Josh Cunningham and Darrell Davis arrived at the postgame press conference and made a beeline for the table with the stack of box scores.
Davis scored 22 points and played 44 of the 45 minutes, but no one in this game had a stat line like Cunningham’s. He scored a career-high 29 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He made 13 of 17 free throws. He grabbed 18 rebounds. He was the biggest reason the Dayton Flyers beat Georgia State 88-83 in overtime Saturday at UD Arena.
What did Cunningham look for first when saw the box score?
“Just to see how many rebounds we got and how many times we got to the free throw line,” Cunningham said. “It was amazing tonight.”
Dayton (5-5) made 26 of 38 free throws, while Georgia State (7-4) made 18 of 27. Getting to the line hasn’t been a strength for Dayton. It shot more free throws in this game than in the three previous games combined (21 of 32).
Dayton didn’t shoot free throws well Saturday until the final 30 seconds of overtime. Davis and Cunningham combined to make their last six attempts.
“It’s not nerve-wracking just because we do it so much in practice,” Cunningham said. “You’ve just got to take your time and knock them down.”
Cunningham continued a dominant stretch of play that has seen him make 30 of 32 shots from the field. His field-goal percentage stands at 73.3 percent (63 of 86). He’s averaging 16.8 points and 10.6 rebounds. He had a double-double at halftime in this game: 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“His consistency is a great example to all the guys on our team, especially the younger guys,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “I think any young man that has a chance to come out and watch him play, the way he competes, his maturity on the floor, the way he carries himself, his competitive character is really what it’s all about. He’s as good a competitor as I’ve been around.”
Davis marvelled at Cunningham’s performance.
“He’s a workaholic,” Davis said. “He’s a beast on the boards. Eighteen rebounds, 29 points, that’s tremendous.”