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.”
» TWENTY PHOTOS: Best shots from Tuesday night
Record breaker: Toppin scored his first points of the season on a dunk and his last points of the season on a dunk, punctuating Dayton’s frustrations in the final seconds with a windmill slam. He finished the season with a school-record 83 dunks.
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).
Final numbers: Josh Cunningham scored five points in his final game and finished his career with 964 points in a Dayton uniform. He ranks 52nd in school history between Kevin Conrad (983) and Charles Cooke (957).
Cunningham’s final career field-goal percentage (63.9 percent) ranks second behind Sean Finn (64.7).
» DECADE IN REVIEW: Best and worst of UD’s last 10 years
Last game: Senior walk-on Jack Westerfield entered the game in the final seconds. It was his 23rd and final career appearance.
Looking ahead: Only one opponent in the 2019-20 season is known. Dayton will play Colorado again on Dec. 21 in the Chicago Legends event at the United Center.
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.
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