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.
Sooners Close Time in Bahamas vs. Dayton
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
• Senior center Jamuni McNeace put together five points, six boards and five blocks. McNeace, who swatted four shots in Wednesday’s game, has totaled nine blocks during his time in Atlantis. The past pair of games mark the first time McNeace has recorded at least four blocks in consecutive games.
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.