Ryan Mikesell summed up the feeling for Dayton Flyers fans Wednesday after the Red Scare's 77-68 victory in The Basketball Tournament.
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“Like we never left, honestly,” Mikesell said.
That comment was captured on video after the game by Griffin Quinn, a UD senior running the social media accounts for the Dayton alumni team. Mikesell was speaking to teammate Trey Landers.
Mikesell and Landers, the lone seniors on Dayton’s 29-2 team last season, won their 21st straight game together and remained perfect in 2020. They combined for 21 points in the round of 16 victory against Big X at Nationwide Arena. Ahead is a 4 p.m. quarterfinal game Friday against House of ‘Paign. The winner advances to the semifinals on Sunday.
Here are five things to know about the Red Scare’s first game and its next game:
1. Balanced effort: Dayton will need contributions from every member of its eight-man roster. That's what it got against Big X. All eight players scored. Darrell Davis led the team with 15 points. Everyone had at least two rebounds. Seven of the eight players had at least one assist.
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“I feel confident I can throw any one of those guys out there at the same time,” said Joey Gruden, the former Dayton walk-on who put together the roster and is now coaching the team, “and I think we’ll be successful.”
The Red Scare outscored Big X 17-6 down the stretch to break open a back-and-forth game.
“I knew if we were in the game late, nine times out of 10 we’re going to win,” Gruden said. “There’s just something about Dayton basketball.”
2. Big contributions: Former Ohio State center Trevor Thompson scored the Red Scare's first five points and finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He made both of his 3-point attempts.
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“Trevor’s a huge addition for us,” Gruden said. “Dayton basketball doesn’t have a lot of big men like him. He can do multiple things. He can play down, and he can shoot the 3, which he did today. He helped us out early when we started off slow. I think he’s going to be huge for us in this tournament.”
3. Rusty performance: Red Scare's Devin Oliver had nine points on 2-of-11 shooting, though he led the team with eight rebounds and made 5 of 8 free throws.
“Man, not playing in four months can really cause some problems,” Oliver wrote on Twitter.
4. Postgame plans: Every team packs their bags before TBT games in case they lose. If they lose, they have to immediately leave the tournament. The victors, on the other hand, get to visit the E&J Brandy Winners Lounge at the Big Bar on 2 at the Hyatt Regency, where all the teams are staying.
Gruden said the team would celebrate for about 45 minutes Wednesday and then scout the next game.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher,” Gruden said, “but we’re one step closer.”
ＦＡＲ ＦＲＯＭ ＦＩＮＩＳＨＥＤ— The Red Scare (@FlyersTBT) July 9, 2020
See you again tomorrow.#FlyWithUs 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/8fvx3tNPLi
5. Scouting report: House of 'Paign, the No. 16 seed, won that next game, upsetting the No. 1 seed and defending champion Carmen's Crew 76-68. Mike Daum, a 6-foot-9 power forward from South Dakota State, led the House of 'Paign, with 23 points. Kyle Vinales, a point guard from Central Connecticut State, scored 16.
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Of course, the team is called House of ‘Paign because most of the players played in Champaign, Ill., with the Illini. Andres Feliz and Malcolm Hill, who played for Illinois, scored 15 and 11 points, respectively.
The coach and general manager of the team is Mike LaTulip, who played three seasons at Illinois and then transferred to Wright State as a grad student. He averaged 7.0 points in the 2016-17 season.
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