delivered their worst performance of the year. Dayton was always going to be a tougher matchup than VCU or the Billikens, given its offensive prowess, but URI made it even tougher with a poor showing at both ends. Head coach David Cox called it an embarrassing performance. The Rams fell to 5-6 in Atlantic 10 play and can’t have a repeat of that performance if they want to make any noise the rest of the way. As Cox said, “It’s one of those leagues where anybody can beat anybody on a given night. Obviously, if we play the way we played tonight, we won’t beat anybody else.”
Buried: URI missed a 3-pointer on its first possession of the game. Dayton also missed its first shot. But then the onslaught began. The Flyers scored inside and out in jumping to the 12-0 lead. The surge was capped by 3-pointers from Jordan Davis and Jalen Crutcher. URI had some good looks in the meantime and wasn’t bombing away from 3, but just couldn’t get anything to go.
No comeback: In URI’s loss to Duquesne, the Dukes’ comeback from 19 points down at the half began almost immediately after the break, with a tone-setting first four minutes. The Rams tried for the same kind of stretch and were on the cusp of it, but five straight points gave way to a turnover and a runout layup by Crutcher. The Rams also missed three free throws. And after the five straight points, they had only one bucket in the next six minutes. At that point, the window had closed.
Not grounded: With URI’s offensive struggles, its defense simply has to be very good, and it wasn’t on this night. The league’s top-scoring offense was even better than usual, shooting 63 percent from the field. Cox said URI’s poor shooting and lack of confidence is starting to bleed into the defensive end: “We’ve got to be tougher mentally so that one end of the floor doesn’t necessarily affect the other. We can never, never have a poor defensive showing. We’ve got a small margin of error with this team.” That seemed especially true in the first half. The offensive problems felt similar to what URI endured in its win over VCU, but in that game, VCU had 25 points at the half. Dayton had 41.
Icy: URI hit on 29.6 percent from the floor, its worst shooting performance of the season. They were also just 3-of-19 from the field. The 48 points were a season-low. At this point, the Rams are reeling, and there’s a snowball effect in terms of what’s available. Dayton clogged up the lane, making drives to the bucket very difficult. Cox said, “Strategically, what teams are doing is they are packing the lanes. At some point, you have to step into a shot and make a shot.” Cox said there’s no lack of work on shooting -- “Our guys live in the gym” - but that shots have to start falling in game action for the Rams to find a way out of this slump.
One and only: Cyril Langevine was the lone bright spot. He had 23 points and 10 rebounds and did so against one of the top front lines in the league. He was the only Ram in double figures.
Quotable: “I want to apologize to all the fans that came out today to support us. What a tremendous atmosphere. They showed up. We didn’t.” - Cox
Next: URI has a week to reset before hosting Fordham next Saturday.