Thursday January 3, 2008

On a Roll

With 25 straight wins between them, the men's and women's basketball teams are enjoying the longest combined winning streak in the country. Led by Brian Roberts, the men are ranked 20th in the nation.

The 20th-ranked men's team is 12-1, after knocking off sixth-ranked Pittsburgh by 25 points on Dec. 29 and a tenacious Akron team in double overtime on Jan. 2. The women are 14-2, with 14 straight victories. That's the longest winning streak in modern school history and a tie for longest in the nation.

The No. 20 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll is the highest during Brian Gregory's tenure at UD and the first time UD broke into the Top 25 in four years. The Flyers are ranked 23rd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Brian Roberts earned more national notice when ESPN college basketball analyst Andy Katz named the senior guard the national player of the week in his "Weekly Watch" column on ESPN.com. Roberts is the only player in the nation to earn the award twice this season.

Roberts first earned the honor on Dec. 10 after he scored 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting in UD's 70-65 win at Louisville. He added five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in 37 minutes of play. Against Pittsburgh, Roberts scored a game-high 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor to help the Dayton Flyers to an 80-55 victory.

Roberts and the Flyers were also recognized by ESPN's Dick Vitale, who named the UD point guard his player of the week and Dayton his team of the week on his web site. Vitale ranks UD in his poll at No. 14, while Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline has the Flyers at No. 16 in his rankings.

It's been a banner year for UD athletics. Football won the Pioneer Football League title, finishing 11-1. Volleyball wrapped up its season 33-2 and was ranked as high as 12th in the nation. The team won the Atlantic 10 conference championship for the fourth time in five years and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Women's soccer finished 13-4-4 and reached the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament. The men's squad, 10-4-5, lost to national runner-up UMass on penalty kicks in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Beyond the field or court, Flyer student-athletes star in the classroom. UD's institutional Graduation Success Rate of 95 ranks first among Atlantic 10 institutions and 16th in the nation. Nine different Dayton teams had perfect GSRs of 100 including women's basketball, women's track and field/cross country, men's cross country, women's golf, women's rowing, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and volleyball.

"The academic success of our student-athletes is the single most significant marker of how we are doing as coaches and staff," said Vice President and Director of Athletics Ted Kissell. "We're pleased with the results and proud of the young people in our sports programs."