Basketball is officially fun again for the Flyers and Buckeyes — at least for another few days.
Dayton and Ohio State both got back into the winning column last night, games that had very different importances.
Obviously, the Flyers needed to win in order to keep hope alive for a winning season. The odds might still be against it, but long odds are better than none.
Beyond that, one had to be excited to see extended playing time for Kostas Antetokounmpo.
The redshirt freshman scored 12 points and blocked three shots in 19 minutes for the Flyers, showing again his tantalizing potential but also how raw he remains.
That Anthony Grant felt Antetokounmpo had earned an opportunity to play and the young fella took such advantage is a double-win at a time we are admittedly grasping for positives.
“I thought in the first half and especially the second half, his intensity offensively attacking the basket, playing through contact, finishing through contact and getting to the free-throw line and then defensively being a force guarding on the perimeter, being a deterrent on the inside and affecting shots, it was great to see.”
Naturally, this came the same day I wrote about concerns about how playing time (or lack thereof) could affect the future for better or for worse.
Meanwhile, Trey Landers continued to show he’s more than a glue guy.
The Wayne graduate stuffed the stat sheet (13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals) and added a highlight-reel dunk.
Two weeks ago, I said the win over Duquesne was Dayton at its best. This was probably the opposite as Josh Cunningham and Darrell Davis never got untracked and freshmen Jalen Crutcher and Jordan Davis had off shooting nights, but the Flyers won anyway.
That took some grit, something that has not always been there…
Ohio State sent its seniors out on a winning note and clinched at least third place in the Big Ten standings by crushing Rutgers.
The Buckeyes could still get a share of the conference title if they beat Archie Miller’s Hoosiers in Indiana on Friday night and Michigan State loses at Wisconsin on Sunday.
I’m not too convinced either of those things will happen, but that’s why they play the games!
The Badgers are having their worst season in a while, but they knocked off Purdue on Feb. 15. The Boilermakers are also still in the mix, though they have two more games to win and likely won’t have Middletown native Vincent Edwards, who is questionable for the rest of the regular season with an ankle injury.
Back to Ohio State: C.J. Jackson, who probably holds the key to a successful March for the Buckeyes, had 18 points and made 8 of 12 shots.
Also vital will be getting Keita Bates-Diop going again. Whether he is worn down or just getting more attention from defenses, the junior standout has had a rough go of it lately. On the bright side: He’ll have plenty of time between the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament to rest up if that’s an issue.
Regardless, it was nice for this team to get one more happy moment in front of the home fans and snap that two-game losing streak…
The biggest news to come out of Reds spring training yesterday was Barry Larkin saying he would be interested in managing — but only for his hometown team.
That would have been an eye-opener in and of itself, but he also mentioned some of the youngsters he’s helped develop since returning to the club three years ago have told him they would like to play for him.
I’m not sure Bryan Price is going to be thrilled to hear that, but I guess that’s life in the big city.
Since they announced last year Price would be back as manager, I thought it was both sensible and tenuous.
He hasn’t had much to work with, but there will be a temptation to turn it over to someone with a more successful track record or some sort of special quality.
Larkin, who has managed the Brazilian national team in recent years, would fall into the latter category.
He’s been thought of as manager material since his playing days, when he was a team captain and took the initiative to learn Spanish so he could better communicate with all of his teammates.