Dayton Flyers vs. North Texas: Nine ways UD got its ninth win

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Dayton Flyers vs. North Texas: Nine ways UD got its ninth win

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Flyers set the tone early with defense and hit big shots to maintain lead

Jalen Crutcher banged knees with a North Texas defender after lofting an alley-oop pass to Dayton Flyers teammate Obi Toppin in the second half. He knew he wasn’t seriously hurt right away but was in a lot of pain, so he stayed on the ground as trainer Mike Mulcahey attended to him and a crowd of 13,129 fell silent.

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After a minute or two on the floor, Crutcher walked off the court under his own power, whispering to his teammates that he was OK. He turned to the game after a short visit to the locker room, and later, after a 71-58 victory, the junior point guard confirmed the pain was worth the gain.

“It’s always worth it if you get two points out of it,” Crutcher said.

The Flyers needed the basket. North Texas made 9 of 15 3-pointers in the second half, trying to rally from a double-digit deficit but never getting closer than nine points. No. 13 Dayton (9-1) won its fourth game in a row and earned its eighth double-digit victory.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Anthony Grant's postgame press conference after beating North Texas

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Here are nine ways the Flyers got their ninth win:

1. Dayton's defense excelled in the first half: North Texas (4-7) is much better than its record indicates and has now lost to six teams ranked in the top 75 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings. It took Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma to the wire and led Rhode Island and Utah State at halftime.

Dayton, however, controlled this game from start to finish, winning the first six minutes 14-2 and building a 34-19 halftime lead. Its defense set the tone early. North Texas shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and missed all four of its 3-point attempts.

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“I thought in the first half we were really really good from a defensive standpoint,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said.

“Unfortunately early in the game it looked like we were in slow motion,” North Texas coach Grant McCasland said in a press release on the team’s website. “Finally, in the second-half, we woke up, but give Dayton credit. They have a veteran and talented team.”

2. Dayton stopped North Texas' hottest player: Umoja Gibson, who averaged 20.2 points in the last six games, scored six points on 2-of-9 shooting.

3. Dayton benefited from balanced scoring: Crutcher and Ryan Mikesell led the Flyers with 16 points. All nine players who saw the court scored at least two points. Only Chase Johnson did not play. He missed his second straight game with an illness.

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin dunks against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Dayton’s Obi Toppin dunks against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

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Dayton’s Obi Toppin dunks against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

4. Toppin made North Texas pay for double teaming him: Dayton's leading scorer on the season was held to a season-low 11 points but had a career-high six assists. Twice in the second half he threw fastballs across the court when North Texas sent an extra defender his way, finding the open man — Jhery Matos and then Crutcher — for 3-pointers.

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“He’s such a willing passer,” Mikesell said. “That’s also what makes him so good. He’s not just a black hole down there. You know teams are going to double him, and I think he even got triple-teamed tonight, but he’s willing to make that cross-court pass, and guys hit some big shot for us.”

5. Limiting turnovers in the first half helped: The Flyers finished with 12 turnovers, their lowest total since the third game of the season, and committed only four in the first half.

Turnovers have been one weak spot for Dayton. It has the nation’s seventh-most efficient offense but ranks 158th in turnover percentage.

“We have to understand when we give ourselves a chance to get a shot how efficient we are,” Grant said. “When we turn it over and don’t even give ourselves a chance, it’s magnified for a team that’s as efficient as we are offensively.”

6. Dayton's offense answered every big shot by North Texas: The Mean Green made four 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half yet still faced a 43-31 deficit. Rodney Chatman and Crutcher hit 3-pointers during that stretch to keep Dayton in a comfortable position.

When North Texas cut Dayton’s lead to 52-42, Matos hit a 3-pointer at the 7:29 mark. North Texas answered with a basket only to have Ryan Mikesell score on a strong drive to the hoop, pushing the advantage to 57-45.

Again at the 5:28 mark, with Dayton up by nine, Crutcher hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 60-48.

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Dayton’s Jordy Tshimanga scores against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Dayton’s Jordy Tshimanga scores against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

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Dayton’s Jordy Tshimanga scores against North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, at UD Arena.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

7. Jordy Tshimanga made the most of his time: The Dayton center tallied six points and three rebounds in eight minutes. He picked up two quick fouls in the first half but stayed on the court and then hit two baskets in a one-minute span. In six games, he has made 10 of 12 field goals.

“I thought he played well through the fouls,” Grant said. “He gave us a presence inside.”

8. Mikesell delivered a strong all-around performance: Dayton outscored North Texas by 20 during Mikesell's 32 minutes. He made 4 of 7 shots from the field and 7 of 9 free throws. He scored in double digits for the first time since he had 19 against Kansas.

9. Dayton forced a season-high 20 turnovers: The Flyers used the press to cause North Texas problems and got a five-second call and then another turnover in quick succession in the second half.

“We wanted to make them uncomfortable tonight,” Grant said. “I thought that was effective. There were some things we were able to take away from them that they’ve been able to have success with.”

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