Archie Miller: Dayton Flyers’ trip to Spain one of the best

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Archie Miller called the 10-day trip to Spain a home run.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Dayton Flyers returned to Ohio at 8:20 p.m. Sunday after 16 hours of traveling. They flew from Barcelona to Atlanta to Columbus. Even coaches, trainers and players used to traveling all winter had to summon their last bits of energy to wheel their bags to the bus for the final leg of the trip to Dayton.

All in all, Dayton’s 10-day trip to Spain was a big success in many ways. UD played two games against teams of Spanish professionals, losing 64-58 on Monday in Madrid and winning 83-73 on Friday in Barcelona.

“The two games were difficult games for us just in general,” Dayton coach Archie Miller said. “We were playing against older teams. We were playing with FIBA rules. We were playing against FIBA referees, and quite frankly we only practiced seven times before we went over there.

“I thought some guys did some good things in one game and then didn’t play as well in the other, and I thought some guys responded from the first game to the second game and did some good things. We were able to play two really hard games where we had to play hard and think and talk and do a lot of different things. Looking back on it as we approach the fall, we’ll have a better feel for what guys can do in situations.”

Sophomore forward Josh Cunningham, who hadn’t played a game since the final game of his freshman season at Bradley in March 2015, led the Flyers with double-doubles in both games. He had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first game and 19 points and 10 rebounds in the second.

Cunningham sat on the bench with his UD teammates but couldn’t practice with them last season because of knee and shoulder surgeries.

“I’m happy for Josh,” Miller said. “He had some time off with his injuries. He worked very hard in rehab. If anything, it should give him some peace of mind. He worked very hard to get back and shake off the rust. He’s a physical presence for us.”

Miller expects the two performances to give Cunningham confidence in the 2016-17 season. For Cunningham, the important thing was playing in a real game with his teammates for the first time.

“It felt great just to be on the court,” Cunningham said. “I really feel like the trips and the games brought us together, brought us closer. We really got a chance to learn about each other, about our strengths and weaknesses. It just made our bond tighter.”

Off the court, the Flyers had plenty of fun, visiting the historic city of Segovia near Madrid, enjoying a day at the beach in Barcelona and going on a Segway tour on the final day of the trip.

“Everything I thought Spain was going to be, it was,” Miller said. “We were in two tremendous cities. Guys did a great job taking it all in. From my perspective, looking back on the trip, even though it’s so fast and you jam a lot into it, you’ll remember it for a long time. It’s one of the best trips I’ve been on.”

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