An­other 3-point shoot­ing team awaits Fly­ers to­day

Cop­pin State used shot to score 40.9 per­cent of its points last sea­son.

Dayton Daily News - - SPORTS - By David Jablon­ski Staff Writer

Josh Cun­ning­ham DAY­TON — watched the Day­ton Fly­ers open the sea­son from the bench Wed­nes­day. He wore sweat­pants and a Day­ton hoodie plus bright red high-tops and most no­tice

— ably a black brace on his right wrist and hand.

Day­ton fans who want to know if he’ll play in the sec­ond game against Cop­pin State at 7 p.m. to­day will have to wait and see. All coach An­thony Grant would say af­ter the 78-70 vic­tory against North Florida was that Cun­ning- ham suf­fered the hand in­jury in prac­tice Tues­day and his sta­tus is day to day.

l take it as it comes,” Grant said. “Ob­vi­ously, we missed him, but it was good to see the guys step up and an­swer the bell with­out our only se­nior, our cap­tain, our leader out there with us tonight. I thought Josh did a good job on the bench com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the guys in terms of what was go­ing on on the floor, what he saw. He

was en­gaged even though he wasn’t out there phys­i­cally with them.”

If Day­ton can sur­vive a game against North Florida with­out its top player, it can do the same to­day. Here are five things to know about its sec­ond game:

1. Fa­mous name: Cop­pin State’s sec­ond-year coach is Juan Dixon, the most out­stand­ing player at the 2002 NCAA Fi­nal Four. He led Mary­land to a na­tional cham­pi­onship that sea­son and re­mains the pro­gram’s all-time lead­ing scorer with 2,269 points.

2. Strug­gling pro­gram: Dixon in­her­ited a pro­gram that had suf­fered six straight los­ing sea­sons, and things didn’t get bet­ter in his first sea­son. The Ea­gles fin­ished 5-27. They haven’t hit dou­ble-digit wins since they were 12-20 in 2013-14.

Cop­pin State last had a win­ning record in 2010-11 (16-14) and last made the NCAA Tour­na­ment in 2007-08 when it was 16-21 but won the MEAC tour­na­ment and lost 69-60 to Mount St. Mary’s in the open­ing round at UD Arena.

3. Low ranked: The Ea­gles rank 348th out of 353 Divi­sion I pro­grams in the Ken Pomeroy rat­ings. Last sea­son, they fin­ished 347th. Day­ton hasn’t played an op­po­nent ranked lower than 300 since Dec. 23, 2016, when it played No. 322 Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute at UD Arena.

4. Long range: Like North Florida, which has an of­fense built around the 3-pointer, Cop­pin State shoots of­ten from be­hind the arc. It ranked eighth in the coun­try last sea­son in the per­cent­age of points scored on 3-point­ers with 40.9 per­cent of its of­fense com­ing from 3-point­ers.

In a sea­son-open­ing 85-63 loss at Wis­con­sin on Tues­day, the Ea­gles made 11 of 29 3-point­ers (37.9). Six play­ers made 3-point­ers.

5. First im­pres­sions: Day­ton fresh­man guard Dwayne Co­hill scored five points in his first game but also showed his tal­ent on the de­fen­sive end.

“In re­cruit­ing Dwayne, I felt he could be a guy — be­cause of his ath­leti­cism and abil­ity to not only score but to de­fend — who could walk in the door and have an im­pact for us,” Grant said. “You look at the num­ber of points he scored in high school, but my vi­sion for him wasn’t to come in and be our lead­ing scorer. I thought he could con­trib­ute as a fresh­man be­cause of the va­ri­ety of ways he im­pacts win­ning.”

DAVID JABLON­SKI / STAFF

UD play­ers, hud­dling be­fore the opener against North Florida, take on a Cop­pin State team that ranked eighth in the coun­try last sea­son in the per­cent­age of points scored on 3-point­ers.

DAVID JABLON­SKI / STAFF

Day­ton’s Trey Lan­ders scores two of his 15 points in the opener against North Florida on Wed­nes­day. Lan­ders also tied for the team high with 10 re­bounds.

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