A week break between games came at a good time for the Dayton Flyers, who can bask in their most impressive victory of the season a little longer than usual.
Dayton beat Rhode Island 77-48 on Saturday in Kingston, R.I., took Sunday off and got back to practice Monday in preparation for a 4 p.m. Saturday game against Virginia Commonwealth at UD Arena.
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Dayton looked like two different teams last week. The rout of the Rams came four days after a 73-60 loss at Saint Louis.
"That's part of the game," Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Monday on the Anthony Grant Show on WHIO Radio. "I wish I could explain it. I wish we had an answer for it, but if you look across the country and pay attention to the scores of the last week or so, it's that time of year. You hit February, and it's a grind, and you have to be mentally and physically tough on every night. So going into the Saint Louis game, we knew who they were and what they were and we would have to be ready to answer that. Unfortunately for us, we didn't have our best showing. They held us accountable in a lot of areas, specifically on the glass, which really was the difference in the game. They got 26 points on second shots."
Dayton (16-8, 8-3) trailed from start to finish in the first game and led from start to finish in the second game.
“I was proud of the way our guys responded,” Grant said ,”because in Rhode Island you’re dealing with a team that in a lot of ways is very similar to Saint Louis — maybe a little bit more skilled in terms of the players they have but a big physical team. In their building, they’ve been really good all year, so for us to be able to come out and respond coming off the loss at Saint Louis the way we did, I thought our guys showed some resiliency and toughness and togetherness because it took a great team effort for us to get the great start and finish we got.”
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Grant hit on a number of other topics on the radio show. Here are some highlights:
On the reaction of Trey Landers to being taken out of the starting lineup: "Trey's awesome. His biggest strength is his versatility. He gives us great energy whether he's starting or coming off the bench. His minutes really haven't changed."
On why he moved Obi Toppin into the starting lineup: "At the end of the day, my job is to try to do what's best for the team moving forward. … It gives us more versatility in terms of being able to plug guys into different positions."
On the fouls called on Dayton players blocking out at Rhode Island: "The thing we talked about is those are fouls we'll take in terms of our guys being physical and trying to go put a body on a body and make sure we don't allow them to be able to get offensive rebounds. There was room for growth. They got 13 of them in the game, which is more than we want to give up, but what you saw on Saturday was guys trying to make a concerted effort to make sure they found a body and put a body on a body.
» RHODE ISLAND GAME: How Dayton won | Notes: Cunningham brings motor | 20 photos
On the status of Florida transfer Chase Johnson, who joined the team in January: "It took him two to three weeks until he was actually able to get on the floor. Last Thursday was his first day out there full contact. He's got a huge smile on his face that he's actually out there playing again. He was away from the game quite a bit. He's out there with his teammates competing. It's been really good for him to get a new start. Whatever his situation was at Florida, I think he needed a change mentally and physically."
VCU at Dayton, 4 p.m., NBC Sports Network, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO
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