Basketball Preview: Three Pointers As Flyers Square Up Against Detroit Mercy Titans

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Roberto De La Rosa-Finch
Contributing Writer

The Dayton Flyers will host the Detroit Mercy Titans 7 p.m. Tuesday at UD Arena.

The game can be watched thru Spectrum, and live-streamed on ESPN+.

Dayton (4-3) will look to stop their three-game losing streak after starting the season 4-0. Detroit Mercy (3-5) has lost two straight and is 1-4 on the road.

Here are your three things — or three-pointers — for the game:

Cunningham Is Key

Senior center Josh Cunningham led Dayton in scoring and rebounding last year, but this year he isn’t producing the same double-double numbers.

His production stems from an early wrist injury, some food poisoning and the inability to get into a groove because of the health setbacks.

Still, in the small sample size when Cunningham has been on the floor Dayton has struggled to feed the big man.

Albeit Dayton played three top-50 ranked teams, Cunningham only had 27 FGA in the past three losses and was the leading scorer once.

Sophomore guard Jalen Crutcher — who leads the team in total points and assists — is proving that he can run the offense and make big shots. Conversely, Crutcher and other guards seem as if they can’t get Cunningham the ball in the low post.

If the offense doesn’t flow through the leading scorer, then it’s likely other players will have a hard time scoring, and the offense won’t flow as well as it should.

In each of the past three losses Dayton only had three players score in the double-digits; since last season, Dayton is 12-4 when they have four or more players reach double-digits.

We’ll Remember This Titan

Detroit Mercy’s freshman guard Antoine Davis is the second leading scorer in the nation — averaging 29.6 PPG. He’s scored at least 30 points five times this season.

Davis makes a living shooting parking lot threes (46.9 percent 3FG%) but also has a mid-range baseline jumpshot. He may seem a bit out of control driving to the basket, but through the flails the ball tends to see the bottom of the net.

The Birmingham, Alabama native gets to the free throw line often and shoots 87.1 percent from the line; which could prove harmful for Dayton who’s given up a total of 53 free throw attempts to opponents during their losing streak.

Home or away, Davis will chuck it up. He’s taken 20 shots in every game this season. And, probably, rightfully so — he put up a freshman school-record 42 points against Loyola (MD) on Nov. 19.

Untimely Dayton Droughts

In the Flyers’ Nov. 22 loss to Virginia, offensive runs were hard to come by. When they faced Oklahoma the next day, Dayton only made one field goal in the last 11:55 of the second half. After leading 51-44 with roughly six minutes left to play, they gave up a 21-7 Mississippi State run to end the game Friday.

“Proud of our guys in terms of the effort that we gave as a team,” Coach Anthony Grant said after the Mississippi State game.

“We just have to figure out how to be able to sustain it and how to be able to overcome the peaks and valleys — the adversity that you go through every with game … that’s just a part of the process for us.”

The scoring droughts have come at the worst times for Dayton; they will need to lessen the spans of offensive inefficiency if they want to come out with a win because Davis can get hot and get hot quickly.

Detroit Mercy knows this and will likely look to harp on any Dayton scoring drought and swing momentum in their favor away from home.

Make sure to follow @FlyerNewsSports for live coverage of the game. Recaps will be posted on Twitter, so check your feed after the final buzzer for quotes, stats and takeaways from Dayton players and coaches.