Dayton earns date with No. 4 Kansas
After a two-handed power flush, and a timeout from Virginia Tech to delay further damage, Obi Toppin spread his arms out wide and “flew” down the court, banking lazily back toward his bench.
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LAHAINA >> After a two-handed power flush, and a timeout from Virginia Tech to delay further damage, Obi Toppin spread his arms out wide and “flew” down the court, banking lazily back toward his bench.
The Dayton Flyers soared into today’s championship game with an 89-62 stuffing of the Hokies on Tuesday. The high Flyers compiled 10 dunks among their 33 baskets. Four were by Toppin, the explosive sophomore who scored 24 points on 10-for-14 shooting.
Through two days of competition in the Lahaina Civic Center, it’s the Atlantic 10 team that has looked the most impressive.
The vocal flyers fans chanted “Obi! Obi!” With a minute left, the chants were, “We want Kansas!”
Their wish was granted after the Jayhawks beat BYU 71-56 in Tuesday’s nightcap. If Dayton pulls off the upset of No. 4 KU at noon today, it will be the Flyers’ second Maui title in four appearances.
“Obi Wan Cramnobi” enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the vocal Flyers fans. He waved them on for more support, and they were more than happy to oblige on his power finishes.
“Our fans were getting hyper while all of us were telling them to get loud,” said Toppin, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound sophomore who is shooting 72.3 percent this year even as he takes 3-pointers when they present themselves.
He was second in the country as a freshman with 83 dunks. He appears well on his way to eclipsing that.
Dayton, under former Flyer Anthony Grant, has not been shy about its aggressively athletic interior identity. His team is shooting 55.9 percent for the season.
“Down the stretch of the game our guys understood where we had an advantage and we really honed in on that,” Grant said. “For us, I think it’s just understanding who we are, identity-wise, and trying to stick to that identity.”
Or, as Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said in a very brief presser, “They took us behind the shed and whipped our hind end.”
The Flyers won the 2003 Maui Invitational with an 82-72 defeat of Hawaii.
Kansas looks to extend streak
The Jayhawks will be going for their sixth straight title of an in-season tournament, a streak that began in 2014 and included their 70-63 win over Vanderbilt in the Maui final in 2015.
KU shot 53.1 percent in the second half, pulling away from BYU on Tuesday in what was a two-point game at halftime.
Chaminade locked down
After losing 74-48 to UCLA in the consolation semifinals, Chaminade has one more chance to notch its ninth all-time win in its signature event before it is rotated back out of the Maui field for 2020.
The Silverswords trailed by six at halftime and a 6-0 run to start the second tied it at 22.
MAUI JIM MAUI INVITATIONAL
Today at Lahaina Civic Center
Seventh place: Georgia (4-2) vs. Chaminade (2-2), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Fifth place: No. 3 Michigan State (4-2) vs. UCLA (5-2), 9:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Third place: Virginia Tech (6-1) vs. BYU (4-3), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Championship: Dayton (5-0) vs. No. 4 Kansas (5-1), noon (ESPN)