Flyers soar into AP Top 20, Toppin player of the week

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Dayton forward Obi Toppin (1) shoots over Virginia Tech forward P.J. Horne (14) and guard Wabissa Bede (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Dayton, OHIO (WDTN) University of Dayton forward Obi Toppin was named the Atlantic 10’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for his performances in leading Dayton to a second-place finish last week at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. 

The Flyers had double-digit wins over Georgia (80-61) and Virginia Tech (89-62) before falling in overtime in the championship game to then-fifth-ranked Kansas (90-84).  Dayton’s tournament run propelled them into this week’s national rankings.  The 5-1 Flyers are now 19th in the Associated Press poll, and 17th in the USA Today Coaches poll.  Kansas’ Maui title moved the Jayhawks up to second.

This is Dayton’s first national ranking in head coach Anthony Grant’s short tenure (two years and six games) as the Flyer head coach.  UD was last ranked in February of 2016, when the Flyers were 15th.

Toppin averaged 22.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in Maui.  He shot .694 (25-36) from the field, .545 (6-11) from beyond the three-point line and .917 (11-12) from the line.  He was named to the Maui Invitational All-Tournament team, and was the third-highest vote-getter behind the co-MVP’s from Kansas.

The redshirt sophomore from Brooklyn had his 100th career dunk in the Virginia Tech win, which was just his 20th career start and 38th career game.  He now has 102.

On the year, Toppin leads the A-10 in scoring (23.0) and FG% (.697, 53-76).  He is currently seventh in the nation in field goal percentage.

Being named to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational is the latest accolade for Toppin.  He is already on both the James Naismith Trophy and Lute Olson Award Watch Lists for national player of the year.  The Preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10 selection is also on the Karl Malone Award Watch List, which goes to the top collegiate power forward.

Dayton is back on the court Tuesday, Saturday, when the Flyers welcome Houston Baptist to UD Arena.  Game time is 7 p.m. ET.

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