Dayton Coach Brian Gregory Outwits UNC's Roy Williams in NIT Championship
Think about this situation.
You're the coach of a college basketball team. You enter halftime up 45-32, but your opponent only needs the first four minutes of the second half to claw to within three points.
Don't forget, you're competing for the NIT Championship, and your opponent, the defending NCAA champ, has fans all over the country—so of course they're well-represented in New York, the site of the game.
Fortunately for you, this is a hypothetical situation. But, for Dayton's Brian Gregory, it was reality Thursday night against North Carolina.
The Tar Heels had just cut the Flyers' lead to 49-46 when the under-16 TV timeout arrived. Dayton had struggled to find high percentage shots through the first four minutes of the second half and had also succumbed to UNC's uptempo style, enabling the Tar Heels to get out and run more frequently.
Presumably under Gregory's instruction, Dayton dumped the ball into Kurt Huelsman on the left block following the timeout. The 6'10" senior missed from close, but got his own rebound and scored. The idea was right—Dayton needed to quit chucking jumpers and find a high-percentage shot while slowing the game down.
Next possession, Luke Fabrizius was whistled for an illegal screen with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. The result was a turnover, but the Flyers were clearly trying to use more clock and slow down UNC.
Following that, another layup by Huelsman late in the shot clock.
North Carolina's momentum was officially neutralized, and the Flyers were once again playing with confidence.
Dayton continued to shoot from long range, as they had most of the game, but almost all of the three-pointers they took were wide open and many were mid to late in the shot clock.
Gregory had successfully set the pace to his advantage.
Eventually, Roy Williams set up a zone press to force turnovers. But, is it any surprise that Gregory countered with a press break that not only kept the ball in Dayton's possession but also led to layups on the other end?
You'd have to think that Roy Williams and the Tar Heels would have been favored with the combination of Williams' reputation, the team's second half momentum, and the predominantly blue and white crowd on their side.
However, Gregory outwitted the mastermind behind the team that routed Michigan State in the NCAA Championship last year.
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