UD Men’s Basketball Doesn’t Miss a Beat in First Game Back from Maui, Beating Houston Baptist 99-68

Michael Crouchley
Sports Editor

Cover photo of Red Scare – UD’s student section – at a game from 2018. Courtesy of Griffin Quinn

In their first game since being ranked No. 19 in the nation, Dayton men’s basketball trounced Houston Baptist 99-68 Tuesday night.

Coming off of three big games against good competition last week at the Maui Invitational, Dayton was the huge favorite at home against the winless Houston Baptist Huskies. However, Dayton started flat in the first half and HBU was taking advantage.

“They came out hitting shots,” senior guard Trey Landers said. “They were fired up. We came off of some wins in Maui they were watching us, they wanted a piece of us.”

HBU used a big 11-0 run to take the lead against the Flyers early. Jalen Gates had four three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. For the rest of the half Dayton was chipping away at the lead, and went into the half up 49-42.

The second half wasn’t as kind to the Huskies, as Dayton showed why they are one of the top-20 teams in the country.

“We had to take the blow in the first, but obviously in the second half we came out with more intensity on the defensive end,” Landers said.

The Flyers pulled away in the second half thanks to contributions from the whole roster. All of the talk around the Flyers centers around redshirt sophomore forward Obi Toppin. While he had a productive 17 points tonight, it was the Flyers depth that really stood out.

“Obviously Obi is Obi,” Landers said. “Everybody else, we play to our strengths. Any guy can be in double-figures any given night.”

Dayton had five players score in double figures Tuesday: Toppin, Landers (16), redshirt sophomore Chase Johnson (18), redshirt junior Ibi Watson (12) and junior Jalen Crutcher (12). For Johnson, it was his biggest game in a Flyer uniform since transferring from Florida.

“I thought Chase played with energy,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “Our bench really gave us a lift.”

Another transfer that had his best game as a Flyer was redshirt junior Jordy Tshimanga. After missing the first three games of the season with an injury, Tshimanga has slowly been working himself into game shape. Tshimanga finished with eight points and five rebounds.

“(Tshimanga) was out for seven or eight weeks where he didn’t get a chance to do anything,” Grant said. “He’s getting accustomed to playing with different combinations out there. I thought he did a really good job tonight.”

The Flyers never took their foot off the gas, winning the game 99-68.

Dayton’s next game will be Sunday, against Saint Mary’s in Phoenix at 4 p.m. You can tune into the game on ESPNU.

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