Flyers can’t answer Dukes’ final runs in A-10 opener

Published: Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ 3:49 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ 8:50 PM

Dayton basketball coach Anthony Grant addresses a 70-62 loss to Duquesne in a men’s A-10 opener at Pittsburgh on Sat., Dec. 30, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dayton did what coach Anthony Grant feared most in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 conference opener, provide host Duquesne a rallying point.

That and game-deciding runs to end both halves enabled the Dukes to post a 70-62 defeat of the Flyers at historic A.J. Polumbo Center.

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Kostas Antetokounmpo, the developing 6-foot-10 redshirt-freshman, slammed home a rebound with time running out in the first half. The dunk narrowly missed Duquesne’s 6-9 center Chas Brown. The two barely cleared the key area on the return possession when they squared off.

Coaches and players went on the floor. No blows were taken, but Kostas and Brown were assessed technical fouls. Duquesne converted both technical free throws and Dayton’s Trey Landers missed both. Advantage, and rebooted crowd enthusiasm, to the Dukes.

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“Obviously, when you’re on the road, you don’t want to give the other team any momentum or rallying point and that seemed to do that for their team,” said Grant.

What hurt Dayton’s chances even more were being outscored 13-4 to close the first half. Duquesne trumped that with a game-ending 10-1 run.

“Give Duquesne credit,” Grant said. “They were able to make plays. In the first half, obviously we were able to build a little bit of a lead but didn’t finish the way we needed to.”

Senior Darrell Davis led Dayton (6-7) with 19 points on 8 for 19 shooting. No surprise in that; he’s the Flyers’ leading scorer. Josh Cunningham added 14 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block in another standout performance.

»RELATED: Dayton at Duquesne photo gallery

Jordan Davis added eight points and Jalen Crutcher and Landers each added seven points. UD was without junior guard John Crosby, which seemed to disrupt the Flyers after initial offensive success. He was injured during practice on Thursday and is undergoing concussion protocol despite not having been diagnosed with a concussion.

Crutcher’s two free throws with 4:46 left finally regained the lead for Dayton, 61-60. But little else went right offensively for the Flyers after that and the Dukes closed with a rare defeat of UD.

“We have to try and win the small things,” first-year Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “We’re not going to win the big things. We made enough plays when it mattered to win. They believed in themselves for a team that’s been relatively fragile.”

Ren Castro-Caneddy led Duquesne (10-4) with 21 points and five assists. Eric Williams Jr. added 15 points and seven rebounds and Mike Lewis II added 12 points.

• Dambrot ended a long and successful run at Akron to rekindle Duquesne’s program. The Dukes had five junior college players on the bench who won’t become eligible until next season. They’ll join five incoming freshman who have signed for what athletic director Dave Harper labeled the best Dukes’ recruiting class in a while.

A Bellbrook native and Alter High School grad, Harper was UD’s vice president for advancement until taking over at Duquesne in 2015. He’s spearheading an extensive $50 million makeover for the Palumbo Center that should be complete in three-four years.

He played football at Alter for Ed Domsitz and basketball for Joe Petrocelli.

»FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton


St. Bonaventure at Dayton, 8:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network, AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO

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Trotwood-Madison loses to Akron SVSM in D-II boys state final

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:18 PM

            Myles Belyeu led Trowood with 20 points. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Myles Belyeu led Trowood with 20 points. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Trotwood-Madison’s bid for an elusive boys state basketball championship was undone by nemesis Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 60-51 at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Saturday night.

It was the second straight Division II title for the Irish, who also defeated the Rams in last year’s D-II state semifinals. It was a record eighth state title for Akron SVSM, the program that LeBron James elevated during his celebrated run with the Irish. That snapped a tie with Middletown.

Trotwood (26-4) had a 19-game win streak snapped. Akron SVSM (21-8) also defeated Trotwood early in the regular season.

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Anthony Muñoz on sports in Ohio: ‘It’s special’

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:05 PM

Cincinnati Bengals great Anthony Munoz learned right away how important sports are in Southwest Ohio and throughout the state.

Anthony Muñoz was a special player for the Cincinnati Bengals for 13 seasons. 

In Columbus at the boys’ basketball state championships to be recognized as part of the OHSAA Circle of Champions, the California native explained the special place sports have in Ohio helped convince him to stick around long after his pro football career was over. 

His daughter, Michelle, and son, Michael, also were recognized as part of the Circle of Champions along with former Ohio State basketball star Dennis Hopson, Ohio State football standout William White and Dwight “Bo” Lamar, who played in the ABA and NBA. 

Michelle Muñoz was part of a state championship season for the Mason girls’ basketball team while Michael was a highly-regarded offensive line prospect at Moeller High School. 

They both went to Tennessee for college, though Michelle finished her career at Ohio State.

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Flyers’ Mescher on state title: “We got a little help from upstairs”

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 4:07 PM

Marion Local senior Tyler Mescher hit the game-winning free throws in a 52-51 defeat of Willoughby Cornerstone Christian to win a boys high school basketball D-IV state championship at OSU’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus on Sat., March 24, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

His knees knocking, Tyler Mescher of Marion Local heeded a little help from teammate Tyler Prenger.

“He said calm down, you got this and relax,” recalled Mescher. “Easy shots.”

Not quite. Mescher’s pair of rim-rattling free throws with 2.6 seconds left in the second overtime was the difference as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 to win a boys high school Division IV state basketball championship on Saturday afternoon.

»RELATED: Marion Local after basketball title, too

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It was one of four season-ending divisional championships that were held at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

It also completed a rare state-title double for Marion Local (25-4), which also won a D-VI state football championship last December.

»RELATED: Marion Local state semifinal photo gallery

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No one came up more clutch than Mescher for the Flyers. Trailing by one in the second OT, his first free throw clanged several times on the rim and backboard before circling and falling through the net.

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The second rim-rattler wasn’t as dramatic, but almost.

“We got a little help from upstairs,” said Mescher, a robust senior who doubled as a blocking tight end and defensive end on the football team.

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“I couldn’t stay still at all. It’s a dream come true to be able to shoot those free throws. Any little kid, that’s their dream, to be able to shoot two free throws at the end of a state championship game and make them both.”

Cornerstone (21-8) missed a half-court heave and the Flyers’ fans - among the 9,620 in attendance - rocked the Schott in celebration.

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Mescher’s bucket with about 10 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

“There aren’t many 6-1, 240-pound guys on our schedule,” Cornerstone coach Dan Selle said of Mescher. “He’s not a vegetarian. He eats meat for breakfast. He’s tough as nails and a lot of respect to him. He’s a guy you hate to fight against but you want to have on your team.”

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Mescher and Nate Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers. Mescher also had nine rebounds.

Bruns, a 6-6 wing who doubles as the Flyers quarterback, added 14 rebounds. It was Bruns’ 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds left that knotted the teams even and forced the second OT. He had several late key field goals, free throws and rebounds for the Flyers.

“We had to go to our money man late in the game,” Flyers coach Kurt Goettemoeller said of Bruns. “He’s a stud.”

»RELATED: Boys regional results

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Prenger added three 3-pointers and 10 points.

Cornerstone, anchored in Lake County and a Cleveland suburb, is an independent that mostly played high-level Division I and II teams, which made its record deceiving. The Patriots also had the D-IV state player of the year in Michael Bothwell. The Furman signee tallied a game-high 23 points.

“State-wide, I definitely had the feeling we were an underdog,” Goettemoeller said. “We figured it out at the end. We just found a way a get it done.”

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»RELATED: Girls state final four results

Is was the third boys state basketball title for Marion Local, which also won in 2003 and 1975. The Flyers were a state runner-up in 2004.

Cornerstone won a D-IV state title in 2016 in its only other final four appearance.

Of the Flyers’ 12 players, 10 also played on the state-title football team.

“This senior class, that really shows what they’re made of,” Bruns said. “To be able to do that in both (sports), that’s something special for them.”

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Mescher hits winning free throws as Marion Local wins state title

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 12:58 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

WATCH: Marion Local wins state title on late free throws

Tyler Mescher converted two free throws with with 2.6 seconds left as Marion Local stunned Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 52-51 in double-overtime to win a boys high school basketball Division IV state championship on Saturday.

That matched Marion Local’s D-VI football state title it won last fall, making the Flyers a rare double state winner in the same school year.

A senior, Mescher’s first free throw rattled all around the rim before falling. His second also clanged in. Cornerstone inbounded and missed a half-court heave as time expired. Marion Local players and their fans erupted in celebration.

Mescher and Nathan Bruns each had 18 points to lead the Flyers (25-4). Bruns also had 14 rebounds. Tyler Prenger added 10 points.

Cornerstone (21-8) was led by D-IV state player of the year Michael Bothwell with 23 points.

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