The A10 is an absolute clown show right now. I’m not breaking any news by saying that, as even the casual follower knows by now how putrid and confusing the conference has been this year. Last week Fordham blew the doors off of UMass in Amherst, 85-67. Dayton then got their asses handed to them in round one of Arch Baron Cup, a game we’ve all tried to forget by now. Then St. Joe’s took SLU out behind the shed on Friday night, beating them by THIRTY points. After that, VCU blew Bonaventure out by thirty points. And finally, Dem Fly Boyz waltzed into Kingston, Rhode Island and had a statement win to absolve their performance from a few nights before. Coach Grant even smiled while walking off the court, if you can believe it. Let’s get into it, shall we?
As resident pessimist here at the Blackburn Review, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and tip my cap to the fire these boys came out with on Saturday. What a glorious change of scenery that was. We were all wondering how they’d react to a dismal outing in St. Louis, and thankfully they responded by never letting Rhode Island get within 10 points from tip-off to the final buzzer. In fact, Dayton scored the first 12 points of the game – a nice change considering we’re usually the ones down 10 at the first media timeout (okay, last negative sentence for today). Five of those first points were from Jordan Davis, whose game decided to come out of hiding after the last week or two and put up 12 points. Everyone contributed to this pink-socking – yes, even the walk-ons.
Let’s start with our big fellas, Obi and Josh. It’s no secret that we were all starting to get a little concerned about Josh these past few weeks. There seemed to be very little desire to be aggressive, which is infuriating when he’s usually the best player on the floor and can score at will. His back-to-back games with 3 points against St. Joe’s and Duquesne was the ultimate head scratcher. Fortunately, he went 6-of-8 on Saturday night and contributed 13 points, a definite improvement from whatever lull he’s been in. Let’s hope this trend continues to go up, as Josh hasn’t scored 15 or more points in a game since early January. And how about that Obi Toppin fella? Obi got the start, with Coach Grant opting to have Trey come off the bench. It was a very welcomed change. Our guy continues to show visible improvement every single game. He shot 8 for 10 from the field and finished the night with 19 points. Close your eyes and imagine Obi when he develops a nice mid-range jumper and a perimeter game – a very arousing image indeed.
Cox on recruiting Obi Toppin — 'We knew the talent was absolutely there. When we were looking at him we were mesmerized by the talent and the skill level overall from that young man. He’s displaying it right now, and he hasn’t even begun to show the perimeter game.'
— Bill Koch (@BillKoch25) February 8, 2019
Crutcher was “dat dude” and led the team with 20 points, shooting 7-for-12 and chipping in four assists. The kid commanded the offense all night. Mikesell continued to be Old Faithful, grabbing seven rebounds and four assists. And how about our defense? We held Rhode Island’s leading scorer, Jeff Dowtin, to just 7 points. He’s scored double figures in every other game this season. The Rams went 3-for-19 from behind the arch, and at the end of the night became tied for DEAD LAST in three-point shooting percentage in all of college basketball. Dayton shot 63% from the floor while Rhode Island was held to a brutal 30%. Big shoutout to walk-on Camron Greer, who nailed a long-ball with 20 seconds left to put a bow on the evening for us.
Camron Greer puts the finishing touch on a 77-48 Dayton win. pic.twitter.com/7ReYSvimaa
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) February 9, 2019
So here we are, somehow still in the hunt for the regular season title. Doesn’t make things easier when we have the hardest stretch out of any team in the conference left to play, but you know what they say about excuses. VCU and Davidson are the only teams ahead of us in the standings, and those happen to be our next two opponents. The boys have the week off before a bunch of hillbillies come into UD Arena for a 4pm game this Saturday. For the love of Christ, do not wear white, regardless of what you see on the Twitter. We’ll have a fresh podcast and recon up towards the end of the week. As always, WARE red, and stay LOWD.
— Dayton Basketball (@DaytonMBB) February 10, 2019