Dayton Flyers like spacing created by deeper 3-point line

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Dayton Flyers hold team workout at Cronin Center

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Ryan Mikesell thinks new line will be huge for team

Thirty three years ago, Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant, then a senior at UD, made the first 3-pointer in school history. He led the Flyers with 19 points in a 66-57 season-opening victory against Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) at UD Arena. It was coach Don Donoher’s 400th career win.

» PHOTOS: Flyers hold team workout

“It was good to see Anthony come alive,” Donoher said after the game. “He’s really been fighting it in practice.”

That 3-pointer, Grant’s first shot of the second half and one of 10 3-pointers he would make in the 1986-87 season, came from a distance of 19-feet, 9 inches. In 2007, the NCAA moved the 3-point line back to 20-9. This season, the line shifts again to 22-1¾.

There are still two 3-point lines on Dayton’s practice court at the Cronin Center, but the players have been working from the longer distance throughout the offseason.

“So far, I don’t think it’s had a big impact on any of our guys,” Grant said Monday before a team workout and eight days before the first official practice of the 2019-20 season. “I like it from the standpoint that it provides better spacing on the floor. I think our guys, they’re comfortable and confident with the changes that have been made.”

» OFFSEASON UPDATE: Practice starts Oct. 1 for Flyers

Dayton shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in the first season of the 3-point era. The 1989-90 team set the school record for accuracy (39.2) at the original distance, while the 2016-17 team (38.5) set the mark at the 20-9 line.

In the last two seasons, Grant’s first two as head coach, the Flyers have shot 33.7 and then 33.2 percent, ranking 237th and 231st in the country.

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Asked if his third team can improve on those numbers, Grant said, “We’ll see. It’s hard to predict here in September. But I certainly like the pieces we have.”

Junior point guard Jalen Crutcher has made 122 3-pointers in his first two seasons, which puts him on pace to rank fourth in school history in career 3-pointers. He doesn’t think the new 3-point line will affect the Flyers but said the team needs to shoot better from long range.

Crutcher tied for eighth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 3-point accuracy (36.3). He is working to become more accurate.

“After every practice, I try to get up a lot of shots, like 100 shots,” he said. “I practice it a lot. Hopefully, I can get it up this year. Last year and my freshman year, I was tired at the end of games, so I think I can be better.”

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The NCAA moved the line back for three reasons.

• “Making the lane more available for dribble/drive plays from the perimeter.”

• “Slowing the trend of the 3-point shot becoming too prevalent in men’s college basketball by making the shot a bit more challenging, while at the same time keeping the shot an integral part of the game.”

• “Assisting in offensive spacing by requiring the defense to cover more of the court.”

Ryan Mikesell, who shot 33.3 percent from 3-point range in his first two seasons and 33.9 percent last season, said he thinks the new line will help Dayton.

“We have guys who can really shoot the ball,” Mikesell said, “and being able to space the court and let guys like Jalen, Rodney (Chatman), Ibi (Watson), Obi (Toppin), have that space to work with, I think it’s going to be huge for us. We’ve been practicing with it all summer. I haven’t been able to tell a huge difference in terms of makes and misses, but once the games come around, it’s a different feeling and a different atmosphere. I definitely think it will bring a different dynamic to the game.”

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