Dayton vs. Oklahoma: What you need to know about Battle 4 Atlantis third-place game

Dayton vs. Oklahoma: What you need to know about Battle 4 Atlantis third-place game

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.

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.

• Last season’s Sooner squad was one of the youngest teams in both the Big 12 and the country. With nine freshmen and sophomores and only one senior, Oklahoma was the second least-experienced team in the conference, according to KenPom.com. The analytics website’s formula, based on age and collegiate playing experience, ranked the Sooners 304 out of 351 Division I teams in experience. It will be a different story for Oklahoma this season, as its roster now features eight seniors or graduate students and only one scholarship freshman. Using the same KenPom experience metric, Oklahoma is No. 23 in experience this season and No. 1 among teams from major conferences.

“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.

After suffering its first loss of the season during the semifinals of Battle 4 Atlantis, Oklahoma (4-1, 0-0 Big 12) looks to bounce back and capture third place in the prestigious tournament with a win over Dayton (4-1, 0-0 Atlantic 10). The Flyers reached the third-place game by defeating Butler in the opening round and falling to No. 4 Virginia on Thursday. Oklahoma hopes to get back on track and avoid a second straight loss. The Sooners have never lost consecutive games in November during the Lon Kruger era and have won at least two games in every early-season tournament they have played in the Kruger era.

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.

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.

• Reynolds joins the Sooners after two seasons at Pacific, where he scored 13.3 points a game last season. The guard has experience at both the point guard position and playing off the ball and aims to lend a veteran voice to the court and locker room. In the team’s annual player poll, Reynolds’ teammates voted him the best vocal leader and one of OU’s best leaders by example.

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.

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.

• 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.

• The Sooners and Flyers have met four times previously with Oklahoma owning a 3-1 record all-time in the series. Oklahoma and Dayton most recently faced off in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The Sooners advanced to the Sweet 16 by defeating the Flyers, 72-66, in Columbus, Ohio.

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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