The schools were facing each other for the first time since Gregory left Dayton in March 2011 to take the job at Georgia Tech.
“For me, I don’t have that same attachment,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to beat Georgia Tech. For him, there is a lot of emotion that goes into that game.”
Devin Oliver and Jordan Sibert each scored 20 points, Vee Sanford added 15 and Dayton beat Georgia Tech 82-72 on Wednesday night.
Dayton (4-0) maximized its chances on Georgia Tech’s 19 miscues to outscore the Yellow Jackets 33-6 on turnovers.
Daniel Miller finished with 20 points and Marcus Georges-Hunt had 16 for Georgia Tech (3-1).
Sibert, a junior transfer from Ohio State, began his career at Dayton with a buzzer-beating 3 that gave the Flyers a victory over IPFW in the opener.
Sibert’s 3 to score his 15th point put Dayton ahead 34-30 with 3:17 left in the first.
Now in their third season without Gregory, the Flyers got off to a difficult start. They missed seven of their first eight 3-point attempts and trailed by nine points midway through the first half.
But Dayton went on a 13-0 run that ended on Sanford’s 3 from the left corner, and the Flyers led 37-30 with 2:39 to go before intermission.
Georgia Tech never seemed to recover.
Gregory wasn’t interested in discussing Dayton, where he went 172-94 in eight seasons and helped the Flyers earn two NCAA tournament bids and three trips to the NIT, including the 2010 NIT championship.
Gregory, who left Dayton on good terms, was more concerned with trying to help Georgia Tech recover.
“There’s a maturity piece in there that we have to get a lot better at,” Gregory said. “You can’t make up a seven-point deficit in one play. No matter how good the play is, it only counts as two or three. Sometimes the best thing is not to force it and get the ball moving.”
After Miller’s layup cut the lead to six with 7:28 left in the game, the Flyers needed just over 1 minute to take the game’s biggest lead at 14.
Sanford and Sibert each hit 3-pointers before Oliver stole the ball on Dayton’s end and scored a reverse a layup that made it 68-54.
Georgia Tech point guard Trae Golden, a senior transfer from Tennessee who’s in his first season with the Jackets, had all six of his turnovers in the first half. He finished with 13 points, but had just three assists in 31 minutes.
“It’s something that definitely won’t happen again,” said Golden, the former McEachern High School star. “Being a senior and a leader on the team, it’s something I can’t do.”
Over the last seven seasons, the Flyers have won 20 of their last 39 games against major conferences. Beating Georgia Tech gave Dayton, which plays in the Atlantic 10, five straight wins over Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
“I know we didn’t come down here to lose,” Miller said. “Nobody in that locker room talked anything about anything other than doing their job and giving us a chance to win.”
That’s what the Flyers did, even if it wasn’t easy on Gregory.
“We have a lot of really good players,” Miller said. “We just weren’t a very good team yet. Hopefully tonight brings us closer to being a good team.”