Aloha, BBR readers! Since I am so good at what I do, and have earned all the respect of the seasoned veterans here at the Blackburn Review, they paid to sent me over 4,000 miles west to cover the Flyers here in Maui. I was in attendance for the ass-whooping that took place at the Lahaina Civic Center on Monday morning. The Flyers put on their most dominant performance in the Anthony Grant era, sprinting out immediately to a 16-2 advantage over the Tom Creeeeeeeeeeean led Georgia Bulldogs. The Flyers would lead wire-to-wire and it wouldn’t take Jay Bilas more than five minutes into the contest to cream his khakis over Obi Toppin. The end result was a convincing 80-61 victory, punching Dayton’s ticket on to the semifinals. Side note: Dayton has never lost their first game in Maui in their history, that’s pretty good folks.
The Flyer fans (as to be expected) took over the gym in the early moments. The place was electric, and of course #LOWD, and UGA didn’t know how to handle it. I don’t know if Crean anticipated a packed house full of Red, he should have, it is his job to know those kinds of things, but the Bulldogs looked uncomfortable and out of sorts from the tip. Obi announced his presence on the island, and, more importantly, on the national stage, early — scoring 12 of Dayton’s first 16 points and making his first six shots from the field.
The Flyers pushed the lead to double digits and they never looked back. Toppin was the show, but the supporting cast showed up today as well. Jalen Crutcher checked his wheelbarrow at baggage claim on the flight out here and brought it with him to the gym today. Rodney “The Mask” Chatman made highly-touted recruit Anthony Edwards look like a below-average Batman villain. You could sense that the young Dawgs were getting frustrated at how committed the Flyers were defensively, there were multiple instances where UGA players were arguing with each other and looking over at their coach for answers (for which he had none).
The second half began with some bucket trading from both teams, which Dayton was more than content with. UGA would go on some mini-runs during the last twenty minutes, but never truly threatened, as Dayton always seem to have had an answer. Dayton would lead by as much as 24, in large part due to forcing 23 turnovers. With under four minutes to go, Tom Crean waved the white flag, putting his walk-ons in. Anthony Grant gladly followed suit. Getting some rest for Toppin, Crutcher and Co. is huge when you have to play three games in three days, and we got an opportunity to do that today. Let’s give some takes, shall we?
Obi’s profile grew tremendously today, and it is going to continue.
I said it last year in one of my articles that if Obi returned to school he could build up his draft stock as the best player in the Atlantic 10, leading this Dayton team to the NCAA tourney. Today was his first major test and he passed with flying colors. Finishing with 25 points on an uber efficient 9-11 from the field, 2-3 from deep and 5-5 from the stripe. He got buckets in any way he saw fit. Toppin hit the three, posted up, got buckets in transition. Obi just continues to expand his game, and if he continues to do so there is no reason why he can’t be in the running for a First-Team All-American spot. Yep, you read that correctly. Obi’s got two more games in front of ESPN cameras here on the island, and if today is any indication the college basketball world is in for a treat over the next couple days.
Jalen Brought The Wheelbarrow
Jalen played his best game of the young season as well, chipping in twenty points, twelve of which came from beyond the arc. Toppin was the story and rightfully so, but there were THREE separate occasions in today’s game where the Flyers extended the lead with their star on the bench. Crutcher was the driving force behind those runs. Anytime the Bulldogs were threatening to pull it close, which essentially occurred only in the game’s opening minutes, Crutcher would brandish his big ol’ nuts and make a huge shot. As previously stated, when Toppin and Crutcher are on their A games Dayton is going to be a tough out, no matter who is on the opposite end of the court.
Backcourt defense was HUGE
One thing about that this team’s depth can unlock with their potential is improved perimeter defense. The front court will have its defensive woes (more on that in a minute) but I have no worries about the defensive effort from Dayton’s guards. Rodney Chatman is a classic, in your shorts the whole damn game kinda player, clearly displaying his defensive acumen over the first four games. Then, when Chatman heads to the bench, you get players like Cohill and Matos licking their chops to play defense at 100 MPH as soon as they step on the floor (as Sully astutely pointed out during the game today).
It’s clear that Dayton’s depth gives guys like Cohill and Matos the ability to come into the game at 100mph and stay at 100mph every minute theyre on the floor. UD straight outworking the Dawgs.
— Sully (@sullymygoodname) November 25, 2019
Anthony Edwards was frustrated early and often today with those three guys completely and continually hounding him on the defensive side of the floor. So, if your team features good guards, and that is your calling card (looking at you Davidson), then I like Dayton’s chances against you.
Jordy and Chase…less than optimal
Look, it wasn’t all good today, seriously, it wasn’t. Dirt Road Johnson showed once again that he is a step slow (three steps?) on the defensive end and is bordering on being a liability when on the floor. Not to say that his offense is what is getting him minutes, because there haven’t been too many scoring flashes either. Johnson needs to figure it out quick or he is going to be nothing more than a guy who can give Obi a quick breather.
Jordy, on the other hand, played his first competitive game in 2+ years and left a lot to be desired. However, I am willing to see where he goes from here. If he is someone who can come into the game, give you some presence in the middle, and rebound, then he will have a role on this team. He made one nice post move and converted with a jump hook so that is something to be excited about….I guess
Alright, well that was fun guys! Let’s do it again tomorrow. Unfortunately, that chance at Sparty is not going to come to fruition because they lost to Virginia Tech today (I think it was Kyle Ahrens seeing Mikesell on the other side again, conjuring nightmares from their MAC days in high school and threw the game. I have no evidence to support this). So, a chance at a top five squad was lost today, however, they can get another opportunity if they take care of business tomorrow with Kansas still in the field (assuming they beat Chaminade). The odds to win this thing have improved for our beloved Flyers. Remain #LOWD wherever you are on the mainland, and we will remain #LOWD over here on the Island.