By: Steve Miller – Sports Editor
After a tumultuous first half in which Dayton found itself down by as many as 16 points, Archie Miller’s Flyers found a way to defeat Findlay University in their exhibition game by a score of 76-69. Charles Cooke led the way with 19 points.
In the first half, Findlay outshot UD 50 to 40 percent and led by seven. But by the end of the game, the Flyers had outshot the Oilers 47 to 41 percent.
“Credit Findlay. They’re one of the best programs in the state,” head coach Archie Miller said in the postgame press conference. “They do a tremendous job with their system…It was an excellent opportunity for us to get better.”
However, Miller was quick to acknowledge his team’s poor performance. “What happened out there tonight, quite frankly, is not good enough to beat anybody on our schedule,” he said.
Josh Cunningham, who fouled out in the last two minutes of the game, was strong in his first game as a captain with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Cunningham shot seven-for-10 from the floor and four-for-four from the free throw line in his 24 minutes on the court.
“Josh is a talented kid,” Miller said of Cunningham’s performance. “Josh is playing for the first time with us, the first time he’s played in front of our crowd. Defensively, he’s learning more about how we play…The thing I was really disappointed [with about] Josh’s play here tonight was his effort on the glass…for him to only have five rebounds in 24 minutes…that’s not gonna get it done.”
For Cunningham and the rest of the Flyers, it was their first game since the loss of Steve McElvene in May. Dayton’s jerseys included a black, bold No. 5 on the front left shoulder.
“It means a lot. Playing for Steve, playing for one another, and just not taking anything for granted,” said senior guard Scoochie Smith after the game.
Friday’s exhibition game against Findlay was the first sellout of an exhibition ever at UD Arena. While not every seat was filled, the crowd was certainly impressive.
“That’s fantastic, to watch our fans sell out an exhibition game just speaks volumes about how much they care about our kids and how much pride they’ve taken in our program.”
The Flyers next take the court Friday, Nov. 11 against Austin Peay in their official season opener.
Photo by Noah Leibold/Staff Photographer