Darrell Davis starts senior season with strong performance for Flyers

Darrell Davis, right, bumps chests with John Crosby after making a shot against Ball State on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Darrell Davis, right, bumps chests with John Crosby after making a shot against Ball State on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Eight-point scoring spurt by Davis helped Dayton rally

Darrell Davis is one of the most expressive Dayton Flyers on the court, following a long line of players who show their emotions after big shots: Devin Oliver, Kendall Pollard and Kyle Davis being three most recent examples.

Davis shouted in excitement after getting a layup to drop while being fouled midway through the second half Friday against Ball State. On Dayton’s next possession, the senior guard from Detroit made a 3-pointer from the corner and let loose another scream as he bounced down the court, a sellout crowd of 13,350 rising in the stands behind him to match his joy.

ARCHDEACON: Two big plays by Xeyrius Williams in final seconds

Those two baskets were part of an eight-point scoring spurt in 81 seconds by Davis. He turned a 58-51 deficit into a 59-58 lead with 9:03 to play. Josh Cunningham stole the headlines by making the game-winning shot with 0.1 seconds left in the 78-77 victory, but Davis started his senior season with a strong offensive performance.

Davis scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting in a team-high 37 minutes. He made 1 of 3 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws.

“I was feeling it a little bit,” Davis said. “Coach (Anthony) Grant kept telling me to be patient with the offense. It was going to come to me. Since he played here, he knows more than I do. I was just patient and let the game come to me. It feels good to win the opener. We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but a win is a win.”

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Second-half highlights: Dayton vs. Ball State

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Opening run: The Flyers began the game with a 14-0 run in the first six minutes. Ball State missed its first 11 field goals, including its first five 3-pointers.

PHOTOS: Relive the dramatic victory

Take away those attempts, and the Cardinals shot 55.4 percent (31 of 56) from the field in the last 34 minutes and 40.9 percent (9 of 22) from 3-point range.

Grant liked Dayton’s defensive effort in the first six minutes.

“We played hard,” he said. “We had a lot of breakdowns defensively. We weren’t necessarily guarding the way we talk about guarding, but guys made the extra effort and came up with some big defensive plays on blocked shots where we had breakdowns defensively.”

Person's shot: Dayton's defense let it down on Ball State's possession before Cunningham's winning shot. Ball State's Tayler Persons dribbled past Xeyrius Williams at the free-throw line and scored on a wide-open layup with 3 seconds left, giving Ball State a 77-76 lead.

Davis and Cunningham failed to provide help on the shot. Neither moved from their spots on each side of the basket.

RELATED: Five takeaways from win

Persons scored 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting and added eight assists. He scored eight points in the final three minutes.

“He was able to impose his will on the game at the end of the game, which is a credit to the caliber of player he is,” Grant said.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

PRESS CONFERENCE: Dayton's Anthony Grant after beating Ball State

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Crosby's performance: In his first game as Dayton's starting point guard after two seasons playing behind Scoochie Smith, junior John Crosby delivered. He scored 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting and made 5 of 6 free throws. He had six rebounds, four assists and two turnovers in 28 minutes.

TWITTER REACTS: Best Tweets from Friday

Grant praised Crosby for the job he did guarding Persons for most of the game and for running the offense and making big shots. Crosby scored six points in a two-minute span starting at the 5:15 mark in the second half as Dayton extended its lead to 71-64 with 3:44 to play.

“It’s a game John will grow and learn from,” Grant said. “It will hopefully give him more confidence as he progresses with his understanding of what he needs to do to run our team.”

Ball State reaction: Cardinals coach James Whitford's program fell to 1-6 all time against the Flyers, though this was only the third matchup since 1958.

WINNING DEBUT: Grant cherishes first victory

"What I would say is this: It's the first game of the year, and we could have played better than that," Whitford told The Star Press. "Almost every coach will say that after the first game. But I was proud of our competitiveness. I thought we really stuck together in hostile environment. You could see our guys pulling each other back into the moment and making sure we didn't get frustrated."

THURSDAY’S GAME

Dayton vs. Hofstra in Charleston Classic, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU, FM 95.7, AM 1290

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