It was only an exhibition game against Division III Capital University, coached by former UD player Damon Goodwin, but the UD Flyers took it seriously in front of a full house in UD Arena to post an 80-42 victory.
DAYTON — If you thought Capital Punishment was abolished in Ohio, then you needed to be seated in UD Arena with 13,407 other witnesses Saturday night.
Capital University’s basketball team rode a bus 70 miles from Columbus to accept punishment from the University of Dayton Flyers in an exhibition game.
The outcome was more than expected, it was a foregone conclusion: Dayton 80, Capital 42.
After all, the Division I Flyers are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Capital is a Division III school that gives no athletic scholarships.
Recruiting? Dayton’s is world-wide — Toumani Camara (Belgium), Kobe Elvis (Canada), Mustapha Amzil (Finland), Richard Amafule (England) and Mike Sharavjamts (Mongolia).
Capital’s roster is filled with kids from just a few miles up I-75 from Dayton — Maria Stein/Marion Local (Alex Eyink), Anna (Griffin Doseck, McKane Finkenbine), Ottoville (Ryan Suever) and Minster (Justin Nixon).
From far away, Capital coach Damon Goodwin, a former UD player and coach at Capital for 28 years (and highly successful in the Ohio Athletic Conference), traveled all the way to Hillsdale, Mich., to bring back Jacob Neukom.
The game was not so much a slugfest as it was a dunkfest, led by 6-foot-10 DaRon Holmes II. He flushed a half-a-dozen and the team dunked at least a baker’s dozen.
In fact, the game began with a pass from Kobe Elvis to Holmes for a slam-it-home. Holmes finished with 15 points on six-for-eight shooting.
Toumani Camara led the Flyers with 16 points on seven-for-11 shooting and he snagged a game-high nine rebounds.
The Flyers quickly stepped out to a 20-7 lead and built it to 41-15 by halftime.
Capital scored one point in the first seven minutes of the second half and fell behind, 54-16.
The statistics are as ugly as the score. UD made 31 of 53 shots (58.5%) to Capital’s 15 for 57 (26.3%) The Flyers were off target from down range with 7 for 21 (33.3%). But Capital was worse at 5 for 31 (16.1%).
They only thing Capital did better than the Flyers was shoot air balls, a whole bunch of them. That, though, is to be expected. Capital plays in a gym and is not used to the dangling target in a vast arena.
The two best moments, the ones that brought the decibels to rock concert level (think Led Zeppelin) were performed by R.J. Blakney and Mongolian Mike.
Everybody calls him Mongolian Mike because his last name, Sharavjants, is not pronounceable by the human tongue.
Of all the dunks, Blakney’s second half thunder could be heard in Pisgah. He started from left of the lane, left his feet near the foul line, and wind-milled with violence aforethought through the rim.
It would have made Obi Toppin proud.
“That was crazy,” said Holmes. “When he takes those two slow steps at first, I always call it out. Any game when he does that, coming off the wing with those two slow steps, it is going to be a dunk.”
Mongolian Mike, a true freshman, started the game, with his parent seated in the stands. One minute into the game he whipped a no-look pass under the basket. It drew oohs and aahs from the crowd but the recipient of the pass missed the layup.
Later in the game, he took his first shot, a three-pointer, and it barely jostled the nets as it went through.
Clearly, he is going to be the People’s Choice.
Asked if he would display more blind passes, he said, Uh. . .I don’t know. I’ll just keep practicing.”
But Holmes interjected with, “He is an incredible passer and is able to do that at an elite level and makes the right play.”
Mike then offered this unusual nugget: “I’m a pass-first guy, not a scorer. I like to pass. I wasn’t nervous making my first start. My parents were here, so I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous for the Red & Blue scrimmage, but not for this one.”
Goodwin knew what his team was going to get because the Flyers are bigger, stronger and faster. But it is a life’s experience for his team to play in front of a huge crowd.
“They are long and they are athletic,” said Goodwin. “I get to watch a lot of ACC basketball because of my son and they (UD) remind of an athletic ACC team.
“They are going to be a tough match-up in their league,” Goodwin added. “They have to be the most athletic in their league. I can’t imagine any A-10 team being as athletic, as lengthy and as deep as UD.”
Holmes left a stunning impression on Goodwin, calling his play under the basket a throwback.
“He is such a positional guy,” he said. “He does such a good job with his back-side. He does such a good job of sealing off and putting guys in bad positions.
“It is almost a lost art, to be honest,” he added. “Post guys like that now are an oddity. He is going to be man among boys in the A-10. That’s an old-fashioned positional post player. You don’t see it in today’s game.”
Goodwin played at UD in the mid-1980s, more than 40 years ago. So does it feel the same walking into UD Arena?
“Yes, a special place,” he said. “I walked in and the guy at the front door said, ‘Hey, Coach Goodwin, great to have you back.’ They have the same ushers they had 40 years ago. The same people. Our kids don’t understand the greatness of basketball at Dayton, so it was great for the to see.”
Not so great, though to feel what the Flyers handed them as a going-away gift and it wasn’t even a consolation prize.