Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant will be back in his home state of Florida for Thanksgiving. But he isn’t there for the feast.
And even though the Flyers (1-3) will be in Kissimmee, near Orlando and Disney World, they aren’t there for the attractions.
Dayton will have its hands full Thursday in a noon game against the Miami Hurricanes (3-1) on a neutral-site floor at the ESPN Events Invitational, as the Flyers try to respond to a rough start to the season. They are mired in a three-game losing streak, falling to Massachusetts-Lowell, Lipscomb and Austin Peay — and all three of those losses came at home.
“This team is full of potential,” said Grant, a Miami native. “But potential can be a dirty word because it means you haven’t done it.
“At some point, you have to change from a bunch of guys who have potential to being guys who understand what it takes to win in college basketball.”
Dayton’s statistical leader is 6-8 forward Toumani Camara, a transfer who played his first two years at Georgia. He is the only Dayton player scoring in double figures (11.0 points a game), and leads the team in rebounds, too (7.3).
Guard Elijah Weaver, who is in his second season at Dayton after playing two years at Southern Cal, is the team’s second-leading scorer (9.3).
The rest of the Flyers are in their first or second year of college basketball.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are off to a good start, although the schedule has been soft relative to what they will see in the ACC.
Last week, the Canes beat needed a last-second layup by Isaiah Wong to beat Florida Atlantic, 68-66, and then responded by handling Florida A&M, 86-59. Their only loss was by six points to Central Florida.
Against FAMU on Sunday, Miami point guard Charlie Moore scored a season-high 20 points.
“I like that Charlie took control of our team early,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “He really quarterbacked us.”
Miami is a perimeter-based team as Kameron McGusty leads the Canes in scoring (19.0) and rebounds (6.3). Wong is second in scoring (16.0). Moore is averaging 11.3 points and leads Miami in assists (3.0) and steals (1.8).
Reserve forward Anthony Walker leads Miami’s frontcourt scorers with 10.3 points while averaging 21.5 minutes.
Only Wong, who is shooting 53.2 percent, is above 47 percent among Miami’s top four scorers. As a team, Miami is shooting just 28.8 percent on 3-pointers while its opponents are making 32.5 percent. Miami also has been vulnerable on the boards.
Yet, Miami has thrived by getting to the foul line and converting on 74.2 percent. On average, the Canes are making eight more free throws per game than their opponents … and their average margin is 8.2 points.
The Hurricanes are much more experienced than Dayton. Of Miami’s top six players in minutes played this season, all of them are in at least their third year of college basketball, and two — McGusty and Moore — are in their sixth year.
–Field Level Media
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