'Twas the game before Christmas and through UD Arena, 12,000 people were cackling, like laughing hyenas. The fans were decked in their blue and their red, Excited for a victory that lay surely ahead.
Some students were tucked behind the North basket, Ready to disrupt the Flames, by raising a racket. The pep band tried to raise spirits higher, With their constant chants, of "Go, Dayton Flyers."
Out on the court arose such a clatter, After the ball was tipped, and players started to scatter. UIC wasn't there just to lay down, They wanted to send everyone home wearing a frown.
Marc Brown hit a three that put the Flames up four, Three minutes in, the Flyers knew a fight was in store. They tried to battle back, tried to lay down the law, They got back-to-back hoops from Matt Kavanaugh.
With a new, young leader urging them on, Archie Miller yelled until his voice was long gone. He watched his team struggle with a vigilant eye, Decked in a dark suit with a stylish red tie.
Several missed free throws likely drew his ire, At the line the Flyers were ice, not fire. The curse even spread to a free-throw contest, Four fans took a 15-footer, and all failed the test.
At the half, the home team was down three. It was not a performance that inspired much glee. While 75 dancers preformed a epic halftime show, Coach Miller told his team how the second half would go.
"Now Dillard, now Oliver, now Parker and Benson, On Williams, Gavrilovic, Kavanaugh and Johnson. Clean up the boards, drive down the lane, Make some more shots, or we will lose this game."
After the speech that Coach Miller delivered, The Flyers made three baskets, two by Kevin Dillard. Dayton had the lead, the Flames called timeout. Trying to stop the game from becoming a rout.
Despite the timeout, the Flyers continued their run, Benson made another hoop, and had a chance at an "and one." The Dayton lead was now up to nine, But once again the Flyers failed to convert at the line.
The miss gave the Flames some flashes of life, Daniel Barnes tried to relieve some of UIC's strife. A jumper, an assist, a deep superhoop! Suddenly, the Dayton lead started to droop.
A steal by Barnes, the deficit was now two. The fans tried to rally the red and blue crew. Barnes hit another three, his third of the night, Now it was the Flames who led in the fight.
The lead was short-lived, Dayton started to attack, Chris Johnson started to put the team on his back. He spoke not a word, he went to his task, He made his free throws, he cleaned up the glass.
The teams would battle until the final horn, The result seemed inevitable, it must be sworn. The overhead scoreboards told the final result, 64-57, Flyer fans would exult.
They walked up the aisles, and out to their cars. Where were they heading? Maybe the bars! Wherever it was, they streamed out of sight. Remember, it's only two months until Championship Fortnight.
at DAYTON 64, ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 57 12/23/2011
ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 4-8 (0-2) -- D. Barnes 5-17 4-4 17; G. Talton 4-11 3-4 11; D. Williams 6-9 2-5 14; P. Carter 1-4 0-2 2; M. Brown 2-6 0-0 5; M. Bush 0-3 0-1 0; H. Humes 2-4 0-0 4; W. Simonton 0-0 0-0 0; G. Travis 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 22-56 9-16 57. DAYTON 9-4 (0-0) -- C. Johnson 2-6 4-4 8; J. Benson 5-9 3-5 13; K. Dillard 5-9 1-5 11; P. Williams 1-5 2-3 4; D. Oliver 3-5 2-2 9; J. Parker 1-5 3-5 6; M. Kavanaugh 3-5 0-0 6; A. Gavrilovic 3-6 0-0 6; R. Hill 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 23-50 16-26 64.
Three-point goals: UIC 4-23 (D. Barnes 3-13; M. Bush 0-3; H. Humes 0-1; M. Brown 1-2; G. Talton 0-4), UD 2-7 (J. Parker 1-3; C. Johnson 0-2; K. Dillard 0-1; D. Oliver 1-1); Rebounds: UIC 31 (D. Williams 8), UD 36 (J. Benson 8); Assists: UIC 16 (G. Talton 7), UD 8 (K. Dillard 4); Total Fouls -- UIC 22, UD 18; Fouled Out: UIC-D. Williams; UD-M. Kavanaugh.