Revenge wasn’t real sweet, but it still was tasty and Archie Miller said, “I don’t care about the scores, we had two nice wins this week and that’s all I care about.”
DAYTON — Payback can be hell and the University of Dayton issued some payback to La Salle Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t the carnage they would have liked.
With this payback, the Flyers left some loose change scattered on Blackburn Floor at UD Arena before winning, 59-44.
On January 9 in Philadelphia, La Salle employed slow down and eat-the-clock tactics to stun the Flyers, 61-57. It is La Salle’s only Atlantic 10 victory this season and it is UD’s only Atlantic 10 defeat this season.
La Salle has lost 12 of its last 13 games and that one victory was over the Flyers. Say 10 Hail Marys and go to the free throw line.
So revenge was playing lead chair in the UD basketball orchestra. While the Flyers didn’t extract their pound of flesh — they only got about a half a pound — they did get the victory, pushing their record to 18-3 and their Atlantic 10 work sheet to 8-1.
La Salle employed the same tactics as it did in the first game — and why not? The guards held the ball out front until the 30-second shot clock ticked down to 10 seconds and then they made their offensive moves.
And it worked again. La Salle trailed by only 46-42 with 8½ minutes left before the Flyers sprinted away with a 13-2 finishing touch.
“La Salle gives us a lot of problems, they really do,” said UD coach Archie Miller. “They take the air out of the ball and they take away our biggest strength, our activity level. They take away our work ethic, our pressure defense and they don’t let us get out in transition as much. They chop a leg off of you, so to speak.”
The Flyers had one leg chopped off the last time they played the Explorers. Kendall Pollard was unavailable due to an Achilles problem.
Not only was he available Saturday, he was a third leg in UD’s three-pronged attack. Pollard led the way with 18 points on five of nine shooting and 8 of 12 from the foul line. Dyshawn Pierre added 13 and Kyle Davis scored 12.
And Pollard could have been excused if he had taken the day off. On Thursday and Friday he was in Chicago attending the funeral of a cousin, Summer Mitchell, who was shot to death on the streets in Chicago.
“Violence is real bad in Chicago,” he said softly.
Pollard took it out on the Explorers and helps shred the slowdown.
“You have to stay prepared,” he said.
“They did it the last time and beat us so we prepared this time. We stayed tight on defense and once the shot clock ran down to about 15 to 10 seconds we stayed tight and watched for a ball screen.”
Pollard found himself watching La Salle coach Dr. John Giannini, who held up fingers on each possession to tell his team when to start the offense. But the doctor didn’t have the remember for the Flyers under-the-basket play.
“They stayed with us because they hit some tough shots,” said Pollard. They did, but they took a lot to make a few — 50 shots to make 16 and 26 shots to make eight three-pointers.
The Flyers shot only seven three-pointers and made three and there was a method to it that was not madness.
“The first time we played them we let them off the hook by jacking up too many three-point shots,” said Miller. “By going inside today we got 26 free throw attempts, by going into the paint. That’s why Pollard and Pierre had 17 free throw attempts between them and they had 19 shots between them.
“We also had eight offensive rebounds (and outboarded the Explorers, 40-23) and we knew our advantage against them was going to be inside.”
As for payback, Pollard had nothing to pay back because he didn’t play the first game and said, “We just wanted to win the game. We’d lost to them twice in a row before this game (including a game in last years A-10 tournament). So we wanted to just win this game.
“I was frustrated in the first game this year because I couldn’t play and was just sitting on the bench clapping and cheering,” he added, but didn’t add that there wasn’t much to clap or cheer about.”
Pollard returned from Chicago Friday night and attended the team’s shoot-around Saturday morning, “And I was ready to go. It was weighing on my mind a little bit but I had to put that aside and go out there and play.”
It was the second straight strong performance by Pollard.
“Kendall didn’t practice much at all this week due to his Achilles, his knee and home for that unfortunate tragedy that affected his community and his family,” said Miller.
“Kendall had seven offensive rebounds in our last two games,” Miller added. “He had one in our first seven games. He has regeared his mind to do some little things and he is starting to play a little bit better for us.
“I challenged him to play better this week, erase everything that has happened leading up to this week,” said Miller. “He is becoming himself again — aggressive, pounding the paint, driving the ball, offensive rebounds, going to the foul line. He looked the part this week, looked like himself.”
All wasn’t lost on the way the Flyers scuffled to win this one. Said Miller, “It makes us better because we found a way to win ugly. It wasn’t going to be easy and we knew that. They made us work defensively. We didn’t foul and go undisciplined the way we did the first time.”
Revenge wasn’t real sweet, but it still was tasty and Miller said, “I don’t care about the scores, we had two nice win this week and that’s all I care about.”
(Edited by Julie McMaken Wright)