Flyers soar into Maui championship game

Sports

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)

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Obi Toppin had 24 points and eight rebounds in another dominating Maui Invitational performance, lifting Dayton into the title game with an emphatic 89-62 victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

Toppin rose to the occasion on the national stage in Dayton’s Maui opener and topped himself against Virginia Tech.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore had the loud Dayton crowd roaring in the first half with a string of 3-pointers and brought them to their feet with a series of dunks in the second as the Flyers (5-0) raced past Virginia Tech (6-1).

Toppin shot 10 of 14 from the floor and led an early charge as Dayton jumped on the Hokies. The Flyers shot 64%, went 11 of 23 from the 3-point arc and have a chance to add a second Maui Invitational title — with 2003 — against No. 4 Kansas or Brigham Young Wednesday night.

Landers Nolley II led the Hokies with 15 points.

Virginia Tech notched the first upset in Maui, making all the big plays down the stretch to knock off No. 3 Michigan State 71-66.

The Flyers opened their fourth Maui trip by knocking off Georgia 80-61 behind Toppin’s 25 points.

Toppin kept his Maui road show revved up against the Hokies, scoring inside and out. He had 14 points by halftime, hitting 5 of 9 shots.

His teammates were pretty good, too, going 19 of 29 from the floor and using a 13-2 run to build a 49-31 halftime lead.

Dayton didn’t let up in the second half and Toppin continued to have his way with the Hokies. Working primarily out of the post, he brought the loud contingent of Dayton to its feet with pair of spin moves and dunks, prompting a chant of “Obi!”

Dayton closed out the rousing victory by hitting its final 10 shots.

BIG PICTURE

Dayton will be a popular mid-major pick to make a deep run in March regardless of what happens in the title game. The Flyers are that good.

Virginia Tech took down mighty Michigan State, but was no match for Toppin and the Flyers.

UP NEXT

Dayton plays the winner between No. 4 Kansas and BYU in Wednesday’s title game.

Virginia Tech faces the Kansas-BYU loser in the third-place game.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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