No one put a memorable night at UD Arena into words better than Dick Vitale on Friday.
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The No. 4 Dayton Flyers long ago captured the hearts of their fan base and their city. They have attracted media attention from across on the country. In the final game of February, they pulled the famed ESPN analyst Vitale into their orbit.
This is what Vitale had to say on the ESPN2 broadcast after Obi Toppin dunked twice in 28 seconds in the second half. The slams helped Dayton extend its lead to 56-33 early in the second half, and they rolled to an 82-67 victory.
“Slam jam man time,” Vitale said. “It’s showtime. The Dayton Flyers, anybody who thinks they’re not real, you’re a wacky, you’re a wacky, you’re a wacky. This team is legitimate, baby, in every way — in every way, shape and form. Bring on all the big guys. Bring them on.”
Vitale witnessed one of Dayton’s best performances of the season and one of the best shooting efforts in school history.
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The Flyers (27-2, 16-0) dominated Davidson (15-13, 9-7) from start to finish, earning the second outright A-10 championship in school history. This was a coronation. Dayton looked like one of the great A-10 teams of all time and also one of the best teams in the country this season. Dayton won its 18th straight game. It’s the second-longest winning streak in school history.
Obi Toppin improved his chances of winning the national player of the year awards with one of his best performances. He scored 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Rodney Chatman scored 14 points. Ibi Watson scored 13. Trey Landers had 11. Jalen Crutcher scored 10 points and had seven assists. Dwayne Cohill had seven points on 3-of-3 shooting and has made 12 of 13 shots in the last six games.
Dayton shot 72.3 percent (34 of 47), the second-best percentage in school history. It tied the A-10 field-goal percentage record set by Duquesne (34 of 47, 72.3) against St. Bonaventure on Feb. 23, 1991.
The Flyers made 27 of 28 2-point field goals and 14 of 14 in the second half. Their only miss was their their first 2-point attempt of the game, a jump shot by Crutcher in the third minute.
According to ESPN Stats & Info’s Twitter account, Dayton’s 96.4-percent shooting from 2-point range is the highest mark by a Division I team against a Division I opponent in the last 20 seasons.
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Dayton shot 72.3 percent (34 of 47) in one other game: against Kent State on Feb. 18, 1970. The school field-goal percentage record of 77.5 (31 of 41) was set on March 1, 1986, against Southern.
Dayton out-rebounded Davidson 31-16.
The Flyers enter the final week of the regular season with a chance to become the first A-10 team since the 1980s to finish 18-0. They play at Rhode Island on Wednesday and host George Washington at 7 p.m. March 7 in the final game of the regular season.
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