February 05, 2016

Dayton has followed a loss to the Atlantic 10's worst team last month by matching its longest conference winning streak in two years.

Avoiding another disappointing defeat would push that time frame to seven.

The 24th-ranked Flyers look to continue their defensive dominance and equal their longest league run since 2009 when they visit George Mason on Saturday.

A 61-57 loss at La Salle on Jan. 9 resulted in Dayton's only blemish in conference play, but the Flyers (18-3, 8-1) responded with six consecutive wins.

The backend of the stretch has featured stifling defense that hasn't been seen in the Atlantic 10 since the turn of the century. Dayton has held Fordham, Saint Louis and La Salle to 50 points or fewer while the three have combined to shoot 32.1 percent.

The Flyers limited the Billikens to 37 points and 27.3 percent shooting on Jan. 27 before exacting revenge on the Explorers with a 59-44 victory three days later.

Dayton hadn't held three consecutive opponents to 50 points or fewer since the opening three games of the 2008-09 season and had never done it before in conference play. Temple - now with the American Athletic Conference - was the last Atlantic 10 team with a streak that long in consecutive conference games, holding six opponents to 50 points or fewer in 2000.

The Flyers' reward? A six-day break to prepare for George Mason.

"It comes at a good time," said coach Archie Miller, whose team is 4-1 on the road. "Sometimes the physical is overrated. I think the mind at this point in time is what can distract a player, drag a player down, fatigue a player. That more than anything this time of year is something we're focusing in on. We're refreshed right now, mentally."

A sixth straight win in this series would help the Flyers equal a seven-game conference run from 2009.

Though Dayton's defensive numbers have stolen the show, Kendall Pollard has led the Flyers offensively. The junior forward followed a three-point, two-rebound performance at Fordham with 18 points and eight rebounds in each of the last two games. Pollard made 13 of 18 shots last week as the Flyers have shot 47.9 percent overall.

While Dayton had plenty of time to rest up, George Mason (8-14, 2-7) will play its third game in seven days. The Patriots snapped a three-game losing streak with Wednesday's 78-74 win at Richmond.

That was George Mason's second straight quality showing after dropping a tight 76-70 contest to George Washington on Jan. 31 - the Patriots' fourth home loss in as many tries in conference play.

While Dayton holds opponents to a conference-best 63.5 points per game, George Mason averages 66.1 - tied with Saint Louis for the Atlantic 10's second-worst mark ahead of just La Salle's 63.4.

Leading scorer Marquise Moore is averaging 10.7 points and 29.4 percent shooting in the last three games.

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