Date: Saturday December 8th
Opponent: Dayton Flyers
Location: Auburn Arena
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
To begin, I’m really fired up for this one! After 2 stress free games inside Auburn Arena, business picks back up this evening as Auburn welcomes the Dayton Flyers of the Atlantic 10 Conference to town. The Atlantic 10 has gotten off to a dreadful start this season so this is a huge game for their conference and looks for one of their league’s best to pull the upset. This also marks the first Saturday home game of the season and the first of 4 consecutive Saturday the Tigers will play. Tonight is also the final home game before final exams and the majority of the student body goes home for Christmas break.
Get to Know Dayton...
Former Alabama Head Coach Anthony Grant leads the Flyers into Auburn in the return of a home and home series that begin last year in Dayton, a 73-60 Auburn win. The Flyers have been tested so far in non-conference play and have played several really good teams close. Despite their 5-3 record, they’ve played some really good teams so far this year. Tonight’s matchup is their 3rd Top 25 opponent of the season. They lost by 7 to #4 Virginia, lost by 11 to Oklahoma and last Friday, they fell by 7 to Mississippi State in a game the Flyers led for the majority of the contest. Their best win so far in the young season was over Butler while playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis, in the Bahamas. The Flyers are averaging 72.9 points a game while holding opponents to an average of 64.4 points a game.
The Flyers are led by senior forward #0 Josh Cunningham. The 6’8” Chicago native is averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. He is one of 4 Flyers averaging double figures so far this year. Sophomore guard #10 Jalen Crutcher leads the team minutes in is second in scoring with 13.5 points a game, and leads the team with 5.9 assists a game. He is also the team’s best 3-point shooter at 42.6%. One thing that both players struggle with is free throw shooting as both Cunningham and Crutcher are 52.9% and 57.1% free throw shooters respectively.
The other double figure scorers for Dayton are Freshmen forward #1 Obadiah Toppin averages 12.4 points a game and junior guard #3 Trey Landers averages 10 points a game. Other key contributors are junior forward #33 Ryan Mikesell averaging 9.8 points a game and sophomore guard #4 Jordan Davis averaging 9.5 points a game.
What to Look for from Auburn...
Hopefully for Auburn, they can overcome their worst offensive performance in their last game against UNC Asheville. Despite scoring just 67 on Tuesday, the Tigers are still averaging 86.4 points a game while giving up just 60 points a game. Defense has been a staple on this Auburn team so far, something that was a concern going into the season. I’m looking forward to seeing who Bryce Brown guards, I would imagine it will be Crutcher, and see how Crutcher fares against Auburn’s best defender. Offensively, look for a bounce back game from Bryce Brown, who only had 7 against UNC Asheville, his first game of the year not scoring in double figures. Samir Doughty had his best game since before Maui scoring 13 points, along with 6 rebounds on Tuesday night. Austin Wiley has been coming on the last few games and I have a gut feeling this could be his first 20 point game of the season tonight. This was mentioned on the Orange and True Podcast this past week (Shameless Plug), but Wiley is averaging 29.7 points per 40 minutes, a remarkable statistic.
Also worth noting, this is the final game that Danjel Purifoy has to sit out due to suspension, so it will be interesting to see some of the combinations on the court tonight as Purifoy returns a week from tonight against UAB in Birmingham.
Auburn will be tested in this game which is something this team needs after a lackluster offensive performance against UNC Asheville. It was no secret that the Tigers did not play well offensively and hope to get back on track tonight. I think Dayton will keep this game close, but in the end, I think Wiley and Brown are the biggest difference makers and Auburn gets the victory.
Auburn 81 Dayton 65