Flyers anxious to get started with exhibition game Saturday

Dayton held ‘secret scrimmage’ Saturday vs. Northern Kentucky

The Dayton Flyers did scrimmage Northern Kentucky on Saturday. They played at UD Arena. They did keep score.

As for specifics — for example, the question of who won the game — only the coaches and players of both teams know. The result of the “secret scrimmage,” which featured new Dayton coach Anthony Grant facing one of his former assistants, Northern Kentucky coach John Brannen, will remain unknown.

“Did you guys win the scrimmage?” a reporter asked sophomore guard Trey Landers on Tuesday.

“I don’t know,” Landers said. “I don’t know about the score. I didn’t pay attention to that. We were just playing.”

DAYTON TOP 10: Freshman seasonsA-10 wins;conference gamesbest recordsworst recordstop statsbest namesbest players from Detroit

Graduate assistant coach Brett Comer said the Flyers are young and need to fine tune some things with the new staff, but “I thought the way the scrimmage ended — for our situation — it was pretty good for us. We have a lot to be excited about.”

The score didn’t matter as much to Grant as the experience. For the freshmen, it was their first chance to play a game at UD Arena, which has been undergoing renovations since their arrivals on campus early in the summer. Dayton held one practice at the arena Friday before the scrimmage on Saturday.

“The thing I tried to harp on with our guys was our scrimmage was a practice,” Grant said. “Every day in practice, my challenge for my guys is to try to get a little bit better and learn from each other and acclimate everybody on our team to different roles and different positions, just understanding our system both offensively and defensively. We got that opportunity this past weekend. We get another opportunity this weekend as we prepare for the regular season to start.”

There will be nothing secret about the rest of the games the Flyers play in the 2017-18 season. They face Ohio Dominican at 7 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena in their lone exhibition before the season opener against Ball State on Nov. 10.

MORE ON UD: 2018 guard puts Flyers in final four

Fans will get to see the revamped arena and Grant and his new staff on the Dayton bench for the first time. Everyone has waited six months for this moment — the players included.

“I’m very, very anxious,” redshirt junior forward Josh Cunningham said. “We haven’t been able to play any outside competition (except) the scrimmage. We learned a lot from the scrimmage. We’ve just got to play with more pace. If we get that pace, we’ll be fine.”

Cunningham missed a week of practice earlier in October after spraining his wrist. He said he’s fully recovered. He played in the scrimmage, as did redshirt freshman forward Kostas Antetokounmpo. Grant said all 10 scholarship players will be available for the exhibition.

“Finally last week we were able to get everybody back,” Grant said. “We’ve had a little more than a week of practice with our whole team. It’s good to have everyone healthy and ready to go.”


Ohio Dominican at Dayton, 7 p.m., 1290, 95.7

About the Author