It’s the seventh-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the college hardwood as the Atlantic 10 takes on the WCC in an island paradise. The Dayton Flyers are the “road” team as they take on the BYU Cougars Friday afternoon. BYU took a second straight loss in the Bahamas as they fell to Butler 75-70, failing to cover the 1.5-point line, in their consolation bracket matchup Thursday evening. Dayton couldn’t rebound from their tournament-opening loss as they fell to NC State 76-64, losing outright as a 3.5-point favorite, in their consolation bracket clash Thursday afternoon. In the all-time series between the teams, the Cougars have won both meetings, including a 70-62 road win in the most recent matchup way back on January 3, 1959.
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Dayton Flyers Trying to Find Some RhythmDayton started the game strong on the offensive end but saw a jarring return to form as the game wore on, leading to a loss to NC State. The Flyers lost for the third time in four games as they fell to 3-3 on the season heading into this contest. Against NC State, Dayton jumped to a 19-9 lead eight minutes into the game but scored only 13 points the rest of the half to trail by four at intermission. The Flyers led by one with 15:15 to play in the game but that was their last high-water mark. Dayton gave up 17 straight points over the next four-plus minutes to trail 55-39 with 10:46 to play and never got closer than eight the rest of the way. The Flyers shot 49.1% from the floor, including two of 11 from beyond the arc, lost the rebounding battle 34-28 and turned the ball over 18 times in the loss. Toumani Camara paced the Flyers with 19 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
The Flyers come into this contest putting up 60.8 points per game, which is 351st in the nation, on the season. Dayton pulls down 38.8 rebounds per contest and hands out 12.7 assists per game on the year. The Flyers are a stellar 11th in scoring defense as they give up an average of 56.3 points per game. DaRon Holmes II leads the team with 13.2 points plus 5.7 rebounds a night this season. Mustapha Amzil (10.3 points, 4.7 boards) and Kobe Elvis (10.5 points, 4.5 boards, three assists) are good secondary scoring options. Koby Brea, Mike Sharavjamts, Toumani Camara, R.J. Blakney and Malachi Smith are important role players for coach Anthony Grant. Dayton shoots 41.1% from the field as a team on the year. The Flyers sink 5.7 three-pointers a game while shooting 25.6% from beyond the arc. Dayton is shooting a below-average 68.2% at the free-throw line this season.
BYU Cougars Hoping to Prevail in Island FinaleBYU had their moments of brilliance interspersed with long stretches of rough shooting, which led to them falling short against Butler in their consolation round matchup Thursday night. The Cougars suffered a second straight loss and fell to 3-3 on the season so they try to get back over the .500 mark this season with a win here. Against Butler, BYU trailed by nine multiple times in the first half and was down seven at the half. The Cougars opened the second half with a 12-0 run to lead by five and still held a one-point lead with 14:06 to play before getting outscored 9-2 over the next 2:46 to trail 54-48 with 11:20 to play. BYU didn’t get closer than one the rest of the way as they simply ran out of steam. The Cougars shot 41.8% from the field, including three of 15 from three-point range, and controlled the boards 39-27 though they were stung by Butler shooting 52.8% from the field in the contest. Fousseyni Traore led BYU with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
The Cougars are putting up 72.3 points a game so far this season, putting them 193rd in the nation in scoring offense. BYU is grabbing 41.8 boards per game (15th) and dishes out an average of 13.3 assists a night. The Cougars are below average on the defensive end as they are 231st in the nation with 72 points per game allowed this year. Foussenyi Traore is leading the team in scoring this season as he puts up 13 points plus 7.8 rebounds per contest. Spencer Johnson (11 points, 4.3 rebounds) and Gideon George (11.7 points, 7.5 rebounds) are solid secondary scorers. Rudi Williams (10.7 points, three boards, 3.3 assists), Noah Waterman, Jaxson Robinson, Atiki Ally Atiki, Richie Saunders, Dallin Hall and Trey Stewart are all key contributors for coach Mark Pope. BYU shoots 42.9% from the floor as a team. The Cougars sink 7.3 three-pointers per game while shooting 28.9% from downtown. BYU is struggling so far at the free throw line, sinking just 65.5% of their chances this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
We’ve got two teams that have really struggled shooting the ball, especially from the perimeter. Dayton did hit better than 49% in the loss to NC State but continued to be plagued by turnovers as they committed 18 in the loss. The Flyers can ill afford to keep coughing up the ball as often as we’ve seen if they hope to have success this season. BYU managed to hang around against Butler but they can’t allow teams to shoot better than 50% like we saw in the game Thursday. With that said, it’s tough to know who is going to put points on the board for the Flyers. As a result, roll with BYU here as they come up with the victory in the final game of the tournament for both teams.
Full-Game Total Pick
Dayton comes into this game having stayed under the number in four of their six games this season. The Flyers are 18th in defensive efficiency, 16th in effective field goal percentage defense (40.6%), 30th in three-point defense (25.9%) and 28th in two-point defense (41.7%) this season. Dayton is a very methodical team as they are 331st in the nation in adjusted tempo with 65.2 possessions a night according to KenPom. BYU enters this game having seen the over post a 4-2 mark in their six games in relation to the total. The Cougars do run at a fast pace as they are 46th in the nation in tempo with 72.3 possessions a night this season according to KenPom. BYU’s problem, in addition to mediocre shooting, is that they turn the ball over at a ridiculous rate: 24.1% of their possessions end in a miscue, putting them 341st in the country in that department and negating that they are 30th in offensive rebounding percentage as they collect boards on 36.6% of their misses. Both teams turn the ball over quite a bit and that might lead to enough offense in transition to edge this over the number.