Sports Staff Writer
Obi Toppin (cover photo) was one of the key players in UD men’s basketball’s victory over the Drake Bulldogs Saturday night. Courtesy of Griffin Quinn
Dayton and Drake started Saturday night’s game slowly, but the 14th-ranked Flyers used two big runs to coast to a 78-47 victory and improve to 8-1.
Neither team scored until Drake’s Liam Robbins hit a three-pointer with 17:30 left in the first half. Robbins was the second-leading scorer for the Bulldogs, and made an impact early, scoring 12 of the Bulldogs’ 22 points in the first half.
The two teams exchanged blows through the early portions of the game, as the score was tied at 18 with 7:02 left in the first half.
“In the first half we didn’t really have a rhythm,” said Dayton head coach Anthony Grant. “In the second half we got a little bit more of a rhythm, started getting stops. I think Ibi had a couple of personal runs in there as well, and sometimes you can feed off each other.”
The Flyers flipped the script, storming ahead on a 16-4 run to close out the first half with a 34-22 lead. Ibi Watson and Obi Toppin led the way throughout the game, scoring 20 and 19 respectively. A 21-2 run midway through the second half ballooned the Flyers’ lead from 10 to 29 to put the nail in Drake’s coffin.
“That’s something we do a lot,” Watson said. “We go in spurts and that’s basketball. Basketball is a game of runs, and I think those were huge and we’ve got to continue to do that at a high level and pile on as many points as we can and keep getting stops. I think it starts with our defense, so getting stops is most important.”
The Flyers continued their dominance to the end of the game, never allowing the Bulldogs to get a sniff of victory in the second half on the way to a 31-point win.
Dayton improves to 8-1 and faces North Texas at home Monday.