Dayton Strong: Character, success of area college teams source of emotional uplift

Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell, Trey Landers, Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher watch Ibi Watson shoot a free throw against Richmond on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va. (Photo: David Jablonski/Dayton Daily News)

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Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell, Trey Landers, Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher watch Ibi Watson shoot a free throw against Richmond on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va. (Photo: David Jablonski/Dayton Daily News)

The phrase “Dayton Strong” has become a well-known and widely-used saying and social media hashtag over the past year, with several hard-hitting events in the region.

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Amid the fresh start that 2020 has brought, the new year has also brought success from area college basketball teams, and has become a source of civic pride for many in the area.

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During his post game comments on 1290 and 95.7 WHIO Tuesday night, Dayton men’s basketball coach used the saying to describe his team’s effort that lead to the Flyers’ 65-61 win on the road at VCU.

"To me it was a great team effort. And (we) showed a lot of resilience and a lot of character; what we like to call being Dayton Strong,” Grant said.

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Rex Gardecki, former Flyer player and current analyst on WHIO Radio’s postgame show “Flyer Feedback” said the Flyers are aware of how this successful season could be an emotional uplift for this area.

“You can go back to when (senior forward) Trey Landers was in the Oregon District the night of the shooting. This group is so well molded together, and they understand each other and the senior leadership,” Gardecki told News Center 7’s John Bedell.

“I think that’s a big emphasis (Grant) has made throughout the season.”

Wright State’s men’s basketball team has also experienced a successful season on the court. The Raiders are 23-5 overall and lead the Horizon League with a 13-2 mark.

The Raiders could be on their way to representing the league in the NCAA Tournament in March. If the Raiders are able to make that happen, it would be first time both Dayton-area Division 1 teams would make the tournament in the same season.

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