Photos taken by Griffin Quinn
The Dayton Flyers are one step (and 93 points) closer to tipping off the highly-anticipated 2019-2020 season after a 33-point exhibition victory over Cedarville, an NCAA Division II program, at the completely renovated UD Arena.
Flyer fans got their first glimpse of the talented lineup that features six newly-active members, four being transfers who sat out all of last season due to NCAA regulations. Two of whom, Rodney Chatman and Chase Johnson, were members of the starting five along with Jalen Crutcher, Obi Toppin and Ryan Mikesell.
Chatman – who was sporting a clear, protective face mask to shield an eye that was injured in June – scored 12 points and provided a strong defensive showing, accounting for two steals.
Across the board, the Flyers were stout on defense, forcing the visiting Yellow Jackets to turn the ball over 17 times. Quick to capitalize on these mistakes, the Flyers scored 24 points off turnovers.
“Defense created offense for us tonight,” third-year head coach Anthony Grant said. “Our defense started everything for us.”
Offensively, Grant’s team benefitted from sharing the ball, having 19 assists in the game and 10 members of the team in the scoring column.
Ibi Watson, who transferred from Michigan in 2018, played his first game in a Flyer uniform and led all scoring with 17 points off the bench, 12 coming from three-point baskets.
Freshman Moulaye Sissoko added 12 points and nine rebounds in his debut, while Toppin added 10 points in just over 19 minutes of action. Mikesell, Johnson, Crutcher, Trey Landers and Dwayne Cohill each contributed eight points.
It is no secret that the Flyers are equipped with many players that can contribute in a number of ways. Grant mixed and matched who was on the floor throughout the night, making it all the more interesting to see who will be seeing action next week when the Flyers begin the regular season.
“We’re versatile enough to play a lot of different lineups,” he said. “The one thing that I can guarantee is there will be change throughout the season.”
The only player who did not see action was Nebraska-transfer Jordy Tshimanga, who was sidelined with an injury. He hopes to return to practice in the next few weeks and make his Dayton debut shortly thereafter.
The Flyers will likely be without Tshimanga when they start the regular season, squaring off against Indiana State on Nov. 9 at UD Arena.
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