The Dayton Flyers had no choice about when and where they would play in the NIT. Administrators had to scramble Sunday night to reserve a charter flight. The plane wasn’t big enough so some normal members of the traveling party, including several managers and the radio team, Larry Hansgen and Josh Postorino, as well as junior guard Trey Landers, who needed a later flight so he could attend a funeral, took a commercial flight to Denver on Monday.
Once they arrived at the CU Events Center for a practice Monday night, the Flyers realized why Colorado has the second-best home-court advantage in the country, according to KenPom.com. The altitude (5,328 feet) tired them fast.
“As soon as we started running,” Dayton forward Obi Toppin said.
“We were stretching and got tired,” point guard Jalen Crutcher said.
A day later after a 78-73 loss to the Buffaloes, the players weren’t using it as an excuse, but it didn’t make their jobs easier.
“I ran up the court once, and I was breathing hard,” Crutcher said. “We had to adjust to that.”
Toppin also set the Dayton record for highest-scoring average by a freshman (14.4 points per game). Johnny Davis had held the record of 14.3 since 1973-74.
Toppin shot 66.6 percent from the field. That’s the best mark by a freshman and third-best mark in Dayton history behind Sean Finn (70.7 in 2002-03) and Chris Daniels (68.8 in 1995-96).
Cunningham’s final career field-goal percentage (63.9 percent) ranks second behind Sean Finn (64.7).
Dayton also will play Nov. 25-27 in the Maui Invitational for the first time since 2013. Possible opponents include BYU, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, Virginia Tech and host Chaminade.