Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant made an appearance, via video, on ESPN during the broadcast of the Red Scare vs. Big X game in The Basketball Tournament on Wednesday.
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Four months after Grant and the Flyers played their final game in a 29-2 season, Grant was asked if could put the historic season in perspective. The Flyers won their final 20 games and capped an 18-0 season in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a victory March 7 against George Washington at UD Arena.
However, Dayton didn’t get to play again because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“When we found out the season ended the way, it did, obviously there was a lot of disappointment,” Grant said. “We had to choose if we were going to regret what we didn’t get a chance to do or to be grateful for what we did. My challenge to our guys was just to have gratitude for the 31 games we got a chance to compete in and the memories that were created, the friendships, the love, the bonds they had. They got it from the beginning of the season really, just in terms of their bond, their togetherness and their brotherhood. It was a fun group to coach all the way through.”
The No. 8 seed Red Scare beat No. 9 seed Big X 77-68 to earn a quarterfinal matchup at 4 p.m. Friday against No. 16 House of 'Paign. The winner of that game advances to the semifinals on Sunday against the No. 4 Golden Eagles, a Marquette alumni team, or No. 12 Team Brotherly Love, which is made up of players from the Philadelphia area.
Grant watched the game Wednesday on TV like almost everyone else — no fans are allowed in Nationwide Arena during the tournament — but saw the Red Scare play in person last season at Capital University.
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“Just to see the support our fan base gave our team, it was awesome,” Grant said. “I know our fans really enjoy coming out and watch it.”
The Basketball Tournament played to hold its championship week — the last three rounds — at UD Arena but moved the whole event to Columbus because it would be easier to quarantine the players for the entire event.
It still plans to hold games at UD Arena in 2021 — and maybe in the years beyond.
“We feel that would be an awesome site for our championship,” said Jon Mugar, founder and CEO of the event. “Before all this hit, we were optimistic we would have our greatest attendance of any our championships, and I think we were on pace for that when we stopped selling tickets. It really could be a permanent type of home for our championship.”
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