“He wanted to play weeks ago,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “It was just a matter of going through clearance with medical staff and making sure that he was safe to go out there and not put himself in harm’s way.”
Dayton (11-7, 7-6) is now 0-2 in A-10 games in which Chatman has played, but the hope is his return helps the team’s depth in the final weeks of the regular season and in the A-10 tournament.
“I knew I always wanted to come back, no matter if we had one game left or two games left,” Chatman said. “Anything can happen in March. I know that. The conference tournament is coming up. We’ll see how far we can go.”
Anthony Grant interview (Feb. 17, 2021)
Opposing viewpoint: After battling an injury and scoring a season-low four points in the first game against Dayton, a 67-56 loss on Jan. 30, Rhode Island guard Fatts Russell scored 20 against the Flyers on Tuesday. It was the second time in eight games against Dayton he has scored at least 20 points.
Rhode Island celebrated Senior Night before the game, honoring Russell, Jeremy Sheppard and walk-on Umberto Brusadin.
“I knew this was the last time I was ever going to be in a competitive game in the Ryan Center with these guys, with Coach Cox coaching me. It just meant a lot,” Russell told the Providence Journal. “We didn’t want to go out with an L and I really didn’t want to. This program, this school, coach (David) Cox, everybody means so much to me. I felt like I had to leave my heart out there and make sure I didn’t go out with an L.”
Looking ahead: Dayton returns home for its next game, playing Saint Louis (11-3, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. Saint Louis beat La Salle 78-57 on Tuesday and has won four straight games since an 0-2 start in the A-10. Dayton won the first matchup 76-71 on Jan. 26.
Before the game, UD will honor Chatman and four other seniors: Jalen Crutcher; Jordy Tshimanga; Ibi Watson; and walk-on Camron Greer. They will be presented framed jerseys as usual on Senior Night but will not walk out of the tunnel with their families, who will watch the ceremony from the stands.