breaking news

Clark County restaurant has received Ohio statehouse recognition

Flyers start fast, subdue Musketeers


Former Dayton star Chris Johnson, who made his NBA debut this year with the Memphis Grizzlies, was introduced before the Xavier game Saturday and pranced around the court waving a rally towel and gyrating to the music being piped in.

A sellout crowd of 13,435 ate it up. And the players were energized by it, too.

“He’s played against this team and wanted to win just as bad as we did,” UD sophomore Matt Derenbecker said. “It’s great having a guy like that come back who’s been so successful and show that kind of passion. His presence here gave us another edge because he’s been through these hard-fought games.

“I know how hard it was for him to watch. He wanted to get out there and knock down shots and play some defense.”

The Flyers did quite well in those departments on their own, scoring 16 points on their first seven possessions to build a 10-point lead and hold on for a 70-59 victory.

Kevin Dillard, named the Blackburn-McCafferty MVP, scored 17 points to pace four players in double figures as the Flyers won for the seventh time in the last 10 games in the rivalry at UD Arena.

A dreary Atlantic 10 season, which had eroded the Flyers’ confidence, became a distant memory, at least for a day.

“At this time of year, you need to feel good about yourself. You need a reason to show up at practice and listen to the coach yell at you,” UD coach Archie Miller said. “The bottom line with this deal is, it’s not easy when you’re going through a season where you grind away, in particular when you’re dealing with some losses and negative momentum.

“I think our team needed a shot in the arm for a change. … We have purpose again. Winning cures a lot of evils.”

Subs Josh Benson (16 points), Derenbecker (10) and Jalen Robinson (nine points and seven rebounds) came up big for the Flyers (14-11, 4-7 A-10).

“I thought we dipped one toe in the pool rather than jump in,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “We gave them a lot of confidence early on. We didn’t get a stop in the first four minutes. We were playing catch up from that point on.

“There’s no shame in losing at Dayton. It’s a hard place to win. But the shame of it is, the first four minutes we weren’t who we needed to be.”

Freshman point guard Semaj Christon had a team-high 17 points for the Musketeers (14-10, 7-4), who are playing for a top-four seed in the A-10 tournament, while the Flyers are just trying to get there.

UD shot 50 percent from the field, made 21-of-24 free throws and battled to a 28-28 standoff in rebounding after getting blitzed on the boards by 18 at Xavier last month.

Ahead by 12 in the first half and by eight at halftime, the Flyers watched their lead dwindle to three after starting 1-for-9 from the field after the break.

But Derenbecker knocked down a 3-pointer in transition, the start of a 9-0 run that made it 51-39 with 9:22 left. UD fans screamed themselves hoarse the rest of the way and relished the chance to watch a game without having to nervously dig their fingernails into the armrests.

“It probably was the first time in a long time we were able to seize control on offense and get a nice cushion to finish the game,” Miller said.

Four of the Flyers’ A-10 losses have been by a combined 11 points.

“Any time you win a game like this, it’s always huge for the team’s morale,” Dillard said. “I felt like we did a good job of staying together through the ups and downs of the game.

“We’ve had adversity, of course. But at the same time, it’s not what happens, it’s how you react to it. For the most part, we’re staying positive. We’ve just got to let this carry us the rest of the season.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Eifert, Ross cleared for start of Bengals training camp
Eifert, Ross cleared for start of Bengals training camp

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie first-round wide receiver John Ross both said they are cleared to participate in the first practice of training camp Friday afternoon. “I knew I was going to be cleared,” said Eifert, who is returning from back surgery. “Even before I saw the doctor, I knew I’d get cleared...
Sports Today: Coaching won’t hold back Ohio State offense this season
Sports Today: Coaching won’t hold back Ohio State offense this season

Maybe the first day of practice isn’t the time to make sweeping statements about a football team, but here’s one anyway: Ohio State’s offense won’t be held back by coaching this year.  New offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said everything Buckeye fans should want to hear about fixing the scoring unit after day one...
Bengals open training camp with questions, like who will be new impact players?
Bengals open training camp with questions, like who will be new impact players?

The Bengals won’t start cracking pads for a couple days, but when training camp opens this afternoon the process of trimming the roster from 90 players to 53 will begin in earnest and competition will officially be on. What position battles interest you the most? From which players are you hoping to see the greatest improvement? SB Nation writer...
Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge cracks tooth during celebration
Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge cracks tooth during celebration

After Brett Gardner cracked a game-winning home run for the New York Yankees on Thursday night, rookie slugger Aaron Judge cracked a tooth. >> Read more trending news Gardner’s home run in the 11th inning gave the Yankees a 6-5 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. As Gardner neared home plate, he took off his helmet and rolled it toward...
Training camp is here, and Carlos Dunlap still feels young at heart
Training camp is here, and Carlos Dunlap still feels young at heart

Strange as it might seem, when the Bengals kickoff training camp this afternoon aside Paul Brown Stadium, Carlos Dunlap will be one of the team’s “old heads” and he can hardly believe that. “I’m only 28 years old and I’m still learning at this age,” he told Bengals.com on Thursday. “If it was anything...
More Stories