Jordy Tshimanga was one of the few people on the University of Dayton campus in the spring. Classes were being conducted remotely during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Everybody who could travel home did. Tshimanga couldn’t get back to his hometown, Montreal, because of travel restrictions at the border.

That made the return of his Dayton Flyers teammates in mid-July all the more special.

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“It just felt so good to see everybody,” Tshimanga said. “It was really overwhelming honestly.”

Dayton practiced through the end of July and into August, then was shut down for several weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. The team held its first official practice Thursday, six weeks before the season opener against Wichita State on Nov. 25 in the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, S.D.

When Dayton returns to the court, it will put a 20-game winning streak on the line. The Flyers ended the regular season March 7 by beating George Washington 75-61. It was their 20th straight victory, which tied a school record for the longest winning streak within one season.

Dayton finished 29-2 but didn’t get a chance to play in the postseason. The Atlantic 10 and NCAA tournaments were cancelled by the pandemic.

“What we did last year was really special,” Tshimanga said. “I’ll carry that in my heart forever. It’s very unfortunate we didn’t get to compete in March Madness.”

Tshimanga, a 6-foot-11 center who played his first two seasons at Nebraska, debuted for Dayton last season in the Maui Invitational after missing the first three games with a knee injury.

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Tshimanga didn’t miss any time the rest of the season and played an important backup role. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game.

As practice began this season, Tshimanga said he was healthy, feeling good and ready to go. The Flyers will need him to play more minutes because he’s their most experienced front-court player. He said he’s working on his overall understanding of the game and awareness in an attempt to cut down on fouls and turnovers.

Tshiamanga ranked fourth on the team in fouls despite ranking ninth in minutes. He fouled out of three games. To cut down on his fouls, he’s been watching film with coaches and going through the teaching points of what to do and what not to do.

“There were some hard calls a lot of times,” Tshimanga said, “but there are ways to avoid it. That’s what I’ve been working on with coach (Anthony) Grant.”

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