Josh Cunningham liked the 28 points and the 10-of-13 shooting in the Dayton Flyers' 85-72 victory against Western Michigan on Wednesday. There's no doubt he appreciated his 8-of-8 performance at the free-throw line most of all.
“For sure,” Cunningham said. ” I started off the season terrible from the free-throw line, and I know that’s one of my strengths. I just wanted to come out and every time I got fouled go to the free-throw line and knock them down.”
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Cunningham shot 69.1 percent at the line last season as a redshirt junior. He improved his season percentage this season from 55.6 to 63.6 percent with this effort. He has made 16 of 18 in the last four games after making 12 of 26 in his first five games.
Cunningham didn’t shoot extra free throws in practice to get back on track. He said it was just a matter of confidence.
“It’s something I’ve been good at all my life,” he said. “I was in a slump.”
Slumping shooters: Sophomore guard Jordan Davis missed all four of his field-goal attempts, including his only 3-point attempt Wednesday. After shooting 39.4 percent (56 of 142) from 3-point range last season, he's shooting 25 percent (11 of 44) this season. He has not topped 33 percent in a game since making 2 of 2 in the season opener.
“He’s a guy that is more than capable of making five, six 3s in a game,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’s just got to stay with it. I think every guy that plays the game long enough at some point you’re going to go through that. I know I did as a player, and most players go through that. You’ve just got to continue to understand what you do in terms of impacting winning and stay confident and fight through that, and he’s got to do that right now.”
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Junior guard Trey Landers also is struggling from behind the arc. He shot 35.2 percent last season. After missing his last eight 3-point attempts in the last three games, his season percentage has fallen to 19.2.
Looking ahead: The Flyers play Presbyterian (6-6), a Big South Conference school located in Clinton, S.C., at 2 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena. As of Wednesday, fewer than 100 tickets remained.
The Blue Hose lost 76-67 at Butler on Tuesday. They led by as many as 14 points in the first half and had a 42-41 lead at halftime. Butler pulled away in the final 10 minutes.
This will be the second meeting between Dayton and Presbyterian. The Flyers won 71-52 in 2009 at UD Arena.