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Jan 26, 2024 12:06 pm

No. 16 Dayton carries 13-game win streak into Richmond

No. 16 Dayton has won its first six Atlantic 10 games with minimal stress attached.

Outside of a two-point halftime deficit to Saint Louis on Jan. 16, Dayton (16-2, 6-0 Atlantic 10) has trailed for a mere 13 seconds against its conference foes.

Saturday’s game at Richmond has the potential to be the Flyers’ biggest test in conference play.

Winners of a Division I-best 13 straight games, Dayton looks to extend its streak while taking sole possession of first place in the conference against Richmond (14-5, 6-0).

Most recently, the Flyers took care of La Salle on Tuesday, pulling away for a 66-54 road victory. As has been the case for much of the season, Dayton was led by star center DaRon Holmes II, who collected 22 points and eight rebounds.

“DaRon has done what we expect him to do,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’s a guy that is a veteran now. He’s seen a lot of different looks. He’s put the work in. He’s doing what we know he’s capable of doing.”

Holmes leads the conference in scoring (19.6 points per game) while ranking fourth in both rebounds (7.6) and blocks (2.2) in the Atlantic 10.

Holmes, who has tallied double-digit points in all but one game this season, has keyed the longest winning streak for Dayton since the 2019-20 season. The Flyers rattled off 20 straight wins before COVID-19 ended the dream season.

Standing in Dayton’s way of extending its current streak are the upstart Spiders.

The Atlantic 10 preseason poll had Richmond finishing 11th in the conference. However, a third of the way through conference play, the Spiders have yet to lose an A-10 game. They can sit alone atop the league with an upset win on Saturday.

Thanks to 32 points from Jordan King and 20 from Isaiah Bigelow, Richmond rallied from a 12-point deficit to record an 82-74 victory over George Washington on Wednesday.

Down by 10 points with 1:02 left in the first half, King and Bigelow combined for a 9-0 run before the first-half buzzer. The duo helped Richmond pull away in the second half, combining for 28 of the team’s 49 points after halftime.

“He was incredible tonight,” Bigelow said of King. “We talked to him at halftime like, ‘Keep going, keep going.’ He was the hot hand.”

King’s 19.1 points per game place him close behind Holmes for the conference lead. Bigelow averages 11.7 points per contest, to go along with Neal Quinn’s 13.0 clip.

The Spiders’ sixth conference win pulls them within just one of last season’s A-10 total, with a massive opportunity ahead.

“We need to embrace the moment,” Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. “It’ll be a sold-out crowd, a nationally televised game. For many years, we have performed well when given these opportunities.”

Dayton has won 10 of the last 11 in the series, including four in a row at Richmond.

–Field Level Media

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