No one has scored 40 points or more for the Dayton Flyers since Negele Knight tallied 42 in 1990. No one has scored 50 or more since Donald Smith’s 52-point performance in 1973 — and he remains the only UD player to hit that milestone.
The list of the 18 greatest single-game scoring efforts in Dayton basketball history in the official media guide includes the program’s three all-time leading scorers — Roosevelt Chapman, Don May and Henry Finkel — but none of the recent greats. No one has hit 35 points, the number needed to join that list, since Knight.
It’s not much different on the national level. Most of the highest-scoring games in college basketball history came long ago. Of the 25 60-point performances against Division I opponents, only two happened in this century.
The topic of great individual performances is relevant these days for the Flyers because DaRon Holmes II turned in two 32-point performances in a three-game stretch early in the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule. He reached that total on Dec. 31 at Davidson and on Jan. 10 at Fordham. Toumani Camara then scored 31 points Tuesday in an 85-81 victory against Loyola Chicago.
The performances by Holmes and Camara got me thinking about how rare 30-point outbursts are at Dayton. Prior to this season, I had seen only four in nine seasons covering the team, and I had never seen one player reach that total twice, much less twice in three games.
Thanks to sports-reference.com, which has a search function that lets you find 30-point games from the past 13 seasons, and to FigStats.net, which has a search function that covers games back to 2000-01, it’s easy to find every 30-point performance by the Flyers in this century.
So here’s a look at each of those 18 performances:
Brian Roberts (Nov. 26, 2005), at Creighton: Roberts, Dayton’s fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,962 points, appears on this list seven times. He first hit the 30-point milestone in this game.
Roberts’ season high as a freshman was 17 points. He reached 20 points for the first time in the first game of his sophomore season, scoring 28 against Tennessee Tech. Three games later, he scored 34 in a 91-90 double-overtime loss at Creighton in front of a crowd of 14,880 at the Qwest Center in Omaha.
Creighton’s Nate Funk scored 38 points and made the game-winning basket with five seconds left in the second overtime.
“It wasn’t what we hoped for,” Roberts said after the game, “but it was two teams playing their hearts out. Somebody had to be the loser. Unfortunately, it was us. I knew in our shootaround that I liked the rims in this gym. Coming in it was a big game and I wanted to play well.”
Roberts, a 6-foot-2 guard from Toledo, made 13 of 24 field goals, including 4 of 7 3-pointers, in 47 minutes. He scored all nine of Dayton’s points in the second overtime.
“Brian showed why we think he can become a special player for us,” Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. “He matched their All-American (Funk) just about shot for shot. He took over the game on our side down the stretch.”
Roberts (Jan. 13, 2007), vs. La Salle: Roberts equaled his career high midway through his junior season. This time, he scored 34 points in only 28 minutes of action in an 84-82 victory against La Salle at UD Arena. It remains the highest-points total by a Flyer in an Atlantic 10 Conference game. It’s also best scoring performance by a Flyer at UD Arena in this century.
Roberts made 9 of 14 field goals, including 5 of 8 3-pointers, and 11 of 12 free throws.
“Roberts flat out won the game for them,” La Salle coach John Giannini said.
Roberts averaged a career-high 18.5 points that season, narrowly topping his senior year average of 18.4.
“I want to make the plays for this team down the stretch to win,” Roberts said. “If games need to be taken over, I’m going to be there when my number’s called.”
Ramod Marshall (March 6, 2004), at Duquesne: Dayton’s 19th all-time leading scorer with 1,538 points, Marshall hit his career high in his final regular-season game, leading the Flyers to a 73-69 victory at the Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh.
Marshall, a 6-2 guard from Charlotte, N.C., made 11 of 20 field goals, including 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 5 of 7 free throws.
“He played at another level,” Duquesne coach Danny Nee said of Marshall. “He was the difference in the game. He was their offense in the first half. He was carrying them on his back.”
Dayton clinched the Atlantic 10 Conference West Division championship outright and kept alive its NCAA tournament hopes alive.
“This gives us a little momentum going into the A-10 Tournament,” Marshall said. “I’m a leader on this team and that’s what I need to do at this time of year.”
Marshall entered the game in a shooting slump. In his past seven games, he had made 20% (9 of 44) of his 3-point shots.
“I’ve been in a slump too long,” Marshall said. “We can’t win if I’m not playing well. I told them I was going to be aggressive today. I was getting some good looks and they were falling.”
Holmes II (Dec. 31, 2022), at Davidson: Holmes made 8 of 8 field goals in the first half, including his only 3-point attempt. He made 10 of 13 2-point field goals in a 69-55 victory at Belk Arena.
“I saw confidence in every aspect of his game,” his dad DaRon Holmes Sr. said. “He’s starting to show the ability we always knew he had. He’s staying confident in all the areas of the floor.”
Holmes II (Jan. 10, 2023), at Fordham: Holmes made 12 of 15 field goals and 8 of 10 free throws in an 82-58 victory. Holmes took advantage of Fordham’s decision not to double-team him and backed down defenders time and time again in the paint.
“Teams are going to do different things and kind of mix it up,” Holmes said. “So it’s just about reading what the defense does and just taking what the defense gives.”
Josh Cunningham, (Jan. 20, 2018), vs. Rhode Island: The 6-8 forward from Chicago played three seasons Dayton and hit his career high in this game in his second season. This was the highest-points total by a Flyer in the second decade of the 21st century. He made 13 of 18 field goals in an 88-74 loss to a Rhode Island team that would win t-he A-10 championship with a 15-3 mark and finish 26-8 overall.
Cunningham averaged a career-best 15.6 points per game this season for the Flyers, who finished 14-17.
“He’s as good of a forward as there is in the league,” Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley said after the game. ”He’s reminiscent of the type of guys they had here — in terms of physicality, skill, game and maturity — when Dayton was playing at the top of the league and winning the regular season with Archie (Miller). They had four or five guys like that.
“We were willing to let Cunningham two us to death. We felt the only way we could lose here is if we gave up a lot of threes and if we let Darrell Davis get going and Jordan Davis get going from there and ( Jalen) Crutcher (too). We didn’t think they could beat us with just post twos.”
Toumani Camara (Jan. 31, 2023), vs. Loyola Chicago: Camara carried the Dayton offense with a career 31 points. He made 8 of 9 2-point field goals, 2 of 4 3-pointers and 9 of 11 free throws.
Camara had nine turnovers when he hit his previous career high of 27 points in the 63-62 loss to VCU on Jan. 10. He had only three turnovers in this game.
“Like I say every time, it can be anybody’s night on this team,” Camara said. “I went to the line 11 times. I was able to get easy buckets here and there by just being at the right spot at the right time. When Deuce (Holmes) is struggling and the main pieces are struggling, we need to find counters to that.”
Obi Toppin (Dec. 30, 2019) vs. North Florida: In his second season on the court with Dayton, Toppin made 15 of 24 field goals and had eight rebounds in 32 minutes. He set a school record with 10 dunks in a 77-59 victory at UD Arena.
It was the second victory in a 20-game winning streak. Toppin, a 6-9 forward from Ossinning, N.Y., did not get off to a good start, missing five of his first seven shots.
“I was getting fouled, but they weren’t getting called and I was getting frustrated,” Toppin said. “But Coach stayed in my head and kept me going. He said, ‘Don’t worry about any calls, just play your basketball and everything will come to you.’ He said to play at the next level you have to play through foul calls, that there’s going to be nights you get fouled EVERY possession and they’re re not going to call a thing, but it can’t get in your head because it will bring you off your game.”I listened to him and my teammates found me and it turned out good.”
Charles Cooke (Nov. 11, 2016), vs. Austin Peay: In the first game of his senior year, Cooke made 11 of 17 shots from the field, 5 of 10 3-pointers and 4 of 5 free throws in a 96-68 victory. The 6-5 forward from Trenton, N.J. averaged 15.7 points in two seasons at Dayton. This was his career-best scoring performance.
“He’s in a good way right now,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said then. “He’s had good practices. If I would look at his box score through the first three games — the scrimmage, the exhibition and then tonight — he’s been pretty consistent, and we’re going to need him to be that way. He scored tonight, but more important is how effective he was on defense. We’ve got to have him rebound the ball. He’s got to do a lot for us. He’s going to get everyone’s best shot moving forward.”
Roberts (Nov. 10, 2007), vs. East Tennessee State: In the first game of his senior season, Roberts made 9 of 15 shots, including 4 of 8 3-pointers in a 78-74 victory.
“Roberts is a heckuva player — we knew that coming in,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. “Brian (Gregory) does a heckuva job. He’s a very good coach. They’re hard to guard with Roberts at the one or two spot. ... I think they’re going to have a nice year.”
Roberts (Dec. 29, 2007), vs. Pittsburgh: Roberts made 10 of 17 field goals, including 5 of 8 3-pointers, in an 80-55 rout of No. 6 Pittsburgh.
“His performance tonight will certainly go down as one of the best in college basketball this year,” UD coach Brian Gregory said. “Against a great team, he dominated the game. And not just with his scoring. Passing, defense, he did everything.”
Ibi Watson (Dec. 23, 2019), vs. Grambling: Dayton’s 20-game winning streak started with this 81-53 victory. Watson, a 6-5 fifth-year senior guard from Pickerington, made 8 of 12 field goals, 4 of 5 3-pointers and 10 of 10 free throws.
“I thought tonight the guys took what the defense gave them,” Grant said. “Ibi was able to provide a lot of scoring. His teammates understood that he had the hot hand, and they were able to take advantage of that.”
Chris Wright (Dec. 18, 2010), vs. Western Carolina: Wright, a 6-8 forward from Trotwood who ranks 15th in school history with 1,601 points, hit his career high in this 71-60 victory in his senior year. He made 10 of 13 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws.
“We talked about two things before the game — energy and execution — and he filled both to the brim,” UD coach Brian Gregory said. “He was just really good. He played with tremendous intensity and focus offensively and defensively.”If you look at the way Chris has been playing, this is probably overall the best stretch of his career when it comes to the consistency he’s played with.”
Wright (Feb. 10, 2010), vs. Charlotte: Wright made 11 of 15 shots, 2 of 3 3-pointers and 6 of 9 free throws in a 75-47 victory.
“He went off tonight,” teammate London Warren said. “When a guy gets like that, you just get him the ball ... and watch.”
Roberts (Feb. 21, 2008), at La Salle: In an 81-78 overtime loss, Roberts made 11 of 22 field goals, including 6 of 12 3-pointers. It was his last 30-point game. Dayton blew a seven-point lead in the final 3:28 of regulation and a five-point edge in the last 53 seconds of overtime.
Roberts (Jan. 12, 2008), at Saint Louis: In a 68-57 overtime victory, Roberts made 8 of 17 field goals, including 3 of 9 3-pointers, and 11 of 12 free throws.
“Brian wasn’t shooting as well as he can, but he recognized it so he drove the ball more and was able to draw fouls,” Gregory said.
Roberts (Nov. 15, 2006), vs. North Carolina A&T: In the second game of his junior season, Roberts carried Dayton to a 79-66 victory by making 11 of 20 field goals, including 4 of 10 3-pointers, and 4 of 4 free throws. He scored 19 points in the second half as Dayton overcame a 13-point deficit.
“North Carolina A&T outplayed us ... except for Brian Roberts,” Gregory said. “He single-handedly took over the game. That’s what great players do.”
Tony Stanley (Jan. 27, 2001), vs. Fordham: A 6-4 guard from Arlington, Va., Stanley ranks seventh in school history with 1,835 points. He hit his career high in this game, an 81-74 victory in his senior year when he averaged 15.9 points.
Stanley scored 24 points in the second half when he made 5 of 7 shots, including 4 of 6 three-pointers. He also made 11 of 15 free throws in the game.
“We started running stuff where he could get a good clean look at the basket,” teammate Keith Waleskowski said. “When you’re as hot as he is and can shoot the ball like he can, get him the ball. He’ll carry you. We needed it and he stepped up real big.”
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