You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Most UD, XU players getting first taste of rivalry

Dayton returned only four players who suited up for the team last season, which means the majority of the roster hasn’t been exposed to the passion and intensity of a Xavier game.

But that doesn’t necessarily put the Flyers at a disadvantage. The Musketeers went through such an offseason overhaul that competing in the rivalry we’ll be a new experience for most of their players, too.

Xavier has five new starters after losing Kenny Frease, Tu Holloway and Andre Walker to graduation, encouraging Mark Lyons to find a new locale despite still having a year of eligibility and expelling Dez Wells from school after an alleged sexual assault (no charges were filed).

With no returning player who averaged more than 4.5 points last season, fourth-year coach Chris Mack has had his patience tested. The Musketeers, who have reached the Sweet 16 twice under Mack, haven’t met their usual standards while going 11-8 overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10.

“It’s been a little bit up and down. And I think the inconsistencies you can point to are because we have a lot of guys in different roles. We also have a very, very young backcourt,” Mack said.

“It’s been trying at times and it’s been rewarding at times.”

Both Mack and UD coach Archie Miller downplayed the importance of having veteran players to be able to withstand the pressure of the rivalry.

“Whether you’re a freshman or senior, I’ve been in some rivalry games where some freshmen are naïve and some are oblivious to it,” Miller said. “That’s the beauty of college basketball. Sometimes those guys are surprising, and sometimes your seniors aren’t ready for it.

“But I know this: (Xavier) will be ready. I know our guys will be ready. It’s going to be a very difficult challenge for us.”

Mack is more concerned that his players follow the game plan rather than work themselves into a frenzy for the Flyers.

“All the different variables outside the game — players’ first experiences, the history, all that stuff — that really doesn’t go into a coach’s line of thinking,” he said. “The only thing we worry about is what Dayton runs and how they play and being able to battle their personnel.

“They’re a tremendous rebounding team. Arch does a really good job on the offensive end of spacing the floor. Whenever you have a player like (point guard Kevin) Dillard, who is able to draw so much attention and has a gift of finding open players … it’s a challenge. We recognize that, and we’ll have to be at our best on Wednesday to get the win.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

H.S. Results for 12/10: Miami Valley’s Karras just misses school record
Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB, wins Heisman Trophy
Lamar Jackson, Louisville QB, wins Heisman Trophy
Add Lamar Jackson's name to the Pantheon of college football history. Read more trending stories The former Boynton Beach, Florida, quarterback, who became the hottest athlete in college football with the Louisville Cardinals this season, was named the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner at the award ceremony in New York City Saturday night.
Dayton Flyers looking like shot-blocking machine
Dayton Flyers looking like shot-blocking machine
Why Luke Fickell could be the perfect coach for Cincinnati football
Why Luke Fickell could be the perfect coach for Cincinnati football
Dayton Flyers great Johnny Davis speaks to team
Dayton Flyers great Johnny Davis speaks to team
More Stories