Winthrop travels to Dayton on New Year’s Day LIVE on WRHI at 1:30p

Posted December 31, 2013 9:27 am | Filed under Featured, Sports, Winthrop Athletics, Winthrop Basketball

ROCK HILL, SC—The Winthrop men’s basketball team heads to Ohio hoping to end a three-game skid as it takes on Dayton at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at UD Arena.

Winthrop heads into the matchup with the Flyers sporting a 6-5 mark, but has lost three straight including a double-overtime game at Hampton in its last game. The Eagles are 1-4 on the road this season and take on a Dayton team that is 10-3 on the year and 7-1 at home.

This will be the third road game in the last four as the Eagles look to avoid four straight losses for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

The Eagles posted 95 points in the loss at Hampton, which were the most points scored in a road contest since scoring 109 at VMI during 2006-07.

Freshman Keon Johnson has been the Eagles most consistent scorer all season and more recently after he poured in a career-high 24 points at Hampton for his fifth straight double-figure game. He’s scored 15 or more points in four of the last five games and leads the team at 14.8. He’s shooting 46 percent from the field and an impressive 50 percent behind the arc (26-for-52). This game will be somewhat of a Homecoming for Johnson as he attended Mansfield High School in Mansfield, OH which is a little over a 130 miles from Dayton.

Senior Joab Jerome has been one of the team’s more reliable scorers, but has recently struggled to get his offense going as he scored seven points at Hampton and a season-low three points in the home loss to Wofford. Jerome has just 21 points since scoring 20 points in the Eagles win over Appalachian State. On the road Jerome has averaged 11.6 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 53 percent behind the arc (8-for-15). In his two-game road swing through Ohio last season, Jerome averaged 9.0 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the floor.

Johnson wasn’t the only player to reach 20 points in the loss at Hampton as redshirt junior Keon Moore had his best game as an Eagle with 22 points as he finished the game 8-for-9 at the foul line. Since making his season debut on Nov. 23 after suffering an injury in preseason, Moore has gradually improved his scoring as he’s done a good job getting to the line as he’s struggled shooting the ball from the floor. Moore is 14-for-16 at the line in the last two games.

This will be head coach Pat Kelsey’s second trip back to his home state as the Eagles made a two-road swing to Ohio and Ohio State in 2012-13. Freshman Josh Davenport his also from Ohio as he is a Cincinnati native like Kelsey.

Winthrop and Dayton have met just two times with both meetings coming at UD Arena and the Flyers earning the win in both. This will be the fifth trip to UD Arena as the Eagles are 0-4 all-time having dropped both of their NCAA Tournament Play-In Games.

The Flyers are coming off a home win over Murray State and this game will mark the team’s fifth straight home game as they’ve also won three of four games. Dayton has a few notable victories this season having defeated Georgia Tech, #10/11 Gonzaga, and California. The Flyers nearly knocked off #17/18 Baylor in a 67-66 loss.

In their seven home wins, the Flyers have won six of them by 10 or more points with the only one less was the season opener against Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne. The only loss came at the hands of Southern California, 79-76.

A trio of players average double-figures to lead an offense scoring 77.1 points per game this season and shooting 48 percent from the floor. Redshirt junior Jordan Sibert is tops on the team with a 13.3 average and is the top shooting three-pointer shooter on the team at 49 percent (29-for-59). Sophomore Dyshawn Pierre, a 6-6 forward, is shooting 51 percent from the floor and averaging 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds. Senior Devin Oliver is scoring 11.5 per game and leading the team with 7.4 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Pierre led Dayton with 19 points while Oliver had 12 points and Sibert chipped in with 11 in the team’s last game, a 72-51 victory over Murray State. Dayton leads the Atlantic 10 in rebounding defense allowing opponents just 30.5 per game. The Flyers are 9-2 when winning the battle on the boards. The Flyers have been strong on the offensive boards as well having averaged 15.5 per game over the last four games and 17.5 second chance points in that span as well.

You can hear Dave Friedman with the call LIVE on WRHI FM 94.3/AM 1340/ starting at 1:30p with the Toyota of Rock Hill Countdown to Tip-Off.