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Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 @ 12:03 AM
By: David Jablonski
LAHAINA, Hawaii — The Dayton Flyers started warming up in a mostly empty Lahaina Civic Center on Monday morning. Fans were lined up outside, waiting to get in for the first game of the Maui Invitational.
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Dayton returned to the locker room and then came back out. Only at that point did the players see how many people had traveled 4,000-plus miles to watch them play.
“This is incredible,” said center Jordy Tshimanga, who made his Dayton debut in the 80-61 victory against Georgia. “It was so crazy to me. We came out of the tunnel, and they were all there. Is that all for us?”
The announced attendance for the first game was 2,400, and most of the fans were there for the Flyers, who improved to 10-2 in the tournament.
“It's a great gym to play in,” said Dayton forward Obi Toppin, who scored 25 points. “A lot of our fans came out and supported us, filled the whole gym up. I'm sure you all heard them throughout the whole game. It wasn't a big gym like what we're used to playing in every single day, but it's a great gym and we just did what we had to do today.”
Dayton guard Jalen Crutcher, who scored 20 points, said playing in the tournament was “a dream come true. It's a blessing for me because I've been growing up watching this tournament.”
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