ANALYSIS: 3 takeaways from Dayton’s victory at Fordham

Obi Toppin’s appearance helps spark Flyers to seventh straight double-digit victory

BRONX, N.Y. — Obi Toppin arrived at Rose Hill Gym minutes before tipoff Tuesday. He had to work the night before with the New York Knicks but made time for his college team and watched the Dayton Flyers rout Fordham 82-58 from behind the UD bench.

Toppin hugged his former coach Anthony Grant and all the players just before pregame introductions and also spoke to the team after the game in the locker room and led the team in prayer, guard Koby Brea said.

“He basically told us, ‘Way to take care of business,’” Brea said.

This was the second time Toppin has seen the Flyers play since his college career ended in 2020. They lost 53-52 to Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena last January with him behind the bench. He also watched the Dayton alumni team, the Red Scare, play in The Basketball Tournament at UD Arena four times last summer.

“He’s just a first-class guy,” said Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan, who sat with Obi and his mom, Roni Toppin. “Everyone sees how he is. He’s been a great university ambassador, and that’s how it’s supposed to work. People come to the University of Dayton and have a great experience. The community embraces you. He returns that, and it’s really a wonderful relationship.”

Dayton (12-5, 4-0) has taken care of business seven games in a row. It’s the program’s longest winning streak since the 20-game run to the 2019-20 season when Toppin was the team’s star. Not even that team won seven games in a row by double digits or held seven straight opponents to fewer than 60 points as this team has.

Dayton is on a roll of dominance rarely seen. Here are three takeaways from its 17th game:

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

1. DaRon Holmes II continues to be unstoppable: Holmes matched his career high with 32 points. He hit that total two games earlier in a 69-55 victory at Davidson. He made 12 of 15 field goals and 8 of 10 free throws.

Holmes took advantage of Fordham’s decision not to double-team him and backed down defenders time and time again in the paint.

“Teams are going to do different things and kind of mix it up,” Holmes said. “So it’s just about reading what the defense does and just taking what the defense gives.”

2. Koby Brea delivered for the hometown crowd: With close to 300 fans in attendance from the Bronx just to see him play, including his high school team from Monsignor Scanlan, Brea scored 12 points by making 4 of 4 3-pointers. He posed for dozens of photos after the game and got to the locker room long after his teammates had showered.

“That’s stuff that you dream about,” Brea said, “coming back to your hometown and playing college basketball and having everybody come out and show that type of love and support.”

3. Mustapha Amzil had extra incentive as well: Amzil played in front of his dad, Brahim Amzil, and his brother, Abdullah, for the first time in his three seasons at Dayton. Abdullah plays for Omnia Academy, which traveled from Finland to New York City to play and will play Thursday at Alter and will also appear in the Flyin’ to the Hoop on Friday at Trent Arena in Kettering.

“It was a special moment,” said Amzil, who finished with eight points.


Holmes has scored 20 or more points seven games in a row. He increased his season scoring average to 19.8 points per game. He dunked three times and leads the nation with 48. Holmes ranks 10th in the 2023 Player of the Year standings.


Dayton opened the game with a 12-0 run and then stretched its advantage to 22-4. It has made a habit of starting strong in A-10 play. It had a 10-0 lead against Duquesne and a 10-3 lead against Davidson.


Dayton plays Virginia Commonwealth (12-5, 3-1) at 9 p.m. Friday at UD Arena. VCU won 78-64 at Loyola on Tuesday. VCU also has victories against La Salle and Davidson and a loss at Duquesne.


VCU at Dayton, 9 p.m., ESPN2, 1290, 95.7

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