Dayton Flyers: 7 takeaways from three games in three days

Dayton Flyers: 7 takeaways from three games in three days

Sooners complete Battle 4 Atlantis 2-1, win third place game

A number of Dayton Flyers players headed to the beach Friday afternoon after their final game in the Battle 4 Atlantis. They deserved a couple hours of real vacation after playing three games in three days at Imperial Gym against three of the top-50 teams in the country.

Dayton finished 1-2 in the tournament, losing 65-54 to Oklahoma in the third-place game. Considering the quality of the competition, the Flyers might benefit more from this 1-2 finish than many of its 2-1 performances in these tournaments over the years.

• Christian James, Rashard Odomes and Jamuni McNeace form the core group of OU seniors, as all three have spent at least three years in the Sooners’ program. The trio combines for 278 games of collegiate experience and 113 starts. Both James and Odomes have been consistent members of OU’s starting lineup over the past two seasons, while McNeace continued to see his role expanded as the 2017-18 season progressed. James’ 11.9 points per game last season are the most among returning players while McNeace led Sooner returners in rebounds (5.4) and blocked shots (1.4). With a 7-foot-4 wingspan and one of the most athletic builds on the team, McNeace is gearing towards having a breakout senior season as the Sooners’ starting center.

That’s the attitude Dayton coach Anthony Grant had after the final game. His team flew home Saturday with a 4-2 record.

“I like our team,” Grant said. “I think we’re disappointed in not being able to get the win today, but I think overall when you look at the three games we played, the competition we played against, we put ourselves in a position every night to have a chance to win. We’ll try to go back and reflect on the things we can do better as a team and try to reflect on the things we did well and that we need to build on. We’ll certainly take advantage of this experience.”

• Oklahoma also installed significant experience and leadership into its roster through the addition of two graduate transfer guards: Aaron Calixte and Miles Reynolds. An experienced point guard from the University of Maine, Calixte brings career averages of 11.6 points and 3.0 assists. With 1,125 career points to his name, Calixte averaged 16.9 points per game and shot 61-of-158 (.386) from 3-point range in 2017-18. Calixte faces the challenge of filling OU’s point guard role, left open by Trae Young’s top-five selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, but will rely on his own experience at the position along with veteran players surrounding him.

Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Oklahoma Sooners Newsletter Slot to Oklahoma Links The Sooners downed the Dayton Flyers 65-54 Friday afternoon in the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis third place game at Imperial Arena in Paradise Island, Bahamas. They finished the three-game tournament 2-1, with victories in the first and third contests, but a loss in between.

In this one, guard Christian James once again eclipsed the 20-point threshold, dropping in a game-high 21 on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range. Guard Miles Reynolds joined him in double figures with 17 points, most at the free throw line, where he was a near perfect 13-of-14, and center Jamuni McNeace also served as part of the three-headed scoring monster with 16.

• Through the combination of time and targeting experienced transfers in recruiting, the Sooners now boast the most seniors and graduates of any team in the Big 12. With seven more seniors/graduates than 2017-18, Oklahoma owns the largest-known increase of seniors in NCAA Division I this season. The Sooners’ average age on opening night in 2017 was 19.9. On the day of OU’s 2018 season opener (Nov. 9), the Oklahoma roster was an average age of 21.1 and the oldest in the Big 12.

OU raced out to an early 9-0 lead and led by as much as 14 in the first half on Reynolds’ free throw at the 8:57 mark. The Flyers started to crawl back into it from there, drawing within 34-28 at intermission.

Jamuni McNeace has blocked nine shots in the first two games of Battle 4 Atlantis. RECAPPING OUS SEMIFINALS LOSS • Oklahoma (4-1, 0-0 Big 12) suffered its first loss of the season on Thursday, falling to No. 25 Wisconsin (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten), 78-58, on Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals matchup was Oklahoma’s first game against a ranked opponent this season. The Sooners are now 6-10 against ranked non-conference foes during the Kruger era.

A 13-0 run to start the second half, and 15-0 spurt dating back to the waning moments of the opening 20 minutes, saw the Sooners suddenly trailing for the first time. It was 41-34 before they finally countered to even things up at 43 apiece and eventually reclaim the lead on guard Aaron Calixte’s layup with 10:33 remaining.

OU controlled things down the stretch, helped in part by a stretch of more than 10 minutes where Dayton made only one field goal attempt. In fact, in the final 16:40, Dayton only hit four shots.

• Friday will be just the second time the two teams have met in the regular season. The schools have squared off once in the postseason NIT (1982) and twice in the NCAA Tournament (1984 and 2015). The lone regular-season meeting between the programs took place in Honolulu, Hawaii, when the Sooners rolled Dayton 151-99 – scoring the sixth-most points in OU history.

With that, the Sooners outshot the Flyers 42 percent to 31.7 percent. As that would indicate, unlike the previous two days, their opponent couldn’t hit from the outside, where the Flyers were only 6-of-24 (25 percent). OU hit the same amount on six fewer attempts.

Friday’s matchup will air on the Sooner Radio Network (KRXO 107.7 FM “The Franchise” in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Tom Dore and Kevin Henry announcing. Jon Sciambi and Dan Dakich will call the action on ESPN2. Fans with proper cable verification can also stream the game on the Watch ESPN App.

Both teams pulled down 38 rebounds. OU won the assist column 15-12, points in the paint 28-26 and had a decisive 23-9 edge in bench points.

The Sooners led for more than 30 minutes, trailing for only 6:51. The game featured only two ties and two lead changes.

OU returns to action when it hosts North Texas at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday at Lloyd Noble Center. The Jimmy V Classic against Notre Dame follows that a week later.


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