Danville tunes up with rout of Dayton

December 22, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

Just as college basketball teams like Kentucky and Louisville do, the Danville Admirals are playing games in December that will prepare them for January and February.

The Admirals are trying to develop confidence and cohesion in the early stages of their season, and coach Craig Pippen said games like the one they played Tuesday will help them do that.

Danville improved to 5-0 by pummeling Dayton 75-22 in a game that played out much like a college team's pre-conference tuneup game.

"One thing we wanted to do this year is set (the schedule) up to give us some confidence and the opportunity to play together," Pippen said.


The Admirals entered their Christmas break undefeated for the first time in recent memory, and they said that's a pretty good present for the holiday.

"That's probably the best gift anybody could give us," Pippen said.

"It's something we haven't done since I've been in the program," guard Eric Caldwell said. "It's good to have some confidence. We could go into district 9- or 10-0, and that'd give us a lot of confidence to do what we want to do in the district."

An average margin of 47 points

Danville has won its first five games by an average margin of 47 points, although none of its five opponents has won more than once.

But Pippen said given the fact that the entire team has been together for only about two weeks since the players who were on the Danville football team came into the gym, things are going better than he could have hoped.

"This time of year, I couldn't ask for more," he said.

The Admirals had no problem distancing themselves from Dayton (1-7), which has won only three games since the start of last season. They outscored the Greendevils 30-2 over the final 9:03 of the first half to lead 39-12 at halftime.

Danville's defense flustered Dayton from the start, and the Admirals forced 29 turnovers that led directly to 38 points, many of them on breakaway layups. Eleven of those turnovers came in the second quarter, when they got off more than three times as many shots (24) as Dayton (seven).

Meanwhile, Danville had just 13 turnovers, only four in the first half.

"We were just having fun and playing as a team," Caldwell said.

Steven Gray had 11 points and Caldwell had eight at the break, but there were plenty of baskets to go around. Seven different Danville players scored in the second quarter, and two others also took shots.

Unselfishness is one of Danville's best qualities

Caldwell said unselfishness is one of Danville's best qualities this season, and he said they were better than ever in that area against Dayton.

"This year we don't have a lot of people who want to be individuals," he said. "We know each other, and we've been playing with each other a long time. Everyone wants to play as a team."

That's just what Pippen wants, too.

"This team is by far the most unselfish team I've coached," he said.

Dayton scored its 10 first-quarter points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field, but the Greendevils were just 5-for-19 over the last three periods.

In the fourth quarter, which began with Danville leading 68-19, Dayton ran a slow, deliberate offense with the intent of running out the clock, and the two teams combined for only 10 points and 12 shots. The Greendevils went without a basket from the 3:00 mark of the third quarter until their final field goal with six seconds remaining.

Pippen pleased with level of intensity

Pippen said he was glad to see his team maintain a high level of intensity from start to finish.

"We told them to keep working hard and don't adjust your intensity level to your opponent," he said. "When we get up on a team, we want to pour it on, and when we get down we want to work hard to fight back."

Danville shot 46 percent (32-for-69) from the field and outrebounded Dayton 40-23.

Gray led the Admirals with 13 points and nine rebounds, Chase Overstreet had 12 points and Caldwell and Ronnie Hawkins had 10 each. Ryan Harp added eight rebounds.

The Admirals are taking four days off before resuming practice for their two games in next week's City of Firsts Classic.

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