In order to begin the recaps for the 2020/21 season I want to go back to a game from two seasons ago. The Flyers played George Washington on the road and got off to a rough start against a clearly inferior GDub team until Jordan Davis went scorched Earth and rescued the Flyers on that fateful February night. I wrote the game recap and titled it “The Jordan Davis Game.” Figured I would go back to the well, but for a multitude of different reasons for this recap. Dayton returned to the floor for the first time since the final game of now New York Knick Obi Toppin’s career and it is clear why Obi is now making money to play this game, because this team looked a hell of a lot different from last year’s squad.
The Flyers welcomed in the Eastern Illinois Panthers in a short notice scheduling move, finally tipped off their season, and with the way it started you would have thought Dayton was well on their way to replicating their success from last year….then a substitution was made, and everything changed. Christian Wilson, a walk-on, checked into the game with about 12 minutes to go in the 1st half and Eastern Illinois slowly clawed their way back into it. Now, I am not at practice so I don’t know what the situation is with this but obviously it has become a major talking point coming out of game #1 (and lucky for you, we have a rapid reaction podcast where you can hear all of our thoughts on that so go check that out on our podcast feed if you haven’t!).
Back to the game, Dayton led by 5 at the half and blitzed the Panthers coming out of the break with a 10-0 run to get the lead back to 15, same as it was to begin the game. But once again, a very scrappy and game ready EIU team fought their way back to a two possession game late and some missed front end 1 and 1’s by Crutcher and Watson allowed the Panthers to cut it to 2. The score eventually laid at 66-63 and the Panthers last chance with around five seconds to go went begging. The Flyers escaped opening night with another narrow victory, a UD tradition like no other. Let’s get to some takes, shall we?
Okay, stay with me here, last year’s Dayton team, the best team in program history, beat Indiana State by 5 on opening night. Opening games are always a bit wonky with the Flyers, we see it every year. It seemed clear that the squad wasn’t acclimated fully last night and it was obvious in many areas. Effort on rebounding was one, transition offense was two, and close out defense was three. Meanwhile, Eastern Illinois already had two games against stiff competition (Marquette and Wisconsin) and seemed more game ready then Dayton was. If you aren’t satisfied with tonight, well, I have news for you, I don’t think Anthony Grant is either. I am going to go out on a limb and say the next practice for the Flyers isn’t going to be what you call “fun.”
Let’s talk about Dirt Road
Oh, you haven’t heard? Chase Johnson shoots threes and shoots them well! DRJ was 3-3 from the great beyond, including the opening basket of the season. Chase did a lot of things that should get people excited that he is over his “syndrome” and back in the fold. He moves well, can obviously shoot and is a good rim runner. However, he also has a extreme reluctance to bang inside and get aggressive on the boards. He also needs to be more active when the opponent goes zone to be our outlet man in the middle of it. Chase has shown the flashes, now he needs to show the improvement.
Happy to be back
Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate that Dayton basketball is back in all of our collective lives. It was great to turn on the TV and see the arena again, albeit without the crowd. There’s nothing I enjoy more than bringing you, the loyal readers and listeners, my insight on all that is Flyer basketball. As someone who has watched Dayton basketball all of my life, it has been an absolute pleasure to talk and write about. Another season is upon us, let us rejoice and be glad.
Be sure to check out our rapid reaction podcast which is out now wherever you listen to our incredible banter. Dayton is scheduled to hit the hardwood again on Saturday with SMU coming to town. We only have two rules and, it has been a minute so I will forgive you if you forgot them, they are to Wear Red and to be LOWD.
Notice: Trying to get property 'post_status' of non-object in /home/customer/www/blackburnreview.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sportspress-pro/includes/sportspress/includes/class-sp-event.php on line 16