The shorthanded Dayton Flyers used a second half resurgence to take down the formerly undefeated Akron Zips Saturday night. The men’s squad is now 3-2 to start the year.
The Flyers got off to a shaky start in the first half of the game but were able to stay in the game for the most part on the back of strong play from two freshmen forwards, Kostas Antetokounmpo and Matej Svoboda.
Antetokounmpo scored the Flyers first five points including a huge block that lead to a layup at the other end. Antetokounmpo was a force on both ends of the floor finishing with two blocks and two steals to go along with 12 points. Svodoba was the first substitute off the bench and made an immediate impact in the first half with two quick buckets.
The last three and a half minutes of the first half saw Akron go on a 13-0 run as the Flyers’ five point lead was quickly turned into an eight point deficit.
“I don’t think we had the effort and energy required to win consistently enough,” said head coach Anthony Grant referring to the first half.
Despite a slow end to the half, the Flyers took no time regaining momentum in the second half. “In the second half we came out with a lot of energy,” said junior forward Josh Cunningham. “I feel like played a little harder in each aspect of the game.”
Senior guard Darrell Davis was kept scoreless in the first half but hit two 3-point shots at the beginning of the second half as the Flyers began with a 13-0 run. “It changed the game when Darrell [Davis] started hitting threes. It gave us a lot of energy,” Antetokounmpo said.
Then freshman guard Jordan Davis and Cunningham secured the Flyers’ lead. J. Davis was getting his first start due to injuries to guard Trey Landers and forward Xerius Williams, and he did not disappoint. J. Davis finished with 14 points, including 4 three-point shots.
“My teammates kept telling me to keep shooting and stay confident,” J. Davis said about his big performance. Cunningham controlled the paint for the entire game putting up a monstrous 16 rebounds to go along with his 20 points.
“I love rebounding,” commented Cunningham. “I go out looking for every rebound I can get and my teammates always find me for points.”
“We came out and made shots early, but I really thought our defense created offense in the second half,” Grant said.
Grant also commented that the status of the injured Landers and Williams is “day-to-day.” Next, the Flyers will take on the Auburn Tigers, Wednesday at UD Arena.
Photo Courtesy of Griffin Quinn/Staff Photographer