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 52 Ohio and national writing awards and was the first non-Cincinnati newsperson elected to the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame and the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame. He has a stone on Dayton's Walk of Fame and the press box at Dayton's Howell Field is named the Hal McCoy Press Box. 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 Englewood, Ohio, McCoy is an honors graduate in journalism from Kent State University.


Eleven different UD Flyers scored points Wednesday night, including two non-scholarship players, and the Second Unit provided a first-half spark that enabled the Flyers to romp and roll to a 75-54 victory in UD Arena that handed Duquesne its eighth straight loss as the UD lifted its Atlantic 10 record to 8-3.

DAYTON — There is a proverb: “All good things come to those who wait.”

The wait was not long Wednesday night for the University of Dayton basketball team’s Second Unit.

The starters were struggling in UD Arena against Duquesne, losers of seven straight games. Ten minutes into the game, the Flyers trailed, 19-18.

Veteran columnist Hal McCoy writes the UD Flyers for Press Pros Magazine.com.

Time was called at 9:22 and coach Anthony Grant dispatched his Second Unit into action — Moulaye Sissoko, Koby Brea, Mustapha Amzil and Elijah Weaver. Starter R.J. Blakney stayed in.

And Duquesne quickly discovered that was no F Troop out there.

The second tier Flyers blew away the Dukes like an ill wind, a 13-2 run that gave UD a 10-point lead. And in those final 9 1/2 minutes, a 17-6 explosion gave the Flyers a 35-24 lead at the half.

Then the starters — message received — exploded on an 18-2 sprint-away that gave the Flyers a 53-26 lead. The advantage was stretched to 30, at 60-30, then UD coasted home, 75-54.

But it was the Second Unit coming on in relief that put Duquesne into a deep sleep.

McGohanBrabender proudly sponsors the Flyers on Press Pros Magazine.com

During the 13-2 run, Blakney hit back-to-back baskets, including one of his three dunks. Sissoko, the 6-foot-10 red shirt freshman who backs up DaRon Holmes II, scored three times under the basket.

After the whirlwind dust settled, 11 different Flyers had scored and only two were in double figures, Kobe Elvis with 13 and Toumani Camara with 10.

R.J. Blakney jams home one of his three dunks.

And it was evident it was a special night when Grant emptied his bench with 4 1/2 minutes left. Two walk-ons, Christian Wilson and Drew Swearlein, scored their first collegiate baskets and the biggest cheers of the night shook the UD Arena seats when they scored.

Wilson banked in a long three and Swearlein made three fake moves under the basketball before dropping in his bucket. He then ran down the court shouting and screaming in celebration.

“It was great tonight to see Christian and Drew go out there and be able to score and hear the reaction of the crowd and the reaction from their teammates,” said Grant. “Those guys work extremely hard every day without getting that notoriety and credit. Our staff knows how important they are to us. It makes it special when they go out and do what they did.”

So the stars were the Second Unit and the non-scholarship walk-ons. And there was a third story-line. Elijah Weaver returned after a three-game absence due to a season-long wrist injury. He hurt it December 12 and tried to play through it, but it didn’t work out so he sat out.

The Park National Bank proudly supports UD Flyer coverage on Press Pros Magazine.com

Brea, talking about Sissoko, whom they all call ‘Moo,’ said, “Moo. . .yeah, he’s a problem. He is not getting much opportunities, but when he’s in the game, he’s efficient. He gives us plays that we need on both ends of the floor. He’s a beast…honestly.”

And about the entire Second Unit, Brea said, “That’s the best way for us to win,” he said. “We’re so deep. Anybody can score.

Elijah Weaver made his return after a wrist injury.

“For the bench to come in and do that job, that helps everybody,” Brea added. “And the second unit came in and we put our hands on them, did whatever we could to make a little run so when they (the starters) got back in they’d have some momentum. That changed the game. We started to blow them out.”

Grant was overjoyed with the overall concept of a team victory with the entire roster pitching in to help lift the Flyers to 16-8 overall and 8-3 in the Atlantic 10.

“Sissoko gave us a lift, was able to make some plays,” he said. “I thought that unit in the first half when they came in there did a great job defensively. They had that five-minute stretch where Duquesne had one bucket. We were able to go on a run, build a lead and sustain it.”

The Flyers made 33 of 53 shots (60%) and 7 of 13 from three (53.8%). They out-rebounded the Dukes, 30-26, and beat them in the paint, 50-26.

“Our distribution of scoring (11 players scored) was terrific,” said Grant. “I love seeing that. I loved the unselfishness, we had 17 assists (eight by Malachi
Smith) and only seven turnovers.”

Weaver’s comeback party was 18 minutes and he made 3 of 9 shots and scored seven points. Weaver had some big performances before the injury, then played although he was unable to shoot.

Toumani Camara takes a ride on the rim after a thunder dunk.

Asked if the team needs him, he said, “I don’t want to say they need me, but I’m a good piece, an important piece to the team, to the puzzle. I don’t want to say they need me, but I’m an important piece.”

Weaver’s importance is his versatility to play point guard because of his ball-handling skills to give Malachi Smith rest periods. And the 6-foot-6 red shirt junior transfer from Southern Cal is an on-court leader.

From his perspective on the bench, Weaver watched The Good Flyers and The Bad Flyers and said, “They’re maturing.” Then came what Flyer fans hope was a Freudian slip when he said, “So next year they are going to be real scary. . .we’re gonna be real scary. We’re a good team. With me or without me, we’re a good team.”

A driving lay-up by Malachi Smith, who had eight assists.

Allenbaugh Insurance, in Jackson Center, supports the UD Flyers on Press Pros Magazine.