No. 24 Dayton preps for smothering SMU

No. 24 Dayton aims for better shooting when it hosts SMU on Friday following the Flyers’ season-opening 73-46 win over Lindenwood on Monday.

Led by Mustapha Amzil’s 14 points, the Flyers had five players score in double figures in the season tipoff. R.J. Blakney and Daron Holmes each had 13 points, while Mike Sharavjamts and Kobe Elvis each chipped in 10.

But the Flyers shot 24 for 51 (47.1 percent) from the field, including 5 for 19 (26.3 percent) from 3-point range, and made just 20 of 30 free-throw attempts in the lopsided win.

“I love the shots that we were getting,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Obviously, it wasn’t one of our better shooting nights, but those are shots we want our guys taking. I love that we didn’t allow missed shots to impact the intensity we played with on the defensive end.”

The Flyers stymied the Lions, who were playing their first game as a Division I steam. Lindenwood shot 18 for 55 (32.7 percent), including 4 for 20 (20 percent) from beyond the arc, in addition to being outrebounded 42-32.

Dayton’s performance, which included Toumani Camara grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds, came without sophomore point guard Malachi Smith, who is sidelined with an injured ankle and will likely be out against SMU. Smith averaged 9.3 points and 5.3 assists per game while averaging a team-high 31 minutes a game last season.

Elvis replaced Smith and had five assists, and so did Sharavjamts, as Dayton recorded an assist on 19 of its 24 field goals.

SMU first-year coach Rob Lanier picked up his first win in the Mustangs’ season-opening, 77-60 win over visiting Texas A&M-Commerce on Monday in Dallas.

The Mustangs ended the game on a 37-20 run in the final 13 minutes after the score was tied at 40.

“As the game was going on, you don’t want it to be as close as it was,” Lanier said. “But the fact that it was and played it out the way it did made us come together and show resolve. For that, I wouldn’t have scripted it any differently.”

Zhruic Phelps scored 28 points on 11 for 17 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three steals, while Samuell Williamson recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Efe Odigie had nine points and 10 rebounds, with Zach Nutall adding 12 points.

SMU shot 29 for 58 (50 percent) from the field, but just 3 for 18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range. But the Mustangs forced the Lions to shoot 23 for 66 (34.8 percent) from the field, including 5 for 23 from beyond the arc, and outrebounded them 42-34.

“It was one of those nights where we didn’t play to the best of our ability defensively” Phelps said. “But we got it going offensively and that got us going defensively.”

–Field Level Media