Now it’s just a matter of staying consistent, building a resume and avoiding any more setbacks.
“We’re still young,” Camara said. “We have so much to learn. I’m new to the program, too. It was a new system and everything, so I think it’s great it finally seems like everything’s starting to click and everything’s starting to make sense and go the right way. So it’s just up from here.”
Dayton (5-3) started the game against Alabama State (2-7) with an 18-2 run in the first 10 minutes. The Hornets trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
Dayton dominated in points off turnovers (26-9), points in the paint (36-18), second-chance points (24-11) and fast-break points (28-6). Dayton hit its season high in points while matching its fewest points allowed.
Camara led Dayton with 16 points. Kobe Elvis and Malachi Smith each scored 15 points. Smith also had seven rebounds in five assists as he continued to play well following his MVP performance in Florida. He was also named the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week on Monday.
Elvis started in the place of Elijah Weaver, who did not play because of a disciplinary reason, coach Anthony Grant said. Other than Weaver and forward Richard Amaefule, who Grant said may redshirt because he’s not fully recovered from the foot injury he suffered two years ago, everyone on the bench saw action. Walk-on Brady Uhl, a third-generation Flyer, received the biggest ovation when he got on the court for the last 25 seconds.
Freshman forward Kaleb Washington, the last member of the highly-ranked 2021 recruiting class who had not played, also made his Dayton debut. He scored two points at the free-throw line in just short of five minutes of action.
All in all, this was just the type of performance Dayton needed to avoid a letdown three days after a 63-61 victory against Belmont in the ESPN Events Invitational championship game.
“I thought tonight we put together two really good halves on the defensive end,” Grant said. “In the first half, I love the way we started. We had a lull there where we had some breakdowns defensively, and they were able to trim a 20-point lead to 13 at the half. I thought the way we started the second half was excellent. The guys were able to sustain the defensive intensity throughout the second half, which is progress. I thought overall we did a really good job today.”
Tickets available: UD announced Thursday a limited number of tickets designated for students have been returned and are now available for purchase on Ticketmaster.com. Tickets are on sale for the games against Southern on Dec. 21, St. Bonaventure on Jan. 2 and VCU on Jan. 5. For more info, call the ticket office at (937) 229-4433.
Northern Illinois at Dayton, 2 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 1290, 95.7
Anthony Grant press conference: Dec. 1, 2021
Toumani Camara interview: Dec. 1, 2021
Kobe Elvis interview: Dec. 1, 2021