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Dayton Flyers arrive in Indianapolis for NCAA Tournament

Published: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 8:42 PM

Dayton’s Scoochie Smith leaves the bus after the team arrived in Indianapolis on March 15, 2017. David Jablonski/Staff
Dayton’s Scoochie Smith leaves the bus after the team arrived in Indianapolis on March 15, 2017. David Jablonski/Staff

Ben Sander would know better than anyone in the Dayton Flyers program the last time the team took a bus to a road game. The second-year graduate assistant manager from Cincinnati handles all the travel plans. He knows when the team has to leave. He knows when it will return. He plans meals and practice times, you name it.

“I make sure if something goes wrong,” Sander said earlier this season, “I have a plan in place. I want to put our guys in a good situation to have a smooth trip so they can just focus on the game.”

RELATED: Dayton one of 18 teams to play in last four NCAA tournaments

Sander got straight to work in the lobby of the Omni Severin Hotel at 7 p.m. Wednesday after Dayton arrived in Indianapolis in advance of a 7:10 p.m. Friday game against Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. First he had to answer one question.

“When was the last time you bused to a game?” a reporter asked.

“The Duquesne game last season,” Sander said.

That was Jan. 2, 2016. The Flyer didn’t play well that day, making 3 of 25 3-pointers, though they won 66-58.

RELATED: Larry Hansgen and Bucky Bockhorn write letter to Dayton seniors

Coach Archie Miller decided this season to fly to Pittsburgh for the Duquesne game because they had such a short turnaround from the previous game three days earlier at Massachusetts. The Flyers did play well at Duquesne this time, winning 76-57 on Jan. 14. That’s one reason they flew to Pittsburgh last week for the Atlantic 10 tournament.

There was no reason to fly to Indianapolis. It’s as close as UD has played to home since it played at Miami on Dec. 3, 2014. That doesn’t count a secret scrimmage against Marquette in October of this season when the Flyers got a look at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Little did they know they would be back for the biggest game of the season.

WATCH: Dayton makes final preparations for NCAA Tournament on Friday vs. Wichita State.

Dayton is 5-6 all time in Indianapolis. It last played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which used to be called Conseco Fieldhouse, in 2001. The Flyers beat Purdue 83-72. Dayton played one game at the Pacers’ previous home, Market Square Arena, losing 69-66 to Evansville in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament in 1993.

Miller called Indianapolis a great city and was glad the team had an easy trip to the big dance.

“We had a couple good workouts leading into it,” he said after arriving. “We’ll get settled in tonight and really start to dive into some film with the team. Tomorrow will be a jam-packed day with media and all that. But this is the fun part for the team.”

UD TOURNAMENT LEGENDS: Negele Knight in 1990; Roosevelt Chapman in 1984; Mike Sylvester in 1974; Don May in 1967; Hank Finkel in 1966.

The Flyers (24-7) are a No. 7 seed in the South Region. Their preparation for No. 10 seed Wichita State (30-4) began Sunday as soon as the selection show ended.

Work will continue with a 4:25 p.m. practice Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the Indiana Pacers. Former Flyer Brian Roberts played there Wednesday night with the Charlotte Hornets.

Dayton’s practice is open to the public. Fans can attend for free. They won’t see Dayton giving away its game plan. That kind of work takes place away from the court.

“You have to prepare your team to do what you’ve done all year the best you possibly can,” Miller said. “Like we told them the other day, at this time of the year, playing good isn’t good enough. You have to play great.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Dayton vs. Wichita State, 7:10 p.m., WHIO Ch. 7, FM 95.7, AM 1290 WHIO

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New Bengals linebacker gets his old jersey number at surprising cost

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM


            ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.

“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.

But that conversation never happened.

›› Bengals RB Mixon hoping Baker Mayfield doesn’t end up in Cleveland

“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.

Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.

“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.

Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.

“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.

›› Bengals 2018 schedule features a number of franchise firsts

“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”

Cordy Glenn, whom the Bengals obtained in a trade with Buffalo last month, also will wear the same No. 77 he wore with the Bills. That number, worn by Andrew Whitworth from 2008-2016, was not assigned to anyone last year.

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Five-run seventh inning carries Reds to fourth win

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.

» RELATED: Reds hope to ignite offense with lineup change

Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.

“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”

Here’s a quick recap of the game:

Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.

It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.

Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.

» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds

Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.

“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”

Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.

“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”

Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.

Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.

Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.

Quality start: Reds starter Sal Romano (1-2) allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings, lowering his ERA from 5.75 to 4.78. He struck out five and walked one.

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Former Flyers forward Williams picks new school

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Former Dayton Flyers forward Xeyrius Williams will play his final season of college basketball at the University of Akron.

The Wayne High School graduate Williams announced his decision Monday. He will have to sit out the 2018-19 season and will finish his career with the Zips in the 2019-20 season. In posts to Twitter and Instagram, Williams thanked the Dayton fans who watched him play the last three seasons.

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

“You guys have been there through the ups and downs,” Williams wrote. “I also want to thank all the people, managers, coaches and especially my teammates/brothers who I had the opportunity to play alongside. You guys have all influenced my life in a positive way, and I’ll always cherish the brotherhood and the memories we made as a team.”

Williams also visited Kent State, according to his Instagram account.

Williams announced March 13 he was leaving Dayton. He was one of five underclassmen to leave the program. He appeared in 18 games last season, averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds as the Flyers finished 14-17. He had a breakout year as a sophomore, averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.

» RELATED: Josh Cunningham named Dayton’s MVP

The season did not go as planned. Williams started the season in the starting lineup and played 34-plus minutes in each of the first four games, averaging 11.3 points. Then he missed the next five games with a back injury.

Akron was 14-18 last season, the first for head coach John Groce. That ended a streak of 12 straight 20-win seasons. Trotwood-Madison grad Torrey Patton played for Akron last season as a freshman but announced he was transferring earlier this month.

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Dayton adds third member to 2018 recruiting class

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:29 PM

Dayton huddles before a game against Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton huddles before a game against Rhode Island on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

The Dayton Flyers added to their 2018 recruiting class on Monday as Frank Policelli announced his verbal commitment.

Dayton offered Policelli a scholarship in January. He visited Dayton on April 15.  He’s a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island Lutheran High School (N.Y.).

» RELATED: Former Flyer picks new school

“I would like to thank everyone who helped me along this journey since I was a kid,” Policelli wrote on Twitter. “This process was very hard, and there were a lot of ups and downs, but the people closest to me helped me remain humble and focused through it all.”

Policelli joins Dwayne Cohill, a senior at Holy Name High School, and Jhery Matos, a sophomore at Monroe College, in the 2018 class. Dayton now has four scholarships open for the 2018-19 season.

Maryland, Illinois, Texas Tech were among the other schools to offer Policelli scholarships. He’s a three-star recruit who ranks 262nd in the class of 2018, according to 247Sports.com.

Policelli is from New Hartford, N.Y., which is four hours from Long Island. He transferred to Long Island Lutheran for his senior year. He missed the second half of his junior season after undergoing knee surgery. He averaged 28.1 points and over 13 rebounds as a junior.

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

Policelli played AAU basketball with the New York Jayhawks. Dayton freshman Obadiah Toppin also played for that team.

Policelli was one of three players from Long Island Lutheran Dayton is recruiting. In February, it offered scholarships to Tyson Etienne, a 6-foot-1 point guard in the class 2019, and to Andre Curbelo, a 6-0 point guard in the class of 2020.

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