Obi Toppin (cover photo) was the top scorer against Davidson with 23 points. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
Sports Staff Writer
A dominant first half, near-perfection from inside the three-point line and a special appearance by legendary basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale highlighted Dayton’s 82-67 victory over Davidson. With the win, the Flyers clinched the outright Atlantic 10 championship for the 2019-20 season.
“It means a lot,” redshirt sophomore Obi Toppin said. “All of us have been through so much in the past couple of years and we’ve put in so much work. Everybody on our team deserves this.”
Dayton shot 72% from the field, including an astonishing 27-28 on two-point field goals, as well as dishing out 20 assists on the night.
“We have a bunch of guys who are unselfish on and off the court,” redshirt junior Rodney Chatman said. “Individually, they’re willing to give everything up because they know it will always come back to them.”
Chatman finished the game with 14 points, while Toppin led the Flyers with 23 points on 10-11 from the field to go along with a game high 12 rebounds. Kellan Grady led Davidson with 23 points while teammate Jon Axel Gudmunsson finished with 20.
Dayton dominated the first half, leading 42-24 at the break. Junior Jalen Crutcher connected with Toppin and senior Trey Landers on back to back alley-oop dunks to put the Flyers up by six. From there, the two-point onslaught continued as Dayton finished with 22 points in the paint during the half.
“We finished tonight 27-28 on two-point field goals which is unheard of,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “We did a great job tonight taking quality shots and sharing it with each other. We had one of those nights where it was good to see the ball go in, but overall, I thought we played really well on both ends of the floor tonight.”
The second half was more of the same as Toppin electrified the crowd with back to back breakaway slams off of two Davidson turnovers. His second dunk, a reverse cradle slam off of a Chatman steal, extended the Flyer’s lead to 23.
“Our players are great defensively, which allowed me to get out and get those two dunks,” said Toppin. “He (Chatman) could have easily laid it up because he was way in front of me, but he decided to give the ball to me so I could dunk it.”
The outright A10 Championship is the second in team history, the first since 2016-17. However, the Flyers aren’t focused on celebrating just yet.
“I’m excited we got the win, got the outright A10 Championship and I think every guy in the locker room will tell you that we’re excited,” Grant said. “But we’re excited about the opportunity to play these next two games and the opportunity we have moving forward as we close out the regular season with these next two as well.”
The Flyers’ next game will be Wednesday at Rhode Island, before they return home to face George Washington next Saturday at 7 pm at UD Arena.
Next Saturday’s game will also play host to ESPN’s College GameDay, which was announced during the first half of Saturday’s game by Vitale.