After a long offseason, Dayton opens up its season against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday at UD Arena.
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The game (7 p.m. ET start time) will be televised on Spectrum News 1 in local markets, but if you don’t have that channel, anyone in the US can watch Eastern Illinois vs Dayton live on ESPN+ right here:
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Eastern Illinois vs Dayton Preview
Dayton has been waiting patiently for its season debut, and the Flyers will finally get on the court Tuesday against Eastern Illinois.
Last season’s NCAA tournament being canceled was unfortunate for a variety of reasons for Dayton. The Flyers finished the condensed year 29-2 and a perfect 18-0 in conference play in the Atlantic 10.
But the Flyers will have to replace a lot of production, including Obi Toppin, who went to the New York Knicks in the eighth pick in the NBA Draft.
“The focus is really on us,” said head coach Anthony Grant. “Obviously, we’ve got some veterans, but we’ve got a group of young guys that’ll be getting their first taste of a real game and outside competition. It’s been one of those offseasons. Because of COVID and some other things, we haven’t really been able to do a whole lot in terms of scrimmaging among ourselves, let alone against outside competition.”
Dayton is hoping that First-Team Preseason All-Atlantic 10 pick Jalen Crutcher can help fill the void left by Toppin’s departure. Crutcher is also on the Naismith and NABC national player of the year watch lists coming off a season where he led Dayton in minutes (33.7), assists (4.9) three-pointers (2.4 per game), 3-point field goal percentage (.468, 147-314) and free throw percentage(.869, 86-99), and was second in scoring (15.1)
Eastern Illinois has played two games against tough competition and has held up alright. The Panthers lost to Wisconsin 77-67 and Marquette 75-50. Eastern Illinois has already seen its season affected by COVID-19, having a game against Butler postponed.
“When the testing and everything starts there is a possibility it could be difficult to get all your games in,” Eastern Illinois head coach Jay Spoonhour said. “My gosh even half of them if you start to think about all the things that have to fall right.”
The game against Eastern Illinois is actually a replacement game for Dayton, which has already had matchups against Alcorn State and Bellarmine University being canceled due to positive tests.
Dayton is a 15.5-point favorite in their opener, with the total set at 142 points.
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