This was my 131st time seeing the Dayton Flyers live and in 81 percent of those games they won and today was no different. From the opening tip, the Flyers of Dayton out played the Seahawks. Donte Morales turned the ball over on Wilmington's first possession and Dayton's Paul Williams hit a 3 on the other end, and the route was on. When the final whistle blew, the Flyers prevailed 74-49, the second win of the Archie Miller era.
We could review the shooting, passing, and dribbling of both teams, but really the most impressive part of this afternoon's game was the crowd. We are lucky.
I was watching UNC-Greensboro play at Georgetown this past week and noted that the attendance seemed pretty low for a Georgetown game. 7,987 showed up for that contest. I remember when Greensboro came to UD Arena a few years ago, and me and over 12,000 of my closest basketball crazy friends showed up.
The Dayton Flyers are lucky.
The Dayton Flyer fans, better known as the Flyer Faithful, are also lucky. Like 99% of the games since the UD Arena was built in 1969 over 10,000 fans showed up again: 12,538 of the faithful showed up today to watch the Dayton Flyers take on the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington.
We are lucky.
Most teams in the country don't get this kind of support. I can think of only one school in the Other 24 that averages over 12,000 fans for every game of the season, Creighton. The Dayton Flyers have been in the NCAA's top 35 for attendance every season since UD Arena opened. That is a pretty amazing statistic for sure. Some of those years were pretty lean, in the 3 seasons from 1991-1993, the Flyers were a ridiculous 17-67 and yet still averaged over 12,000 fans. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
We are lucky.
The NCAA has recognized the Faithful and rewarded them and their University with the Play In Game (PIG) for all of its existence and the First Round (the new PIGs) in 2011 and 2012. After the 2012 NCAA tournament, the UD Arena will have hosted more tournament games than any other arena. The Faithful pack the UD Arena in those nights as well. We don't care who is playing. UD vs UNC-Wilmington, UD vs. Xavier, UD vs. Pittsburgh or UT-SA vs. Alabama State we fill that arena.
Coaches, staff and players come and go. But one thing remains a constant; the Flyer Faithful come out every game and support the men in Red and Blue.