Fans of the Dayton Flyers speculated in recent week about the status of Josh Cunningham.
Was he just in a slump, or was there something else explaining his offensive numbers? He scored three points in back-to-back games against Saint Joseph’s and Duquesne and still didn’t look like his old self even though he scored 12 points in the loss Tuesday at Saint Louis.
Cunningham looked much better Saturday with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in Dayton’s 77-48 victory against Rhode Island at the Ryan Center and assured everyone he’s fine.
“I’m 100 percent healthy,” Cunningham said. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m perfectly fine.”
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Cunningham has not topped 15 points since he had 25 in back-to-back games against Georgia Southern and Richmond on Dec. 29 and Jan. 6, and while his latest performance wasn’t as dominant as his 32-point game against Rhode Island at UD Arena a year ago, he seemed confident better days are ahead.
“I sat down and talked to some coaches (after the Saint Louis loss), and they told me some things,” Cunningham said, “and I feel I really took in what they told me. Just got out there and give it my all.”
Cunningham was asked if he felt worn down in the Saint Louis game.
“I didn’t feel worn down,” he said. “It was just mental things. I’m over it now.”
Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Cunningham “brought his motor” and did a great job on defense.
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“The first play, there was a 50-50 rebound there that he was able to come down with,” Grant said. “He made some physical plays on both ends of the court today, and you heard his voice out there, and that’s the Josh we need every single day because of the impact he can have on our team when he brings that type of effort and energy.”
Around the A-10: Davidson (17-6, 8-2) fell into a first-place tie with Virginia Commonwealth (17-6, 8-2) by losing 54-51 at last-place Massachusetts on Saturday. Keon Clergeot hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with five seconds left.
This was a surprising score because UMass (9-15, 2-9) lost its previous game 85-67 at home to Fordham.
Looking ahead: Dayton gets a week break before its next game at 4 p.m. Saturday against Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena. VCU won the first matchup 76-71 on Jan. 16 in Richmond, Va., and has won three straight games in the series.
The Rams routed St. Bonaventure 85-55 on Saturday in Olean, N.Y. They have won four games in a row.