Dayton’s Charles Cooke credited meditation for helping him perform in the game Tuesday at UD Arena as he does in practice. The junior forward, playing his second game for the Flyers after sitting out last season as a transfer from James Madison, scored a game-high 21 points in 29 minutes in a 80-48 victory over Alabama.
Cooke felt anxious. He calmed himself. He listened to his coaches and teammates who told him to be patient and relax.
“I was able to be calm and play my game,” Cooke said.
Cooke hit 6 of 9 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 three-pointers and also made 7 of 7 free throws. He added seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. He improved in every area from his debut Friday against Southeast Missouri State when he scored seven points on 2-of-9 shooting in 21 minutes.
“I just want to thank Jesus Christ for the confidence he gave me today,” Cooke said. “I was pretty nervous. But I came out there and felt good. For the most part, I was just doing everything I do every day.”
Dayton coach Archie Miller saw the Cooke he sees every day in practice. He attacked the rim. He made shots. He made free throws after making 1 of 5 Friday. Cooke’s defensive effort impressed Miller even more.
“My vision of him today was on defense,” Miller said. “I kept watching him on defense, guarding the ball, playing big on the perimeter. His quickness level was really good.”
Freshman progress: Wayne grad Xeyrius Williams led the four true freshmen in minutes played with 18. He had four points, including a baseline slam in the final minutes, and five rebounds.
Ryan Mikesell had three points in 15 minutes one game after leading the Flyers with 21 points. He hit 1 of 2 three-pointers. Sam Miller had seven points and two rebounds in 15 minutes.
Point guard John Crosby played the least of the group. He had two assists in five minutes.
“Being able to develop John is the biggest key to our season,” Miller said. “John has to be in the game for us, and he has struggled in practice as of late. Like a lot of young guys, he’s going to be forced into action. He’s got to be ready.”
Next game: The Flyers host William & Mary at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Tribe upset Miller’s alma mater N.C. State 85-68 in their opener Friday.
“(William & Mary) will be about as scary a team as we play,” Miller said.