Anthony Grant: Obi Toppin ‘as good as any player in the country’

Dayton star delivers another big performance in victory against Davidson

Dayton Flyers star Obi Toppin took a long time to get to the locker room after an 82-67 victory against Davidson on Friday at UD Arena.

» MORE ON GAME: Toppin says Flyers ‘not done yet’

First, there was the handshake line, which included a hug from coach Anthony Grant.

“It was a strong hug,” Toppin said. “It was definitely well deserved. Everybody put in so much work.”

Then there was a postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe — first with teammates Jalen Crutcher and Rodney Chatman — and then all by himself. Then Toppin walked to the student section, slapping hands with all the members of the Red Scare sitting in the front row.

Before heading to the ramp leading to the locker room, Toppin took a detour to shake hands with ESPN’s Dick Vitale. Once he joined the rest of the team upstairs in the Don Donoher Center, Toppin experienced a memorable celebration.

“Coach threw water everywhere,” Toppin said. “It was amazing. You all will see it on Instagram soon.”

» MARCH FORECAST: Dayton chasing No. 1 seed

It’s usually the players dousing the coach with water. It went the other way this time, and Grant had good reason to celebrate. The Flyers clinched the second outright Atlantic 10 Conference championship in school history and first since 2017.

Toppin was a big reason for this victory, just as he has played a large role in No. 4 Dayton’s 27 victories and 18-game winning streak. He scored 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting. He also had 12 rebounds and four assists.

This was Toppin's best shooting performance of the season. He had twice made 9 of 11 field goals. Last year, he made 11 of 11 field goals against Western Michigan, tying a school record. They weren't all dunks and layups in this game. He made 3 of 4 3-pointers.

“I don’t rate the performances,” Grant said, “but I think he’s been as good as any player in the country in terms of what I’ve seen all year long. He continues to meet the expectations.”

Toppin earned another place in the Dayton record book by passing Chris Wright to become the program’s all-time leader in dunks.

Wright dunked 177 times in 123 games in four seasons (2007-11). Toppin set the record in his 62nd game. He had four dunks against Davidson and now has 179 in his career.

Toppin entered the game ranked second in the country in dunks behind Kansas center Udoka Azuibuike.

Toppin dunked 83 times last season as a redshirt freshman. He broke his own record Feb. 22 against Duquesne.

Toppin also owns the school record for dunks in a game (10 against North Florida on Dec. 30, 2019).

Toppin provided the most exciting moments in the game with two dunks in a 28-second span in the second half. A steal by Rodney Chatman set up the first dunk.

“He could have laid the ball up,” Toppin said. “He was all the way in front of me. He decided to give the ball to me and let me dunk. I love Rod for that.”

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