Men’s Basketball Update: Cunningham Is A Bright Spot For The Struggling Flyers

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Michael Crouchley
Staff Writer

With all the change that the UD men’s basketball team endured this summer, some sort of adjustment period would have been expected. The combination of coach Anthony Grant implementing his new system and a completely revamped roster has given the Flyers their worst record through the first 9 games of the season since 1993 (that team finished the entire season with only 6 wins).

Last Saturday’s loss against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers highlighted the Flyers’ troubles. One of Dayton’s only bright spots was redshirt junior forward Josh Cunningham; he notched his third 20-point game of the season with 21 points and 7 rebounds. What was maybe even more impressive was his field goal percentage. Cunningham made all nine of his shots from the field against Penn in a display of accuracy that has become characteristic.

In the last three games, Cunningham has made 22 of his 23 shot attempts. “I guess I’ll have to find a way to get [Cunningham] more shots,” concluded Grant.
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These last three games aren’t an outlier on the season — Cunningham has been stellar all year. He’s averaging 15 points per game on a blistering 71 percent shooting, which is up 21 percent from his career average. His field goal percentage puts him comfortably as the most efficient scorer in the Atlantic-10, with Rhode Island’s Andre Berry sitting in second at 62 percent.

Not only is his scoring impressive, Cunningham also sits at second in the A-10 in rebounds per game with just over 10. However, as a leader, no personal feats for Cunningham can atone for his team’s lack of success thus far. After the loss to Penn, Cunningham was thoroughly unimpressed and declined talking about his own personal accomplishments.

“They just came out with better energy than us,” he said, highlighting UD’s shortcomings in the home defeat.

Looking into the future, Cunningham admits that the team needs something to change, “We can’t just come out like that, we’ve gotta pick up our intensity.” Cunningham and the Flyers will look to regain form after a week off, as they take on Georgia State tonight at 7:00 at UD Arena.

Photo Courtesy of Steve Miller/Sports Editor