Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell delivers double-double vs. UMass

Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell dunks against Massachusetts on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton’s Ryan Mikesell dunks against Massachusetts on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Redshirt senior grabs career-high 14 rebounds

It would be an overstatement to say Ryan Mikesell has turned into a dunk machine for the Dayton Flyers, but he’s been doing his best Obi Toppin impersonation in recent weeks.

» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Minutemen

“I’m trying to,” Mikesell said with a laugh.

Mikesell dunked twice in the final non-conference game in December against North Florida and had one in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener against La Salle. He had another Saturday in an 88-60 victory against Massachusetts at UD Arena. It was one of the best plays of the first half. He led the fast break, split two defenders after passing mid-court and finished with a wide-open slam.

“I kind of saw the seas part,” Mikesell said. “The next thing you know, I just took off and jumped high enough to dunk.”

Mikesell delivered another strong performance in a stellar final season at Dayton. He had 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds. He also had two steals and three assists and didn’t commit a turnover in 28 minutes.

» RECRUITING: Flyers offer scholarship to 2021 forward

The redshirt senior forward from St. Henry is averaging 10.9 points and 4.8 rebounds, while shooting 52.8 percent from the field. He has scored in double figures in each of the first three A-10 games.

“I just like being out there and making plays for other guys,” Mikesell said. “I had an outlet pass to Obi, and I was so happy to see him grab that and in one dribble windmill dunk. Anytime you see guys thrive from the plays you make, whether it’s a screen or passing or rebounding, that’s a good feeling.”

Johnson update: Dayton coach Anthony Grant made his first public comments regarding Chase Johnson since Johnson announced Friday he was “medically withdrawing” from the university. Grant said all options were on the table when asked if there was a chance Johnson could return to the program after the season.

» INJURY UPDATE: Toppin’s ankle sprain overshadows victory

“He and I have had some conversations before the announcement he put out yesterday,” Grant said. “Some of that I can share with you. Some of it is confidential. But at the end of the day, my thing for him is what’s in his best interest in terms of his health and well being both mentally and physically. That’s where I’m at. For him and his family, that’s what they’re seeking. This is way bigger than basketball. Basketball is a small window in these kids’ lives.”

Looking ahead: Dayton plays Virginia Commonwealth at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the first of two matchups between the top contenders in the Atlantic 10 Conference. VCU has won four straight games in the series since Dayton's 106-79 victory at UD Arena on Jan. 12, 2018.

VCU (12-4, 2-1) suffered a surprising loss Saturday at home to Rhode Island, falling 65-56. VCU shot 21.4 percent (6 of 28) from 3-point range.

Dunk tracker: Toppin dunked three times, raising his season total to 52 and keeping him on pace to break the UD single-season record of 83 he set last season. He has 135 career dunks. Chris Wright, who was inducted into the Dayton Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, owns the career record of 177.

Milestone: Dayton junior point guard Jalen Crutcher entered the game with 898 career points and scored 12, passing his coach Anthony Grant (902 career points) in the record book and moving into a tie with George Janky (1967-70). Crutcher became the 63rd player in Dayton history to hit the 900-point milestone.