Anthony Grant: Dayton Flyers ‘gave everything they had’ in Maui Invitational championship

Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 @ 8:44 PM

Dayton's postgame press conference after loss to Kansas

Anthony Grant threw his arm around Jalen Crutcher’s neck as they left the court following a 90-84 loss to No. 4 Kansas in the Maui Invitational championship game on Wednesday at the Lahaina Civic Center.

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Crutcher made a game-tying 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. It was a big moment in three action-packed days full of great memories for Dayton and its fans. The Flyers got everything they wanted out of the experience except a happy ending.

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“Right now, I'm very, very proud of our team,” Grant said in the postgame press conference. “Our guys battled in three highly-competitive games in three days. These guys gave everything they had for each other. They battled it out all the way through the end. Obviously, it's a tough loss. But like I told them in the locker room — whatever it was five, six days ago when we came here — we wanted to find out what we needed to do as a team to continue to move forward, and I think these guys did a great job of answering that. They fought obviously to the very end.”

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Dayton made 16 of 33 3-pointers, while Kansas made 4 of 11. The Jayhawks won the game by dominating the paint, outscoring the Flyers 52-22 with 7-foot center Udoka Azubuike scoring 29 points and guard Devon Dotson added 31. Those players combined to make 23 of 31 shots and 13 of 18 free throws.

“You got to give Kansas credit,” Grant said. “Their guys were able to step up and make plays — enough plays to be able to come out with the victory. But these guys battled and hopefully as we move forward we'll learn lessons from this. There will be some things that we'll look at it and it will be tough to watch and some things that we'll learn from.”

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Dayton (5-1) has received one vote in the Associated Press poll all season but could move into the top 25 with the runner-up finish in Maui.

“We wanted to win, but we went out here and we competed for three days straight,” said Dayton forward Ryan Mikesell, who scored 19 points. “We kind of showed people what we can do on more of a national level. I'm really excited about this group. I think we have a lot of talent. Just keep improving as the season goes on, so hopefully we're playing our best basketball at the end of March and hopefully make the tournament, make a good run in the A-10 and go from there.”