Tomorrow, November 13th at 7 PM, the University of Dayton Flyers take on the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at the UD Arena. We have made it to this much anticipated regular season, ever since our Flyers were defeated in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at the hands of the University of Oklahoma.
The Flyers are expected to have three returning starters, junior guard Scoochie Smith, junior guard Kyle Davis, and junior forward Kendall Pollard, who started in their last game against Oklahoma. Senior forward Dyshawn Pierre will not be starting or playing as he was suspended for the fall semester by the school due to off-court issues, and last year’s leading scorer, guard Jordan Sibert, has graduated from the university. Expected to fill those two slots on opening night is junior guard Charles Cooke, who transferred in from James Madison University, and redshirt freshman center Steve McElvene, or better known on campus as “Big Steve”.
On the other side of the scorer’s table, the Redhawks will be starting sophomore guard Marcus Wallace, junior guard Antonius Cleveland, senior guard Isiah Jones, sophomore forward Ladarius Coleman, and junior forward Trey Kellum. They will be without their leading scorer from last year, guard Jarekious Bradley, so it will be interesting to see who will take replace Bradley’s scoring ability for the Redhawks.
The two things to watch for tomorrow are the two new expected starters, junior guard Charles Cooke and redshirt freshman Steve McElvene. Cooke sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules, but he was a major impact player for the James Madison Dukes as he contributed 14.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, and 1.4 steals per game. With his help, the Dukes reached the 2013 NCAA tournament for the fifth time in their history, but lost in the second round to Indiana University. Redshirt freshman Steve McElvene, will be greatly appreciated as he brings something Dayton basketball did not have last year; size. McElvene is a towering 6’11”, and he could end up being a centerpiece in Dayton’s offense essentially due to his size. McElvene posted 15 points and 7 rebounds in the scrimmage against Saginaw State Valley last Saturday, and he will be looking to continue this solid stat line tomorrow.
I believe that the Dayton Flyer’s will end up defeating the Southeast Missouri State Redhawk’s by at least double digits in tomorrow’s bout. The scoring combination of guards Scoochie Smith and Kyle Davis will be too much for the Redhawks to handle. Big Steve will also provide a major advantage on the boards tomorrow, as he is three inches taller than the Redhawks tallest player. Lastly, the most important advantage of tomorrow’s game will be the 6th man, or as we call it, the “Red Scare”. When the UD Arena is packed to capacity, it is not a welcoming place to play, especially on opening night.