By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Its sort of a habit for Dayton to come out slow out if the gate, but they do make the most when they do show up.
Against the number-one team in 2A in Toledo, the Boomers came out behind 12 first half points by Jaydn Spangler to build a 21-10 lead on the Pirates in Dayton’s 61-50 victory at Corban University Monday night.
Jaysen Howard scored the first 10 points for Dayton, but almost on cue it seemed like, Dayton awoke and began chipping away at the 11-point deficit.
“We came out thinking that we were going to be better than them. I thought our ego was a little too high, we came out flat, bad defense. Then when the game progressed, we stepped it up,” said Howard, who score 10 of his 18 points in the first half.
Braden Nowlin got it to a three point game thanks to free throws and Lukas Findley got the Pirates to two, 23-21, with 2:35 remaining as their defense started to feed into their offense. Eventually Dayton ties the game at 26 with 1:15 left in the half after a Dawson Ashley free throw before Jacob Morales handed the Pirates a 28-26 halftime lead with a lay-in.
“We got to do what we got to do to get the lead and keep it going. We’re kind of use to it,” said Findley on the comeback entering the break. “Just got to pick up our energy in the locker room and get some hyped. When we play in Dayton, we’re super hyped in the locker room like ‘let’s go. We’re going to play as hard as we can’. Today, we kind of ‘Let’s go’, but we weren’t super hyped about the game. We were kind of lackadaisical, so we got to keep our energy up in the locker room before we come out and play.”
Findley would score 14 of his 19 points in the second half, but not until after Toledo took a 30-28 lead where Findley helped spark a 9-0 run with two three-pointers to make it 37-30 and Dayton sustain that momentum as they led 46-37.
But Toledo made a run to get the game to within four after a Spangler three, Spangler finished with 18 points, that made the game 46-42 in the fourth quarter. Tyler Spink hit a three to snap the 5-0 Boomer run with the Pirates pushing their lead to 11, capped by a dunk by Howard to put Dayton up double-figures as they polish off the win and handing Toledo their first loss in 17 games behind a more ebb and flow of their offense and defense.
“It feels great, it feels a lot better than the first half starting off slow. It felt good making some shots and getting the energy up,” said Howard.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald