Trey Landers wore a black shoulder brace, a fancy-looking contraption that kept his joint immobilized, for seven days after banging the shoulder in practice Feb. 11. It wasn’t a fun time, mostly because he couldn’t help the Dayton Flyers on Saturday during their 69-68 loss to Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena.
Landers asked trainer Mike Mulcahey to let him play. The answer was no. That changed in the days leading up to Tuesday’s game at Davidson. Landers was cleared to play, though he wasn’t sure Anthony Grant would use him.
“My shoulder, it’s still a little sore, but at the end of the day, we’re coming down the stretch of the season,” Landers said. “It’s a crucial moment. I’m going to try to do whatever I can to help my team.”
Landers played nine minutes in Dayton’s 74-73 victory at Belk Arena. He missed three field-goal attempts and committed four fouls.
“It was great to have him back,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Trey’s a tough kid. Our medical staff felt it was safe to put him out there, so we’re glad he was able to be out there and contribute.”
Landers said he wasn’t sure if he dislocated the shoulder. He said it was a joint or muscle injury. He praised Mulcahey and the training staff for their treatment and help in getting him back on the court, though he knows the shoulder pain may linger.
“I’ve got to be able to fight through it,” Landers said. “I’m a tough guy. I’m able to fight pain.”
Key shot: For the second straight game, Dayton guard Jordan Davis made an important 3-pointer in the final minutes. Davis made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:03 to play against Davidson, and his 3-pointer with 3:26 to play against Davidson gave Dayton a 69-62 lead.
Davis made 5 of 10 shots from the field and 4 of 7 3-pointers and scored 15 points, bouncing back from a 1-of-6 shooting performance that produced six points against VCU.
“We knew it was a big one for us,” Davis said. “We knew Saturday we let one slip away, so we just wanted to play hard.”
Second chance: Also for the second straight game, Dayton forward Obi Toppin scored a go-ahead basket in the final minute. He scored with 15 seconds left against VCU to give Dayton a 68-67 lead and tipped in his own missed shot with 34 seconds left against Davidson, giving the Flyers a 73-71 lead.
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Davidson coach Bob McKillop said KiShawn Pritchett defended Toppin well on the play, “but when the shot went up, (Toppin) is bigger than KiShawn. He’s got a second jump in him, and he was able to get that second jump and tip it in at the rim.”
Toppin had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Davidson. He dunked once, bringing his season total to 65. He’s one away from tying Chris Wright’s school record.
Looking ahead: Dayton (17-9, 9-4) plays Saint Louis (17-9, 8-5) at 4 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena in a rematch of a game Dayton lost 73-60 on Feb. 5 in St. Louis. The Billikens beat La Salle 62-49 in their last game Saturday and have won three of their last four games.
Around the A-10: VCU (20-6, 11-2) won its seventh straight game, beating Rhode Island 76-42 on Tuesday in Richmond, Va. The Rams lead Davidson (19-7, 10-3) by one game and Dayton and George Mason by two games with five games to play.
Rhode Island (12-13, 5-8) suffered its fourth straight loss.
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