Grant plans ‘recovery day’ for Flyers on Saturday

Dayton plays Old Dominion on Sunday in final game of Charleston Classic

Josh Cunningham is the lone captain for the Dayton Flyers, and he had a simple message for them Friday before a game against the Ohio Bobcats.

“We’ve got to come out here and be focused,” Cunningham told them. “We can’t dwell on the loss. We’ve got to get that out of our heads. We’ve got to come out and have fun and play for each other.”

One day after a 72-69 loss to Hofstra in the first round of the Charleston Classic, Dayton bounced back and led Ohio almost from start to finish in a 79-65 victory.

RELATED: Five takeaways from Ohio’s victory

The Flyers (2-1) improved to 2-0 against Mid-American Conference teams this season and will play a team from Conference USA at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The opponent in the fifth-place game at TD Arena is Old Dominion (3-1), a program once led by former Dayton coach Oliver Purnell. He coached the Monarchs for three seasons before getting the job at Dayton in 1994.

All the teams in Charleston got Saturday off to prepare for the final day of games. Coach Anthony Grant planned to use it to make sure his team was ready. Through three games, two Flyers — Darrell Davis (35.7 minutes per game) and Xeyrius Williams (34.3) — are averaging more than 30 minutes. Four players saw at least 30 minutes of action Friday, including Davis, Williams, Cunningham and freshman Jordan Davis.

“We had guys who got heavy minutes in the last couple days,” Grant said. “(Saturday) will be a recovery day for the most part. We have some guys we may bring over to the gym to get some reps in and get some things done. But for the most part we’ll recover and get ready for our next opponent.”

RELATED: Freshman steps up for Flyers

Dayton has seen newcomers emerge as offensive threats in Charleston.

• Kostas Antetokounmpo had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Hofstra. He had four points, three rebounds and three blocks against Ohio.

• Jordan Davis had 10 points, three steals and two rebounds against Ohio.

• Jalen Crutcher has averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 assists in the two games.

• Matej Svoboda hit his first career 3-pointer against Ohio.

Every contribution from the freshmen has been important.

“It’s amazing,” Cunningham said. “We see it in practice every day. Now they’re starting to get comfortable and step up and show it in the games. Hopefully, they’ll keep building on that. It’s only making us better.”

PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Ohio

Old Dominion’s defense should provide a challenge. The Monarchs held Indiana State to 27.3 percent shooting (9 of 33) from the field and 21.3 percent shooting from 3-point range (3 of 13) in a 62-44 victory Friday.

Temple fared better in a 76-65 victory Thursday against Old Dominion, shooting 42.6 percent from the field (23 of 54) and 52.6 percent from 3-point range (10 of 19).

“After the Temple loss, we challenged our guys and they certainly responded well with an outstanding effort today,” ODU coach Jeff Jones told after the game. “Our defense was awesome and we did a good job on the boards. Ahmad Caver really broke through and had his best game of the year. This was a good team win for us.”


Dayton vs. Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3, FM 95.7, AM 1290

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