Hal McCoy
Hal McCoy

Hal McCoy is a former beat writer for the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), covering the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. He was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." He has won 43 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newsperson elected to the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame. McCoy has been the Cincinnati BBWAA Chapter Chair 22 times and was the BBWAA national president in 1997. He is the third writer from the Dayton Daily News to win the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, joining Si Burick (1982) and Ritter Collett (1991). Residing in Clayton, Ohio, McCoy is an honors graduate in journalism from Kent State University.

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UD showed no mercy to Detroit Mercy, and sent them packing north with a clinic on dunks…in a blowout 40-point win Tuesday at UD Arena.

DAYTON — The front of the University of Detroit Mercy basketball uniforms contain, of course, the word ‘Mercy’ on the jersey fronts.

They needed the ‘Mercy’ letters to be in much bigger font Tuesday night in UD Arena so the University of Dayton Flyers could read it better.

Why? Because the Flyers delivered no mercy to Mercy, pummeling the Titans, 98-59. This was not a game that anybody from Detroit will point to and say, “Remember the Titans?

After the game, the Flyers should have delivered a box of  a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts to the Detroit Mercy locker room.

It was the least they could do after the Flyers dunked a school record 12 times on the Titans, eight bv 6-foot-9 red shirt freshman Obi Toppin.

Toppin’s eight stuffs led him to 22 points on 10 of 13 shooting (how does one miss while looking down on the rim?). The Flyers also received 20 from Josh Cunningham, 16 from Jalen Crutcher, 13 from J0rdan Davis and 10 from Ryan Mikesell.

Just call Toppin Sir Stuff-a-Lot and be done with it. Like the postman in a thunderstorm, there was no stoppin’ Toppin and he delivered the thunder.

Most of his dunks came on lob passes from Trey Landers and Toppin smiled after the game and said, “I owe Trey a steak dinner, at least. Most of my dunks came on lob passes from him.” Landers had five assists, all five on lob passes to Toppin.

Two of Toppin’s dunks came punctually. One ended a 16-0 UD breakout that took the Flyers from a 14-13 lead to a 30-13 lead. Then, with a point of emphasis, Toppin slammed one home at the halftime buzzer to give the Flyers a 49-29 lead at intermission.

Amazingly, the Flyers outscored Mercy 30-0 in the paint in the first half and made 20 of 28 shots.

Believe it…Somehow UD Josh Cunningham squeezed between a pair of defenders to score two of his twenty points.

While Toppin was doing the highlight reel stuff, UD guard Jordan Davis was doing the unnoticed down-and-dirty stuff.

It was his duty to guard a skinny little runt who is 6-foot-1 and doesn’t weigh enough to hold down his end of a teeter-totter.

But that skinny runt, freshman Antoine Davis, came to town as the nation’s No. 2 scorer at nearly 30 points a game. In eight games he had bottomed out 82 field goals, 46 three-pointers, or 5.75 a game. And he was hitting 47 per cent of his threes.

He had scored in the 30s five times, once hitting for 42.

So it was Davis vs. Davis — UD’s Jordan against Antoine, the son of first-year coach Mike Davis, the former Indiana coach who succeeded Bobby Knight.

Davis, with some intermittent help from some of his teammates, held Mercy’s Davis to 18 firmly contested points, achieved on 6 of 23 shooting, 3 of 14 from behind the three-point demarcation.

That’s nothing special for Jordan Davis, a 6-foot-2 sophomore from Irmo, S.C. He is The Silent Silencer. More than five words in a sentence is a commencement speech. But he draws the other team’s top scorer every games and usually wraps them up in a neat package that can’t be opened until after the season.

Examples:

INTERVIEWER: Nice job on defense.

DAVIS: Thank you.

INTERVIEWER: You made that guy work for his 18 points.

DAVIS: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

INTERVIEWER: You must take a lot of pride in your defense.

DAVIS: Yeah. Coming in I knew he was a good scorer. He was second in the country. I just wanted to make it hard for him and be physical with him. Make him take tough shots.

INTERVIEWER: Do y0u take defense as a challenge, do you like playing defense?

DAVIS: Yes, sir. Any time I face a good player, I take it personally. I just focus on locking him down.

UD coach Anthony Grant appreciated the defensive acumen of Davis, as all coaches are hail and hearty about defense.

“Jordan made it really difficult for him,” said Grant. “There was probably only a couple of times he was able to free himself for clean looks. J.D. did a really good job because he did the bulk of the job on him.”

‘T’ time for Tony…UD coach Anthony Grant watches disapprovingly as he’s assessed a technical foul during the second half.

Despite Antoine Jordan’s bad shooting night, forced by Jordan, Grant piled heavy praise on the Mercy Davis.

“For a freshman to come in and be able to do what he has done, with his ability to score the basketball against every defense known is pretty impressive,” said Grant. “He has a great ability to create shot off the bounce. And it is not often you see a guy walk in the door in college basketball who can create his own shots off the dribble, run off screens and free himself to make space for good looks and can score from all three levels — at the rim, at mid-range and at the NBA three distance. That’s a pretty impressive skill set for a freshman walking in the door.”

The only skill set Toppin needed was to catch a basketball above the rim and jam the ball threw the twine without ensnaring his fingers.

“Those are exciting plays and it brings energy to his teammates, to our fans,” said Grant. “Those are great momentum swing plays. And I think Obi would tell you he was the beneficiary of his teammates tonight. They foumd him under the basket.”

Indeed, Toppin’s teammates enjoy the show and they have up front and personal views without paying for seats.

ML Dunn has moved. Check out their new location on West National Road in Englewood.

After he dunked four times in the first half, he was shooting on the outside during warm-up before the second half and Jalen Crutcher told him, “No, go dunk the ball.” And of the dunks, his teammates tell him, “Keep doing it.

“And it is always fun getting the crowd riled up, I like that,” he said. “At home, when you dunk it gets the crowd riled and the other team seems to go into a shell.

While Toppin is soaring above the rim like a bird in flight, opponents get a close-up look at his tattoos. On the right arm is a cross and a dove and a quote from his mother: “Success is no accident.”

On his left arm he has inscribed, “Daniel,” and he said, “That was my little brother who passed away when he was not even a year old. He was a year younger than me.”

An obliging fan helps out with replacement popcorn after Press Pros columnist Hal McCoy’s (left, above) was crushed by UD’s Jalen Crutcher.

Dave Arbogast Buick-GMC is proud to host coverage of the Dayton Flyers on Press Pros Magazine.

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