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PREVIEW: What you need to know about Dayton Flyers vs. Georgia State

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 8:34 AM

A fan cheers during a game between Dayton and Tennessee Tech on Dec. 6, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff
A fan cheers during a game between Dayton and Tennessee Tech on Dec. 6, 2017, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Who: Georgia State (7-3) at Dayton (4-5)

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: UD Arena

TV/Radio: Spectrum Sports; AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO

» RELATED: Williams could returnDayton DigestUD focuses on academics

Probable Dayton starters

Darrell Davis, 6-5, Sr., G, 17.7 

Jalen Crutcher, 6-1, Fr., G, 6.2

Trey Landers, 6-5, So., G, 6.6

Josh Cunningham, 6-7, R-Jr., F, 15.4

Kostas Antetokounmpo, 6-10, R-Fr., F, 5.9

Probable Georgia State starters

D’Marcus Simonds, 6-3, So., G, 20.9

Devin Mitchell, 6-4, Jr., G, 10.6

Malik Benlevi, 6-5, Jr., F, 12.8

Jordan Session, 6-8, Sr., F, 5.9

Jeff Thomas, 6-5, Jr., F, 7.8

» RELATED: Don Donoher honored

Series history: This is the first meeting. Dayton is 7-2 against the Sun Belt Conference. Both losses were to Louisiana-Lafayette in the 1970s. Dayton has since won seven straight games against the conference.

Anthony Grant talks about his team fresh off finals.

Coaches: Anthony Grant is 4-5 as Dayton head coach. His career record in 10 seasons is 197-115. Ron Hunter is 130-77 in his seventh season at Georgia State. He’s a Chaminade Julienne graduate who played at Miami University. He coached 13 seasons at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. His career mark at both IUPUI and Georgia State is 351-256. He is the all-time leader in wins at both schools.

Last games: Dayton lost 78-70 at home to Penn on Saturday. Georgia State beat Point University, a NAIA program, 90-70 on Tuesday.

» RELATED: Update on Devin Oliver in Slovenia

About Dayton: KenPom.com gives Dayton a 66 percent chance of winning and predicts a 65-61 score. … Antetokounmpo has 15 blocks, the second most in school history through nine games. Steve McElvene had 19 in his first nine games. … Opponents shot 43.2 percent from 3-point range (32 of 74) in the last three games. … Cunningham set a school record with 22 straight made field goals in the last three games. Sean Finn set the previous mark of 18 in 2002-03. … Dayton ranks 19th in the country in two-point field-goal percentage (57.9), 226th in 3-point percentage (33.5) and 162nd in free-throw percentage (71.1).

About Georgia State: The Panthers finished second in the Sun Belt Conference last season and were picked to finish second in the preseason poll behind Texas-Arlington. Simonds was the conference’s freshman of the year last season. … Georgia State is located in Atlanta. It beat another Atlanta school, Georgia Tech, 65-58 in an exhibition game in November. … Thomas is from Norwalk, Ohio. Jordan Tyson, a junior forward, is from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. He played his first two seasons at St. Bonaventure.

Next game: Dayton plays Saint Mary’s (8-2) at 10 p.m. Tuesday in Moraga, Calif.

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Sports Today: NFL draft day drama gets an early start

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 10:02 AM

Ohio State's Nick Bosa tackles Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State's Nick Bosa tackles Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. David Jablonski/Staff(HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff)

Hey there, how’s your NFL draft day going so far? 

Good, I hope. 

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was dominating the morning news cycle as I sat down to write this, and there were two pretty good reasons: 

First, he totally nailed recreating a classic Brett Favre draft day photo. 

Second, he apparently could be the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Cleveland Browns. 

This is a fascinating development because I like Mayfield a lot, and I think he could be a really good NFL quarterback. 

He’s got that chutzpah that likely will either cause him to soar once he hits the league or crash and burn spectacularly. 

That attitude could be good for a Browns franchise that lacks swagger outside of its live-dog mascot, but taking him No. 1 kind of works against conventional draft wisdom. 

Of course, that might not be a bad thing, especially for a franchise that has drafted so poorly. 

RELATED: Can the Browns go wrong with the No. 1 pick?

Mayfield has the ability to star in the NFL, but he might be the least talented of the top five quarterbacks in this draft, too. 

That’s notable because teams typically use their high first-round picks to maximize raw talent on their roster. 

Then again, there is risk involved in taking any of the five quarterbacks, so maybe getting the guy with the best intangibles makes sense… 

As the Cincinnati Bengals season circled the drain in December, I began hoping Mayfield would be the guy their next coach would want to replace Andy Dalton. 

Of course, they somehow righted the ship late in the season, inexplicably retained Marvin Lewis as head coach and committed to keeping Jon Kitna 2.0 as the starter so all that is out the window. 

I still believe — even with Dalton the definite starter this season — Lamar Jackson would be the best pick they could make at No. 21. That would allow them to develop him slowly until he becomes either Dalton’s replacement or a very valuable backup/trade chip. 

I don’t pay a lot of attention to mock drafts, but I have seen more than one pairing Arkansas center Frank Ragnow with the Bengals at No. 21. 

That would be a very strong pick as far as need and value in that slot… 

Meanwhile, the NBA playoffs continue to provide nightly entertainment.  

LeBron James is still doing everything he can to carry the Cleveland Cavaliers into round two. 

He came up with decisive plays on both ends of the floor in the last 30 seconds last night, blocking* a Victor Oladipo layup then canning the game-winning 3-pointer. 

(*It might have been goal tending, but I am guessing LeBron shoots a 3 at the end either way so I’m not sure it matters.) 

Later in the evening, the Rockets eliminated the Timberwolves and Russell Westbrook scored 45 points to keep the Oklahoma City Thunder alive in their series against Utah. 

The Jazz blew a 25-point lead but still are on top in the series 3-2. 

Right now all four second-round matchups look pretty intriguing, assuming the Raptors and Cavs take care of business… 

College basketball also made news yesterday with the publishing of a report suggesting various reforms the NCAA should institute. 

I wrote about this yesterday from the perspective of how the model of getting from high school to the pros could change

Perhaps I should have gotten more into the things that were left out, but I knew all the writers out there who are smarter and more progressive than I am and thus hate everything about the NCAA would cover compensation and whatnot, so I didn’t feel the need. 

In an interview with The Athletic, committee chair Condoleezza Rice answered concerns about the current compensation model pretty well. 

“What we wanted to say is there is a value proposition at the heart of the collegiate model that is different from the professional model. That value proposition is, you get to play. You get to hone your sport. You get the best coaching. You get nutrition. You get all of those things and most importantly, you get a college degree, which by the way will give you earning potential a million dollars over a non-college graduate over your lifetime; will give you contacts and mentoring that will serve you well the rest of your life; and, oh by the way, you get it for free as opposed to the kid down the hall who’s taking down loans and working 20 hours a week to get what you can get.”

Defending just about any aspect of the status quo on social media is frowned upon, but that is no excuse for letting so many ignore the many good things that come with the current system (despite its flaws). 

If the whole system were nuked and turned into another minor league, I think a lot of people would be disappointed with the result and more athletes (not to mention fans and local economies) would be worse off than would see real benefits, so I applaud Rice for taking this stance and for spelling out those benefits that are often overlooked... 

Continuing to let Brandon Finnegan work through things in the major leagues continues to hurt the Reds. 

Manager Jim Riggleman might have pulled him too soon in a 5-4 loss to the Braves last night, but it’s hard to blame him for having little trust in the hittable lefty. 

After missing almost all of last year because of multiple injuries, Finnegan pitched only 5.1 inning in spring training and hasn’t been very good in any of his starts since the regular season began. 

Otherwise, his presence in the rotation makes complete sense. 

Anyway, now that the offense is putting up enough runs to provide the bullpen with leads to blow, it feels like the season has finally started for the Reds… 

If you’re wondering about starting pitching in Triple-A, Robert Stephenson is 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA in four starts. He has struck out 20 in 21.1 innings, but he has also walked 17. 

Justin Nicolino, a late-spring acquisition, is 1-1 with a 3.0 ERA while Jose Lopez and Jackson Stephens both have ERAs over 5.0… 

Finally here’s a bit of breaking news this morning: Dunbar officials have admitted they messed up in their fight to get back into the boys’ basketball tournament in March. 

All that means is the Wolverines shouldn’t have been allowed to play in a sectional final game they won over Fenwick, fellow-DPS member Thurgood Marshall got a raw deal by not being allowed to play that game and DPS wasted public money fighting the OHSAA in court. 

Oh, and Dunbar is banned from next year’s tournament, too. 

What a disgrace. 

Obviously the players who were involved in the fight that started all this in January bear some blame, but this is another example of adults letting them down. 

How long will that be allowed to continue? 

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5 things to know about the NFL draft

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 11:52 AM

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27:  Members of the military march on stage prior to the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: Members of the military march on stage prior to the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on April 27, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)(Elsa/Getty Images)

The 83rd NFL draft is this week in Arlington, Texas. 

Here is what you need to know before the league’s annual talent grab kicks off: 

1. Round one is Thursday night, and fans will have more viewing options. 

For the first time, the entire draft will be available on broadcast television as Fox will simulcast the NFL Network’s coverage of rounds 1-3 on its broadcast channel. ABC will simulcast ESPN’s coverage of rounds 4-7. 

Along with the traditional broadcast on ESPN, the College GameDay crew will provide a “college-themed viewing option of round one” on ESPN2. 

The second and third rounds are scheduled for Friday night and the rest of the draft will be held Saturday. 

2. Quarterbacks will dominate the storylines even more than usual. 

Josh Allen of Wyoming, Sam Darnold of USC, Josh Rosen of UCLA, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and Lamar Jackson of Louisville are all in the mix to be taken in the first round. 

The last time five quarterbacks were taken in the first round was 1999, when the Browns took Tim Couch out of Kentucky with the No. 1 pick and the Bengals selected Akili Smith out of Oregon two picks later. 

The most QBs taken in one draft is six (1983). 

Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett explains what he has been doing since the NFL Scouting Combine, how his workout in Cincinnati went and more.

3. The Cleveland Browns will pick first for the second year in a row. 

Last year, they went with Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. 

This time they are expected to pick a quarterback, though they could go with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. 

The Browns pick again at No. 4, so they could end up with the PSU star and their quarterback of the future.  

4. The Cincinnati Bengals pick 21st. 

The Bengals traded down from the 12th slot to get offensive lineman Cordy Glenn from the Bills. 

That helped address a glaring need in Cincinnati, and team officials say it makes picking addressing a need and picking the best player available easier rather than having to choose one or the other. 

RELATED: 7-round mock draft

They might go for another offensive tackle, address the overall team speed on defense or perhaps take a center. 

5. Ohio State will be heavily involved again. 

Eleven Buckeyes were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine with Denzel Ward, Billy Price and Sam Hubbard considered the best available prospects

Ward and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer are scheduled to be at the draft. 

If Ward chosen in the first round, Ohio State would become the first school in the common draft era (since 1967) to have five defensive backs selected in the first round over a three-year span. 

One of the potential storylines to watch Saturday: Will anyone take a flier on J.T. Barrett

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Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber loves hitting in Ohio

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 11:01 AM

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 24:  Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with teammates after a win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 24, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cubs defeated the Indians 10-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 24: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with teammates after a win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 24, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cubs defeated the Indians 10-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Kyle Schwarber clubbed two home runs as the Chicago Cubs beat the Indians 10-3 in Cleveland on Tuesday night. 

The Middletown native raised his season batting average to .302, the highest it has been since the first of the month. 

After slumping in the first week fo the season, he seems to have found his stroke, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise he would do major damage in Cleveland. 

After all, Progressive Field is the place he became a World Series hero two years ago when he came back from knee surgery to lead the Cubs to their first championship in 108 years. 

RELATED: Doubtful Cubs win World Series without Kyle Schwarber’s heroics

Last season didn’t go so swimmingly for Schwarber, who hit only .211 in 2017 and spent some time in the minors trying to find his swing. 

He always seems to have a good time hitting against teams from his home state. 

Schwarber is a .500 hitter at Progressive Field and has a .421 batting average overall against the Indians. 

He’s done even more damage against the Reds, who reportedly were set to pick him out of the University of Indiana four years ago if the Cubs hadn’t latched onto him first. 

Schwarber has batted .330 with a 1.018 OPS against the Reds. He has seven homers and 20 RBIs in 25 games against Cincinnati. 

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King James: LeBron’s 3-pointer at the buzzer saves Cavs

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 11:24 PM

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is showered with water by JR Smith #5 while being interviewed after a 98-95 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 25, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is showered with water by JR Smith #5 while being interviewed after a 98-95 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 25, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The game, the series, the season and perhaps Cleveland’s future were in jeopardy.

LeBron James saved everything.

James dropped a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another one of his brilliant performances, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo’s possible go-ahead layup — a play the Pacers felt was goaltending — James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and hit his winner over Thaddeus Young.

As Cleveland’s sellout crowd exploded, James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer’s table to celebrate another of those moments that will define his career.

“He does it at both ends every single night,” Cavs forward Kevin Love said. “That’s why he’s the best player in the world.”

James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.

“He really did impose his will throughout the game,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.

Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland’s much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.

Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.

Domantas Sabonis scored 22 points, and Young had 16 for the Pacers, who battled back to tie it 95-all on Sabonis’ 15-foot jumper with 33 seconds left. Indiana, which held Cleveland without a field goal for more than seven minutes during their fourth-quarter rally, forced James into a turnover and had a chance to re-take the lead.

Oladipo, who shot just 2 of 15, drove the left side and was at the rim when James swooped in for a block on a play reminiscent of his Game 7 block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals.

Oladipo’s felt his shot hit the backboard first, which would make the block illegal.

“I got a step on him and I felt I even got grabbed,” Oladipo said. “It hit the backboard and he blocked it. It was a goaltend. It’s hard to even speak on it. That layup is huge.”

Oladipo’s shooting woes continued. He’s only 12 of 50 from the field in the last three games. He scored 32 in the Pacers’ Game 1 win, but the Cavs have been double-teaming him ever since.

The third quarter has been a major problem for Cleveland all season. The Cavs had tried everything to try and shake things up after halftime, even doing layup lines at the break in Game 4 like a high school squad.

Turns out, all it took was some defensive intensity.

Down by seven at half, the Cavs swarmed the Pacers in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first six minutes and holding Indiana to one field goal over the first 6:52 while opening with a 19-3 run.

Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-17 in the third, when the Pacers shot just 5 for 16 (31 percent) and committed seven turnovers.

“We didn’t do anything new,” said guard Jose Calderon, who started his second game in place of George Hill. “We were just more aggressive.”

UP NEXT

Game 6 is Friday night at Indianapolis.

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