Obi Toppin may have grabbed a pickle as he was leaving a postgame interview Saturday. A plate of pickles left over from the pregame meal in the media room at UD Arena tempted him.
Pickles helped Toppin recover from a cramping episode in the season opener three days earlier, but in this game, he avoided that issue by making sure he was better hydrated before the game.
“Two things of Pedialyte,” Toppin said, “and like 50 water bottles. A lot.”
That might be an exaggeration, but there was no overstating Toppin’s impact in his first two college games. He scored 18 points in a 78-70 victory against North Florida and then 19 in a 76-46 victory over Coppin State.
Through two games, both of which Dayton’s leading returning scorer, Josh Cunningham, missed with a hand injury, the redshirt freshman forward Toppin leads Dayton in scoring (18.5). He said his confidence grew with the two games.
“I played in the city in New York,” Toppin said. “You’ve just got to play with a lot of confidence. I got used to it over time. I felt when I got on the court here, it’s the same thing.”
Streaking: With victories in its first two games, Dayton accomplished something it failed to do until January last season: win back-to-back games. The Flyers had two two-game winning streaks a year ago but never won three games in a row.
Famous name: Coppin State coach Juan Dixon faced Dayton for the second time in his basketball career. He was a junior at Maryland in 2000 when Dayton beat Maryland 77-71 in the third-place game at the Maui Invitational. Dixon led Maryland to a national championship a year later.
“He was a big-time player,” Grant said. “I recruited his little brother (Jermaine Dixon), who played at Pitt. I know Juan a little bit. He’s very close friends with Ricardo Greer and our staff. Juan was a heck of a player, and I know he’s in the second year of trying to build a program. I like some of the young guys he has. If they continue to learn and grow, they’ve got a chance to be really good as they get that experience you need to have.”
Recruiting update: Grant Huffman, one of the top Ohio recruits in the class of 2020, took an unofficial visit Saturday and sat behind the Dayton bench.
Huffman is a 6-foot-3 junior guard at Lakewood St. Edward. He’s a three-star prospect who ranks 166th in the 2020 class and fifth among Ohio recruits, according to 247Sports.com.
Interesting numbers: Jordan Davis has displayed more willingness to take the ball to the basket as a sophomore, and it’s resulting in more free throws. He made 17 of 23 all last season and has made 8 off 11 in the first two games.
Looking ahead: Dayton plays Purdue Fort Wayne in its third game at 7 p.m. Friday at UD Arena. Fort Wayne was known as IPFW (Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne)when it lost 81-80 to Dayton on Jordan Sibert’s last-second 3-pointer in the 2013 season opener.
The Mastodons (1-2) lost to two teams ranked in the top 50 of the Ken Pomeroy rankings in the first week: 96-71 at UCLA on Tuesday and 107-61 at Ohio State on Sunday. In between, they beat a Division III program, Earlham, 112-51.
Around the A-10: George Mason, picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference, started the season 0-2 with losses at home by a combined four points: 72-71 to Penn and 78-75 in overtime to American.
Richmond suffered the worst loss of the opening week for an A-10 team, falling 63-58 at home to Longwood, which ranks 320th in the Pomeroy ratings.
St. Joseph’s picked up the best early victory, beating Old Dominion, ranked 93rd, 79-64 in its opener Friday.
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