Obi Toppin (cover photo) scored the most points in Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern. Photo from earlier this season courtesy of Griffin Quinn
Dayton men’s basketball took on Charleston Southern Saturday night in a “Maui on the Mainland,” a precursor to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational next weekend. The Hawaiian shirts and flower necklaces were more abundant than the UD t-shirts in the crowd, and the Flyers surfed to an easy 90-61 victory over the Buccaneers.
The Flyers opened the game hot, starting the game with a 14-0 run. Redshirt sophomore Obi Toppin slammed home a dunk in transition and hit a three-point shot during this stretch. Toppin finished with the game-high 21 points, while only playing 24 minutes in the game.
“Going into Maui, playing three games in a row, we have to use everybody on our bench,” Toppin said.
For a team that struggled heavily with depth last season, the Flyers were able to go deep down bench to close the game out.
Another player that was instrumental in the early run was redshirt junior guard Rodney Chatman, playing his second game as a Flyer after transferring from Chattanooga.
“[Chatman’s] learning, and he’s growing,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “From a talent standpoint he really helps make the game easier for other guys on the floor.”
Chatman had the first two buckets in the game driving to the hoop, and he finished with 14 points and eight assists.
The big lead didn’t last long, as Charleston Southern broke off a run of their own, bringing the lead down to two points early in the first half. Dayton was able to stretch the lead back out to 13 by halftime, but this stretch was a focus for Grant at halftime.
“Coach got on us at halftime, we definitely had to pick it up,” Toppin said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against we can’t hold back.”
There were no more hiccups for the rest of the game, as the Flyers comfortably cruised through the second half to the 29-point win.
The Flyers were even able to clear their bench, playing all 14 active players in this game. Freshman center Moulaye Sissoko (redshirt) and redshirt junior senior Jordy Tsimanga (injury) were the only two Dayton players on the roster not to see action Saturday night. No one played more than junior guard Jalen Crutchers (26 minutes), which will be crucial for the team with a heavy schedule approaching.
Flyer fans even got to see a lineup of all walk-ons close the game out.
“It was great to see 27 assists on 37 baskets, it was great to see five guys in double figures tonight,” Grant said. “Some of what we’re experiencing as a team is just a process of guys getting comfortable.”
Dayton will next be in action Tuesday night at UD Arena to take on Omaha.