Charles Cooke filling up the box score for Dayton Flyers

Dayton’s Charles Cooke and Scoochie Smith slap hands after a basket against East Tennessee State on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

caption arrowCaption
Dayton’s Charles Cooke and Scoochie Smith slap hands after a basket against East Tennessee State on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Senior averaging 20 points per game through nine games

At their lowest point this season, with a 2-2 record and Josh Cunningham injured and Kendall Pollard’s return uncertain, the Dayton Flyers still had a chance to win every game in part because they have the best player on the court almost every time they play.

That’s how good senior guard Charles Cooke has been in the first nine games. He fills up the box score in every way — points, rebounds, blocks, assists, steals — and does it so consistently it’s easy to take his numbers for granted.

Cooke had 24 points, eight rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals Saturday. Dayton won its fifth straight game, improving to 7-2 with a 75-61 victory over East Tennessee State at UD Arena.

“Charles is good,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “We talked early in the week about some things we need to help him with. We also talked about some things he needs to help the other guys with. I thought he made a concerted effort in today’s game to not only hunt for open men but also to talk to people. He had good vibe about him. That’s what we need from him. He had 24 points, and he was only 2 of 7 from 3. He missed some good ones, but he was pretty efficient. He gets to the line. He had a complete game.”

ARCHDEACON: Kyle Davis takes tattoos to new level

RELATED: Dayton great Johnny Davis returns to UD Arena

Cooke’s offensive rating has reached 100 or better in eight of nine games, according to KenPom.com. The stat measures offensive efficiency. Last season, Cooke hit or surpassed 100 in 18 of 33 games. That’s one way of showing how much more consistent he has been.

Cooke was an Atlantic 10 first-team performer last season with 15.6 points per game. He has pushed that average to 20 points per game mostly by improving his 2-point field-goal percentage. He shot 48.1 percent last season and is shooting 55.3 percent last season.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

caption arrowCaption
Dayton improved to 7-2 with 75-61 victory on Dec. 10, 2016.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Cooke’s shooting percentage inside the arc results from his ability to drive to the basket at will and finish more often than not. That talent gives Cooke the chance to become the first UD player to average 20 points per game for a season since Chip Jones averaged 20.2 in 1990-91.

“Attacking the basket has always been one of my strengths,” Cooke said. “Being more consistent as a shooter, I’m a work in progress. Stepping up and being confident and making shots and making sure my footwork is proper and my technique is proper, I got a little sloppy with that in the game for sure. It got away from me. When my shot’s not falling, I definitely can get to the basket.”

About the Author