Foul shooting kills Dayton
DAYTON — Forty-six seconds into the game, Jon Joyner missed two free throws. That proved to be precursor of things to come.
Dayton made just 24 of 45 from the free-throw line and turned the ball over 23 times en route to a 55-52 loss to Fernley on Friday.
It’s simple math. The Dust Devils threw at least 60 possible points, and that’s enough to tick off any coach, and Jason Santos was no exception. Fernley was 8-for-21 at the line and turned the ball over 21 times.
“Twenty-one missed free throws and lack of execution down the stretch,” said a tight-lipped Santos. “They (Dust Devils) fought the whole game, but when you miss 20-plus free throws I can’t do anything for them.”
Dayton trailed 41-24 with 6:13 left in the third quarter. The Dust Devils outscored Fernley 28-14 the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough.
The Dust Devils were able to wipe out a 10-point deficit thanks to a 13-3 run spanning nearly six minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 52 with 53.1 remaining.
Steve Thompson started the surge with two free throws and then Joiner made one of two to make it 49-42. Bernardo Macias, who led all scorers with 23 points, made a layup as did Joiner to make it 49-46. After a free throw by Dominic Ceresola made it 50-46, Macias and Thompson combined for three free throws, trimming the lead to 50-49 with 3:10 left.
Fernley’s Johnny Corbin scored with 1:44 remaining for a 52-49 lead, but Marcos Saylor made three free throws, two with 53.1 left to tie the game at 52. After Eric Allen missed a 3-pointer, Dayton’s Blake Blocker turned the ball over. Skylar Williams gave Fernley a 53-52 lead with 24.3 left when he made one of two from the line. Blocker had a chance to tie the game or put the Dust Devils ahead, but he clanked both shots off iron. Dayton got the offensive rebound, but couldn’t connect on either of its putback attempts. Brian Reyes was fouled with 11.4 left and made the second of two shots to make it 54-52.
Dayton, despite all of its shortcomings, still had a chance to tie or win, but Corbin came up behind Thompson and stole the ball. Saylor was called for an intentional foul on Corbin, and then Santos was whistled for a technical foul. Corbin missed both shots, and then Ceresola made one of two to make it 55-52. And, to make matters worse, Fernley maintained possession of the ball.
Besides the problems at the line, Dayton did a poor job of being patient and getting the ball inside to Macias, who was a force inside despite the fact that the Vaqueros collapsed their zone defense around him. Dayton did a poor job of ball movement against the zone.
The Dust Devils played without leading scorer Austin Fletcher, who missed the game because he was on a recruiting trip to Western Oregon.
“That was big,” Santos said. “I didn’t have anybody to go to (other than Macias) every time.”
Fletcher was coming off a big effort in Tuesday’s win against Truckee, and Fernley really had nobody that was big enough or strong enough to match up with him.