Freshmen guards Jalen Crutcher and Jordan Davis keep giving fans of the Dayton Flyers reasons to hope this season will stand out as that rare down year that the program has mostly avoided since the turn of the century. It’s hard to imagine Dayton hovering around .500 all season next year if the duo continues to improve.
Crutcher, the first recruit signed by Anthony Grant and his staff, and Davis, the first Archie Miller recruit to say he would stick with the Flyers after the hiring of Grant, played some of their best basketball Saturday in an 88-84 overtime loss at Virginia Commonwealth.
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Crutcher scored 21 points and tallied eight assists and seven rebounds. He's a triple-double waiting to happen. Davis had 19 points, four rebounds and four assists. They did all that despite combing to play all but four minutes in the game.
They may have been fatigued in the final minutes but didn’t show it, leading the Flyers back from a 17-point deficit to force overtime. The conditioning level of the freshmen has pleased Grant.
“We’ve talked about this before, the freshman wall that some guys hit,” the Dayton coach said Monday on WHIO Radio’s Anthony Grant Show. “I think if our guys hit it, they actually hit it early, to be honest, right around final exam, Christmas break time. I saw we just didn’t have it at that time.”
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Their minutes have continued to increase as Grant leans on the starting five. In 12 A-10 games, Crutcher has averaged 35.4 minutes. Davis has averaged 29.8. That number would be higher except he played 10 minutes at Richmond. Fans wondered why he didn’t play more in that game. That’s not a question anymore. Davis has rarely left the court in recent weeks.
Grant has seen the stamina of Davis and Crutcher improve since the start of the second semester in January.
“I don’t really see any issues at this point with their performance and they’re obviously playing really heavy minutes,” Grant said. “They’ve been able to come back the next day in practice and be ready to go and be fully engaged. They seem to be doing well. Anymore nowadays, for these kids, once their high school season is over, they immediately go into AAU. Maybe there’s a week in between, but they’re always playing ball. It’s a year-round sport.”
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