Flyers beat Ball State at buzzer on shot by Cunningham

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 8:02 PM

WATCH: Dayton beats Ball State on buzzer-beater by Josh Cunningham

The Anthony Grant era started with a dramatic last-second victory for the Dayton Flyers.

Josh Cunningham’s basket with 0.1 seconds to play beat Ball State 78-77 on Friday at UD Arena. Cunningham led the Flyers with 22 points, none bigger than his last one. Xeyrius Williams threw an in-bounds pass to him with under 2 seconds left. He caught it at the rim and dropped it in for an improbable win.

Dayton blew a 7-point lead in the final minutes but found a way to win. Tayler Persons put Ball State ahead with seconds to play with a layup.

Darrell Davis scored 16 points. John Crosby had 13.


The Flyers opened the season on a 14-0 run against Ball State only to see the Cardinals charge back in the final minutes of the first half. Dayton’s lead stood at 36-33 at halftime.

Here’s a recap of the first half:

Best performance: Xeyrius Williams has eight points and five rebounds for Dayton. He hit his first two 3-point attempts of the season during Dayton’s game-opening run.

Key offensive stat: The Cardinals got off to a slow start from 3-point range but made 5 of 16 in the half. Two of the made 3s were long desperate attempts as the shot clock expired.

FAN PERSPECTIVE: Flyer Faithful on why they love their team

Best play: Josh Cunningham, who has 10 points for the Flyers, had a block at the rim in the opening minutes. That was one reason Ball State didn’t score in the first six minutes.

Foul trouble: Cunningham, Jalen Crutcher and Kostas Antetokounmpo all have two fouls for Dayton.

Turning point: Dayton led 32-19 with 3:45 left. Ball State then went on a 10-0 run.

Opener history: Dayton took a 12-game winning streak in openers into this game. Its last loss came in 2004, 73-66 to Eastern Kentucky.

Series history: Before this game, the Flyers and Cardinals had played six times but only twice since 1958 despite being separated by only 84 miles. The Flyers won five of the first six meetings, winning 80-65 in 2002 and 59-35 in 2010.

RELATED COVERAGE: Five storylines in opener | Archdeacon on Crutcher |  Whitford on Cardinals UD, X, UC, OSU in one event? 

Expectations: Dayton and Ball State each received one vote in the Associated Press top-25 preseason poll. Dayton ranked 162nd in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index. Ball State ranked 115th.

UD ARENA: Seven highlights of the renovations

Dayton ranks 103rd in the rankings. Ball State is 139th. The Flyers had a 70-percent chance of winning, according to the website.

Looking ahead: The Flyers return to action following their opener with three games in South Carolina, home state of freshman guard Jordan Davis, at the Charleston Classic. They play Hofstra at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPNU) and then play or Clemson or Ohio on Friday night. The possible Sunday opponents are: Temple, Auburn, Old Domininion and Indiana State.

Connections: The game featured a reunion of Devin Davis, Dayton’s new director of player development, and Ball State head coach James Whitford, who was an assistant coach at Miami University during his playing days. 

Prep football: ‘Heartbreaking’ loss for Madison in D-V state semifinal

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 10:11 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 4:44 AM

Evan Crim (34), Max Evans (middle) and Levi McMonigle make life difficult for Wheelersburg quarterback Trent Salyers during Friday night’s Division V state semifinal at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Evan Crim (34), Max Evans (middle) and Levi McMonigle make life difficult for Wheelersburg quarterback Trent Salyers during Friday night’s Division V state semifinal at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The finality was brutal for a Madison High School football team that made history this season.

The Mohawks couldn’t close the deal on a trip to the Division V state championship game, completing their first-ever playoff appearance by squandering a 10-0 lead in the last 14 minutes and falling to Wheelersburg 15-10 in a state semifinal Friday night at Chillicothe’s Herrnstein Field.

PHOTOS: Nick Graham’s gallery from the game

“It’s just heartbreaking,” said junior nose guard Max Evans, part of a Madison defense that limited the potent Pirates to 182 total yards. “We made it this far. I didn’t like when people called it a Cinderella story. We knew what we were doing the whole time.

“All good things come to an end, and we played a great team. I don’t think we regret anything. All the guys left everything on the field, and I think we’re all really proud of what we’ve done.”

The Mohawks (11-3) were limited to 122 yards on the ground — they entered the contest averaging 364.5 — as their 10-game winning streak came to an end.

Madison’s Max Evans (38) signals touchdown as quarterback Mason Whiteman fights through the pile for a score during Friday night’s Division V state semifinal against Wheelersburg at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Wheelersburg (14-0) will go after its second state championship next Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, facing Pemberville Eastwood (14-0) at 3 p.m.

“We came up short. I don’t have a snazzy cliche for you … I wish I did,” Madison coach Steve Poff said. “My kids fought hard, and you have to face the fact that we played a really, really good team. That was the best team that we had played all year. I feel like we played them better than anybody else has all year. They’re a class act, from the coach to each one of their players and staff members and fans.

“You’re upset about what happened tonight, but so many good feelings and so many positives came out of this. We came a long way from 1-2. I’m just proud of my kids and the way they respond to things and the effort they put in. There’s worse tragedies in the world than losing a high school football game. We’re going to take our 30 days and get back in the weight room and get better.”

Madison’s Tyler Baumgartner carries the ball as Caleb Bolen blocks for him against Wheelersburg’s Nic Parsley (63) during Friday night’s Division V state semifinal at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Cameron Svarda ran 17 times for 53 yards and Tyler Baumgartner added 32 yards on 10 carries for the Mohawks. Quarterback Mason Whiteman had a 1-yard touchdown run with 0.4 seconds left in the first half to give his team a 7-0 lead at the break.

That TD was set up by a Whiteman interception, and teammate Evan Crim also picked off Pirates quarterback Trent Salyers on the third play of the third quarter. Madison gained possession at the WHS 6, but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Graham Reich.

The Mohawks’ Levi McMonigle recovered his third fumble in the last three games on Wheelersburg’s next possession, but the Pirates kept it a 10-point game when Evan Dahm intercepted a Whiteman pass.

Wheelersburg turned a Madison fumble into a 22-yard field goal by Jalen Miller with 1:50 left in the third stanza, and the Pirates got a 17-yard touchdown pass from Trent Salyers to Justin Salyers just over three minutes later.

Whiteman had boomed a 62-yard punt from deep in his own territory, but a penalty forced Madison to replay the down, and Whiteman couldn’t handle the punt snap and got stopped short on a run for the first down. The Pirates missed the extra point and still trailed 10-9, but they went ahead for good on Xander Carmichael’s 2-yard TD run with 7:09 left.

The Mohawks’ last three possessions ended with a fake punt that failed to produce a first down and two interceptions. Reid Davis threw those picks after Whiteman moved to wide receiver — Whiteman came off the field holding his arm early in the fourth period, and Poff conceded that he was hurt.

“He was, but he’s also dynamic out there catching the ball, so it was a combination of things,” Poff said of inserting Davis at QB. “Mason’s a tough kid. I don’t have the words to tell you what he means to our team.”

Tanner Holden picked off Davis with 1:33 remaining, and Cole Lowery’s interception with 7.5 seconds left sealed the win for Wheelersburg.

Madison players hold their helmets up after their 15-10 loss to Wheelersburg in a Division V state semifinal Friday night at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

“What a way to go out and earn a victory tonight,” Pirates coach Rob Woodward said. “Hats off to Madison. They did an outstanding job of taking away some things we wanted to do.

“We didn’t help ourselves. We dropped some balls, which is uncharacteristic of us. That’s why you have two sides of the ball and you have four quarters to play. Our kids stayed after it and kept fighting.”

Trent Salyers was 11 of 21 for 128 yards for the Pirates. Wheelersburg managed just 54 rushing yards, led by Dominic Reyes (nine carries, 21 yards).

Carmichael, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker and tight end, ran seven times for 20 yards in the second half. The numbers weren’t huge, but they were important to the Pirates’ comeback.

Madison coach Steve Poff speaks to his team after its 15-10 loss to Wheelersburg in a Division V state semifinal Friday night at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

“That’s just a great defensive game right there,” Carmichael said. “We didn’t need to change our defense at halftime because we were doing just fine. It was just bad field position in the first half, and in the second half we finally got the field position we wanted.

“We knew they were a tough, hard-nosed team, so we prepared all week by just grinding and grinding. All we had to do was stop the run.”

And what about his touchdown?

“I’m going straight over people. That’s how I’ve got to get yards,” Carmichael said. “It was an amazing feeling, but there’s other people that contributed to that. It was just the best team thing I’ve had all year.”

Penalties stung the Mohawks all night long. They were flagged 11 times for illegal procedure, and Poff said it had nothing to do with the raucous fans that packed the house.

“That was their defense mimicking our snap count,” Poff said. “Great job by them. If the referees don’t call it, it’s legal. I’m not trying to take one thing away from Wheelersburg. They earned it.”

Madison’s Cameron Svarda tries to get past Wheelersburg’s Evan Dahm during their Division V state semifinal Friday night at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Poff thought he hurt his team with some of the calls he made, especially in the second half. Evans felt Madison relaxed a bit after taking the 10-0 lead.

“We almost thought we had it in the bag or something,” Evans said. “Momentum is a crazy thing, and the penalties really didn’t help us. Things just swung their way in the final two quarters.”

Evans and Cole Pelgen had sacks for the Mohawks. Offensively, Davis was 1 of 4 through the air for 4 yards (on a completion to Whiteman) and Whiteman was 0 of 3.

Poff said he wasn’t surprised by Madison’s postseason run.

Wheelersburg’s Bryson Keeney (10) and Trey Carter (3) are among the defenders trying to bring down Madison’s Cole Pelgen on a run during Friday night’s Division V state semifinal at Herrnstein Field in Chillicothe. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Nick Graham)

“I knew the sky was the limit,” he said. “I thought that we would dictate how we went with our play and our physicality and our attitude and our effort. Really, the kids probably played good enough to win tonight. The responsibility falls on me to lead guys through that, and I came up short. I feel terrible about it. I’m going to work on that and try to get better.”

Wheelersburg has been to the playoffs 29 times, but the Pirates are headed to the state finals for just the second time. They won the Division IV title in 1989.

“I am so psyched,” Woodward said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I got into coaching, and our players have been working towards it. When you believe in something and you work hard for it, good things happen. That’s what I told our kids tonight before we took the field, and they continued to work hard and good things happened.”

Madison 0-7-3-0—10

Wheelersburg 0-0-3-12—15

M: Mason Whiteman 1 run (Graham Reich kick)

M: Reich 28 field goal

W: Jalen Miller 22 field goal

W: Justin Salyers 17 pass from Trent Salyers (Kick failed)

W: Xander Carmichael 2 run (Run failed)

What interim coach Jedd Fisch said after UCLA beat Cal 30-27

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 2:50 AM

If Jedd Fisch was looking for an exciting debut to his career as a college coach, he got it. In UCLA’s first game post-Jim Mora, the Bruins used a game-winning kick from J.J. Molson to seal up a 30-27 win over Cal and attain bowl eligibility.

The game, however, did not come without its setbacks. Quarterback Josh Rosen took a hard hit at the end of the first half and was ruled out for the second half. This left Fisch to turn to Devon Modster, a red shirt freshman who had only started one game in his college career, three weeks prior at Utah.

No matter. Fisch and a hurt offense made it work, giving the interim coach his first win at the helm of the program.


No. 7 Florida Gators basketball rallies to top No. 17 Gonzaga

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 2:33 AM

The Florida men’s basketball team entered its biggest test of the young 2017-18 season against Gonzaga on Friday fresh off another hot shooting performance and a lethal showing from three-point range.

While the Gators’ sharpshooting nature didn’t show up early, Florida found just enough firepower to set up a dramatic finish that felt reminiscent of an NCAA tournament game.

Behind a second-half outburst from Jalen Hudson and a second-straight double-double from Chris Chiozza (25 points, 10 assists), the No. 7 Gators defeated No. 17 Gonzaga 111-105 in double overtime in Portland, Ore., to advance to the finals of their bracket in the Phil Knight Invitational.

In a game that featured 11 ties and 17 lead changes, the Gators (5-0) turned to sharpshooting guard Hudson and veteran point guard Chiozza to lead their second-half and overtime rally against Gonzaga (4-1).

Hudson scored 22 of his 35 points in the second half and at one point scored 14 of Florida’s 16 points over a span that lasted just more than six minutes. Chiozza scored 14 of his career-high 26 points during the overtime periods. Hudson added 9 points in overtime.

Hudson’s second-half performance against Gonzaga was eerily similar to his performance last week against New Hampshire. In that game — a 70-63 Florida win — Hudson also scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half and scored 17 of the Gators’ final 22 points to close out the game.

This time, though, he did it against a Gonzaga team that returned three key contributors from its team last season that finished as the national runners-up in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga went into the locker room up 36-29 at halftime after outscoring the Gators 17-6 in the final 7:31 of the frame. Egor Koulechov missed all 7 of his shots in the half and Florida made only 37.9 percent of its shots from the field (11-for 29). Florida missed 12 of its final 14 shots heading into intermission.

The Gators quickly took a one-point lead out of the half by making five of their first seven shots before the game spiraled into a bevy of momentum changes and mini runs on both sides.

After Gonzaga took a 78-76 lead, KeVaughn Allen — who scored 23 points in the win — drove to the basket and made an acrobatic layup between two Gonzaga defenders to tie the game with 23 seconds left. A Bulldogs miss with 2 seconds left sent the game to overtime.

Florida took the lead twice in overtime on big three-point baskets — first by Hudson and later by Chiozza — before Gonzaga came back to tie the game at 91 with 48 seconds left.

A Chiozza three-point play gave Florida a two-point lead with 8 seconds left before Silas Melson tied the game with a second to go. A missed free throw on the and-one attempt from Melson pushed the game to a second OT.

Florida finally closed it out in the second overtime period, with Chiozza and Hudson combining for 12 of the Gators’ 16 points in the final five-minute period to clinch the win.

The Gators’ interior defense struggled throughout the game against Gonzaga’s front court of Jonathan Williams and Killian Tillie, who combined for 56 of Gonzaga’s points and were two of five Bulldogs with double-figure scoring. Tillie fouled out early in the first overtime period.

The Gators close out their time in the PK80 Invite by facing top-ranked Duke on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.

Michigan State-UConn: Recap, score, analysis for PK80 Invitational game (November 24, 2017)

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:20 PM

No. 4 Michigan State (4-1) sprinted past UConn (4-1) in the second half Saturday for a 77-57 win in the PK80 Invitational Victory Bracket semifinals in Portland, Ore.

Point guard Cassius Winston led the way with a career-high 28 points on 12 of 15 shooting, with 23 coming in the second half. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Nick Ward added 11 and 9. Miles Bridges posted 6 points and 8 rebounds in his return from a sprained ankle.

Michigan State will take on North Carolina next in the Victory Bracket championship game at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Michigan State-UConn recap

Michigan State 67, UConn 53 (H2, 4:10): Some sort of switch flipped, and Cassius Winston took over. He hit Tillman on the pick-and-roll, and other than that, he did it all himself. He scored 12 points in just over four minutes, capping off a ridiculous run with a wild over-the-head layup.

Michigan State 47, UConn 40 (H2, 11:46): The Huskies wouldn’t go away. Michigan State did not allow many easy shots in the half-court, but UConn took the chances it got and made them count. As Jalen Adams cooled, Terry Larrier began to heat up.

Michigan State 43, UConn 33 (H2, 15:50): Michigan State started the half on a tear offensively. Nick Ward sprinted down the court for a layup on one possession, then banked in a hook shot with the foul on the next. Cassius Winston continued to look for his jumper in transition, and Jaren Jackson Jr. pulled down an offensive rebound before going right back up for a ferocious dunk. If not for a defensive lapse, the Spartans could have been leading by 13.

Michigan State 28, UConn 27 (H1, 0:00): At the end of the half, Michigan State held a one-point lead but saw arguably its three best players (Cassius Winston, Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr.) all saddled with a pair of fouls. The Spartans shot just 32.4 percent from the field, but they also held UConn to 29.6 percent. Josh Langford had 7 points to lead the way.

Michigan State 26, UConn 21 (H1, 4:07): Michigan State showed that if it could score consistently, it would win this game. Against UConn’s freewheeling offensive style predicated on a lot of one-on-one action, the Huskies had a tough time finding open shots.

Michigan State 20, UConn 19 (H1, 7:35): Shooting is contagious, and Michigan State finally caught the bug. Josh Langford hit from outside, then Cassius Winston found his jumper in transition, then Jaren Jackson Jr. banked in a long ball.

UConn 10, Michigan State 9 (H1, 11:52): Michigan State couldn’t connection in transition, in the half-court, from the 3-point line or from in the paint. Nothing was falling. The Spartans started 4 of 17 from the field. Fortunately for them, their defense forced UConn into a 4 for 14 start.

Michigan State 6, UConn 5 (H1, 16:00): The story of the first four minutes wasn’t Jaren Jackson Jr.’s put-back dunk or a bunch of missed layups. It was Miles Bridges entering the game, for one, and then immediately being slapped with a foul on a poor call as he reeled in an offensive rebound.

Michigan State 0, UConn 0 (H1, 20:00): On his pregame show, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he expected Miles Bridges to play. The sophomore wouldn’t start, though. The starters for Michigan State: Cassius Winston, Josh Langford, Matt McQuaid, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward.

Michigan State-UConn basketball: Game time, information

Michigan State and UConn play at 9 p.m. PT/12 a.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 24/Saturday, Nov. 25.

Time: 9 p.m. PT/12 a.m. ET

Date: Friday, Nov. 24/Saturday, Nov. 25

Location: Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Ore.

How can I watch the Michigan State-UConn basketball game online?

Michigan State and UConn will be broadcast on ESPN.  WatchESPN will have the live stream. You can also stream the game from your  Android or  iOS device.

Kevin Brown and Sean Farnham will be on the call.

How can I listen to the Michigan State-UConn basketball game on the radio?

Michigan State and UConn can be heard over the 38-affiliate  Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit.

Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga will have the call.

Michigan State-UConn basketball preview

Michigan State won without sophomore star Miles Bridges on Thursday night. He warmed up and looked mobile after suffering a sprained ankle last Sunday, but coach Tom Izzo took no chances. Will he play against UConn? It remains to be seen.

Having him, obviously, would provide a big boost. UConn’s leading scorer, Terry Larrier, is a 6-foot-8 wing who shoots 43.8 percent from beyond the arc. Bridges would match up nicely against him.

Behind Larrier, the Huskies have four other double-digit scorers. All four are guards standing 6-3 or shorter. Cassius Winston, Josh Langford and the Michigan State backcourt will have their hands full.

The Spartans have a clear size advantage and will likely try to use it. They got 13 points from 6-11 freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. and 8 from sophomore big man Nick Ward on Thursday. Look for them to get the ball inside more often against UConn, especially if the Huskies don’t zone up.

UConn hits the glass hard, so the Spartans, who have tended to try to outjump teams instead of getting physical, need to put a body on someone with every shot.

And once the ball is reeled in, Michigan State should push. The Spartans have traditionally been at their best, and were again on Thursday, when they get out on the break and try to score before the defense is set. On such a short layoff, it will be interesting to see if they have the energy to run like they did against DePaul.