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UD notes: Price playing through knee pain

Khari Price jammed a finger while catching a pass in the second half, grimaced in pain and then still hit a 3-pointer. He hit 4-of-5 3-pointers, efficiently scoring 16 points in 20 minutes in Dayton’s 96-84 victory Thursday over Iona at UD Arena.

Price has been dealing with a bigger issue than jammed fingers: tendinitis in both knees. When he wasn’t in the game in the second half, he sat on the bench with his knees wrapped in a heating pad.

“If I come out and get cold, it’s so hard to warm back up,” the sophomore point guard said.

Price said the pain has been with him since the first game of the season.

“It’s something that bothers me all the time,” Price said. “It’s just something I’ve got to play through.”

Price agreed he’s lucky Dayton has such a deep team. Backup point guard Scoochie Smith also played 20 minutes and had nine points, three assists and no turnovers.

Price averages 22.5 minutes per game. He played 26 or more minutes in four of the first five games and hasn’t played more than 23 since.

Miller said Price won’t practice much before Sunday’s game. He struggles during busy weeks like this with two games in four days.

“He’s going to be day-to-day all season long,” Miller said. “He sucks it up. He’ll be in the ice bath for about an hour (after the game).”

Playing time: Jalen Robinson started his second straight game, along with the normal starters: Price, Dyshawn Pierre, Devin Oliver and Jordan Sibert.

Alex Gavrilovic entered the game for the first time midway through the second half and had two dunks in limited action. Matt Kavanaugh, a starter until two games ago, didn’t enter the game until the final three minutes.

Sanford impresses: Vee Sanford continues to give Dayton a huge edge in points scored off the bench. He had 17 points Thursday, and the Flyers non-starters outscored Iona’s 38-10.

Sanford started all 31 games last season and started the first two this season. He hasn’t complained, Miller said, about coming off the bench.

“He’s playing career-best basketball right now,” Miller said. “His humility, his unselfishness, that right there sets the tone for other guys to get better. Other guys get more minutes because of his sacrifice.”

Looking ahead: The Flyers host Southern California at 2 p.m. Sunday. Dayton lost 63-61 in overtime to the Trojans last season in Los Angeles. This is the second ever meeting between the programs.

USC (7-3) took a three-game winning streak — victories over Xavier, Boston College and Cal State Bakersfield — into a game Thursday night at Long Beach State. Before Thursday’s games, USC sat at 58th in the RPI, and Dayton was 35th.

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