DAYTON — The University of Dayton Flyers will begin defense of their 2020 Atlantic 10 championship on Wednesday, Dec. 30, when they welcome La Salle to UD Arena. Game time is 7 p.m. ET.
Dayton is 4-1, after a come-from-behind 65-62 win over Ole Miss to complete the non-conference season. Jalen Crutcher led UD with 23 points (on just 12 shots), making four free throws in the final 37 seconds to clinch “the Dub.” Rodney Chatman was right behind with 21 points and five steals. Ibi Watson added 11 points.
• Moving into a more visibly primary role this year, Jalen Crutcher is getting the kind of attention from the media during the preseason that he will no doubt get from opponents during the season. He is on the Naismith, Wooden NABC and Bob Cousy Award Watch Lists.
• Crutcher, a four-year starter, was ranked the 12th-best player in the country by ESPN, 16th in CBSSports.com’s top college basketball players. The Athletic rated him sixth among its top 20 guards in the country. He was also named Second Team Preseason All-America by Stadium.
• Keep in mind that Crutcher was UD’s co-MVP last season, with Obi Toppin. Crutcher needs one assist to become the first Flyer with 1,200 points, 500 assists and 200 three-pointers.
• Crutcher has lived up to his nickname of “Clutcher” in all four of Dayton’s wins, scoring UD’s final points in the last seconds at the line to clinch the victories.
• Rodney Chatman is the only returnee who started every game last season. An elite defender, he held several of the best guards UD faced last year well under their average, including NBA top draft pick Anthony Edwards, Saint Mary’s Jordan Ford and Rhode Island’s Fatts Russell. He scored 21 points and was superb defending All-SEC guard Devontae Shuler vs. Ole Miss.
• Ibi Watson has led all scorers in all three Flyer home games this season. The Michigan transfer had is fifth in the Atlantic 10 in scoring (19.8) and first in minutes (40.8)
• Chase Johnson’s 153 minutes in this year’s first four games were more than he played in 14 games over parts of three seasons at Florida and Dayton (134). He had his first career double-double (16 & 10) in the NKU win.
• Jordy Tshimanga was +16 in +/-vs. EIU, with 10 points and eight rebounds, and was +8 against SMU, with eight points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
• Freshman R.J. Blakney has played 65 minutes in the last three games with nine points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. He led UD with a +9 rating vs. Ole Miss.
• Junior transfer (USC) Elijah Weaver made his Flyer debut in the Ole Miss game after finding out hours before he would be eligible. In eight minutes of action, he had a +/- rating of +8.
• Freshman guard Koby Brea did not play, but dressed out for the first time against Ole Miss.
• Coach Anthony Grant was the consensus national coach of the year in 2019-20, the first UD basketball coach to earn that honor. He received his Naismith Trophy while in Atlanta Friday.
• The Flyers host George Mason on Saturday, Jan. 2. Game time is 4:30 p.m. ET.