In first half, Dayton displays offensive precision
DAYTON — The University of Dayton basketball team hasn’t run its offense with the precision of a surgeon too often this season. Actually, the Flyers usually have been about as precise as a kid trying to color inside the lines with crayons.
But they put together perhaps their best offensive half of the season in a 73-58 win over Winthrop on Monday, moving the ball crisply while rolling to a 39-27 lead in the opening 20 minutes. They had assists on 12 of their 17 baskets and shot 46 percent from the field.
“I thought we shared the ball well. I thought even some of the shots we missed were pretty highquality looks,” UD coach Brian Gregory said.
The humming offense also helped the Flyers dominate the boards since defenders were often out of position to execute box-outs. UD had a 46-28 rebounding edge, grabbing 22 on the offensive end.
“If we can move the ball like that and play with the effort we played with to get 22 offensive rebounds, we’re going to keep getting better,” Gregory said.
Directing the show was Juwan Staten, who had nine points and nine assists.
“We knew this team was a scrappy team. We knew had to move the ball, drive and make second drives,” Staten said. “If we keep pressing the issue and moving the ball, we get open shots at the end.”
Staten had a 10-point, 10-assist double-double earlier this season, UD’s first in seven years. He was a bit aggravated he didn’t repeat the feat.
“Ten and 10 sounds a whole lot better, and I missed a free throw at the end,” he said. “But I’m happy we got the win and are continuing to get better every night.
STATEN NAMED: Staten was one of just five freshmen among 66 players nominated Monday for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation’s top point guard.
Staten went into the Winthrop game averaging 6.9 assists, which is the eighth-best mark nationally. He leads all freshmen in that category. Duke’s Kyrie Irving is second at 5.1.Gregory is excited about Staten’s progress.
“You can see it every day -— he keeps getting a little better. He’s getting more comfortable with what we do, he’s getting comfortable with the guys around him and he’s gaining confidence in that understanding,” Gregory said.
“He’s a completely different player than he was six weeks ago when we started. He’s got a high ceiling.”
NOSE FOR THE BALL: Seven of Chris Johnson’s eight rebounds were offensive. He has averaged 18.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in his last four games.
“CJ has a nose for the ball on the offensive end,” Gregory said. “We give him the freedom to go in any time he wants, and he’s starting to get a really good feel for the other guys on the court. … He knows where those shots are being taken from, which gives him an advantage on the offensive glass.”
ETC: Josh Parker and Johnson hooked up on a dandy fastbreak in the first half. Parker grabbed a defensive rebound, roared downcourt and flipped a backwards pass to a trailing Johnson for a lay-up.
• Luke Fabrizius is just 3-for-18 on 3-pointers since returning from a sprained ankle Dec. 1, but he made his first attempt against Winthrop and finished with seven points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.
Dayton’s Josh Parker looks for an open teammate as Winthrop’s Charles Corbin defends during the Flyers’ win Monday at UD Arena.