- Dave Jablonski Staff Writer
Josh Cunningham can’t get away from his big shot, not that he wants to. He will hear about it for a long time.
“On my own, I’ve probably watched it once or twice,” Cunningham said Monday, “but after a while, I kept getting mentioned (on social media) and people kept showing it to me, so I’ve seen it a lot.”
CHARLESTON CLASSIC: A look at tournament field
The Dayton Flyers beat Ball State 78-77 in the season opener Friday thanks to the pass from Xeyrius Williams to Cunningham and his basket with 0.1 seconds to play at UD Arena.
Cunningham scored a career-high 22 points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds and was named Atlantic 10 Conference Co-Player of the Week on Monday. He shared the honor with Davidson’s Jon Axel Gudmendsson.
Cunningham scored 10 of Dayton’s last 17 points. His previous career high was 17 points, which he recorded during his freshman season at Bradley. His scoring high last season was 13.
The Flyers practiced Monday — Matej Svoboda, who missed the opener with an illness, was healthy and back to work — and will fly to Charleston, S.C., after practice on Tuesday. They play Hofstra in the Charleston Classic at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
With three games in four days, the Flyers won’t have time to reflect on the joy of the season opener, but it meant a lot to Anthony Grant, who won his debut as UD coach. Assistant coach James Kane grabbed Grant in a bear hug after Cunningham’s shot.
“There was a lot of excitement,” Grant said. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s the beauty of sports. You go to a theater, and you can probably figure out the ending of a play or a movie, but in sports, there’s the drama and thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. We’re thankful we got to experience the thrill of victory.”