Tennessee Tech junior Courtney Alexander provided the most lasting image Wednesday at UD Arena, showing off an underhanded free-throw form that would make grandmas everywhere proud. Granny-style free-throw shooting is a rare thing, and a crowd of 12,976 took notice.
Dayton’s fans reserved most of their cheers for their team, of course. Dayton took control of the game with a 15-0 run in the first half and coasted to a 79-66 victory.
Dayton spent three days as a losing team thanks to a 61-59 loss at Mississippi State on Sunday. Now the Flyers stand at 4-4, and they hope to distance themselves from .500 with home games against Penn and Georgia State ahead.
“It felt great to be to get back to winning,” redshirt junior forward Josh Cunningham said. “We lost the last two games. Now we’re back to the right track. We just want to continue from here.”
Here are four reasons the Flyers beat the Golden Eagles:
1. They avoided foul trouble: Kostas Antetokounmpo played a season-high 37 points. He picked up three fouls but none in the first half. In his last home game, he had two fouls in the first 30 seconds.
The redshirt freshman Antetokounmpo had 10 points and 10 rebounds and added three assists and two blocks. He has 14 blocks, keeping him on pace to challenge Steve McElvene’s single-season school record of 55.
“Every game he’s gaining experience,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “He’s understanding a little bit more about what we want and what he needs to do to be effective, and it was good to see him being able to stay on the floor. He was able to gather 10 rebounds, which was huge for us. He got some where I think he was the only guy in the building capable of getting them. He went up and got them.”
2. They dominated inside the paint: The Flyers outscored the Golden Eagles 40-20 in the paint and 23-12 in fast-break points. Dayton had seven dunks. The Flyers shot 57.4 percent from the field and made 23 of 31 shots inside the arc (74.2 percent).
Tennessee Tech started pressing on defense in the second half. Dayton led by as many as 17 points with 12:48 to play.
“We made some careless turnovers against their press,” Grant said. “I thought we did some really good things when we attacked it. We were able to get some easy baskets going the other way.”
3. John Crosby provided a lift in the first half: The junior point guard played a total of 15 minutes in losses to Auburn and Mississippi State. He played 12 minutes in the first half Wednesday when starting point guard Jalen Crutcher left the game with an injury.
Crosby was on the court when Dayton went on a 15-0 run in the first half. Dayton turned a 11-6 deficit into a 21-11 lead.
“I thought John was terrific,” Grant said. “John really came in and sparked us.”
Crutcher’s injury was minor. He returned to the game and played 16 minutes in the second half. Crosby finished with four points and two assists in 16 minutes. Crutcher had two points and seven assists.
4. Jordan Davis got hot: The freshman guard scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He made 4 of 6 3-pointers. Three of his 3-pointers came in the second half. Davis is shooting 51.9 percent from long range (14 of 27).
“He’s been getting better and better with every game,” Grant said. “He’s understanding more of his role and what the team needs out of him, both offensively and defensively. I thought he was more aggressive to score tonight, taking what the defense gave him and not rushing anything. It was great to see the ball movement that led to some of the open shots he got.”