Cedarville coach: Dayton ‘is going to be a top-25 team’

Cedarville’s Pat Estepp coaches during an exhibition game against Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

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Cedarville’s Pat Estepp coaches during an exhibition game against Dayton on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Pat Estepp likes what he saw from his team against more talented opponent

Cedarville University coach Pat Estepp arrived at UD Arena about 70 minutes before the exhibition game Saturday against the Dayton Flyers. He likes to get to games at least an hour and a half early, but he had a good excuse this time.

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Cedarville

Estepp’s son Isaiah raced with the Cedarville cross country team at the state championship in Hebron at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Cedarville placed fifth as a team in the Division III race.

Estepp hurried the 102 miles back to Dayton to coach his team, which kept pace with the Flyers for the first 10 minutes but then saw Dayton's size and talent begin to take control. The Flyers went on a 10-0 run starting at the 10:39 mark in the first half, stretched the lead to 46-33 at halftime and won 93-60.

“We gave them some stuff to look at,” Estepp said after the game. “We got some looks, but in this kind of game, we couldn’t get off enough 3s because of their pressure. But I thought our top six guys did a lot of good things. We kept (the deficit) at 10-15 until three or four minutes into the second half. Then they got a few breakaways and we turned it over, and they go out on a run. When 13,000 people are all going, this is an unbelievable environment.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Highlights: Dayton Flyers vs. Cedarville

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Estepp raved about what he saw from Dayton and what his team gained from the experience.

» EARY IMPRESSIONS: Four takeaways from UD’s performance

“That’s the unique thing when we play these kind of games,” he said. “Everyone is big, fast and strong. It didn’t seem like it broke us. That’s your fear. Mentally, your guys start to think we stink. We hung for a while against a team that I think in a month is going to be a top-25 team. They’ve got the pieces. They’re really good.”

Branden Maughmer, a sophomore guard from Chillicothe, led Cedarville with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Conner TenHove, a junior forward from Valparaiso, had 10 points. Wayne grad Demond Parker, a senior guard who played with Dayton’s Trey Landers on Wayne’s 2015 state championship team, had nine points.

Cedarville finished 21-12 last season. It was one of its best seasons since moving from NAIA to NCAA Division II in 2012. It opens the 2019-20 season against Quincy at 3 p.m. Friday in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference/Great Lakes Valley Conference Crossover event in Findlay. Cedarville then plays Truman State at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Cedarville's preseason experiences should help it the rest of the season. It played three exhibition games against Division I opponents, losing 85-65 at Valparaiso on Oct. 19 and 95-52 to Ohio State on Wednesday in Columbus.

»UD DONATION: Student-athletes present check to Dayton Foundation

Playing the Buckeyes and Flyers in a four-day span put Estepp in the unique position of being able to compare the two programs.

“Ohio State is younger,” Estepp said. “Dayton is probably bigger. They’re different kind of teams. (Dayton) is going to press you a little more. Ohio State is really solid inside the 3-point line. (Kaleb) Wesson is a load. I think right now Dayton might have a little leg up because they’re a little more veteran. I’d love to see those teams play in January or February. That would be a game.”

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