Veterans leading way for Dayton Flyers in first two games

UD returns to action Tuesday against Nebraska Omaha

While much of the attention throughout the offseason and preseason focused on the transfers joining the Dayton Flyers rotation, it was the returning players who provided the most offensive production in the first two games.

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Obi Toppin, Ryan Mikesell, Jalen Crutcher and Trey Landers accounted for 67.6 percent of the team's scoring in an 86-81 victory against Indiana State and a 90-61 victory against Charleston Southern.

All together, those players have spent 15 years UD’s campus with Mikesell being a grad student in his fifth year with the program, Landers being a senior and the redshirt sophomore Toppin being the age of a senior because he spent a post-graduate year in prep school. Crutcher is a junior but has more experience than many seniors because he played so much in his first two years.

“The thing in year three you want to be able to see,” third-year Dayton coach Anthony Grant said on WHIO Radio’s Anthony Grant Show on Monday, “is your veterans (benefiting from) the experience they’ve gotten over the course of a couple years in the system, their familiarity with the system and their familiarity with college basketball. We’ve talked about this from day one. You’re going to win with veterans. You’re going to win with experience. We’ve fortunately got some really good ones.”

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Toppin averaged 25.0 points in the first two games, the top number in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He has 525 points in his career. He ranks third in the A-10 with 11.5 rebounds per game.

“He’s gotten off to a really good start in the first two games,” Grant said.

It’s a small sample size and far too early to tell what anyone’s final numbers will be, but Mikesell has averaged 13.0 points in his first two games after averaging 10.1 last season. He has 610 points in his career. Landers has averaged 8.5 points. He has 636 points in his career.

“Guys like Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers, they’ve been here and experienced winning championships and getting to the NCAA tournament,” Grant said. “They’ve seen what that looks like. I know that’s really important to those guys as seniors that they experience that here in their last go-around.”

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Crutcher averaged 13.0 points and 6.5 assists in the first two games. He has started 56 games in his career and has more career points (744) than anyone on the team.

“He got thrown into the fire as a freshman,” Grant said. “He learned from that experience and got better over the course of the year and then last year he ended up an all-league player. So we’ve got a guy now in his third year that we feel has been battle tested and seen everything.”

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