By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
DAYTON, Ohio – The newly renovated UD Arena had nearly every seat packed and more than 13,000 screaming Flyer fanatics were reigning down cheers and jeers on the Capital University men's basketball team. Friday night's exhibition against the University of Dayton Flyers (NCAA Division I) provided an experience this senior class and the entire team will have a hard time forgetting.
Capital held a lead for much of the first half leading up to the midway point and did not trail by double digits until late in the second half. Ultimately, UD defeated Capital 89-71 by outlasted the Crusaders using its deep bench, speed and size.
Dayton won the opening tip, but it was Capital that drew first blood when senior Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) hit a corner three from the far side in the opening minute. Leading into the first media timeout, Caleb Cox (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) was a big-time asset to have down low. The senior hit both turnaround jumpers from close range to build Capital's lead to 10-7 with 15:39 to go in the first half. Cox also had three rebounds to go with his four points at the time of the media timeout. Dayton had its looks but hit just 3-of-8 (.375) field goals to that point.
Capital maintained the lead heading into the second media timeout, though it began to dwindle as the Flyers' inside game created second-chance buckets for the home team. Dayton tied the game just after the halfway point of the first half with a runner down the lane by Jhery Matos, but Cox denied them the chance to take the lead with a big block down low on Jalen Crutcher. The lead eventually took the lead following a pair of Dayton free throws with 8:34 remaining in the first stemming from Capital's fifth foul.
Following a Capital miss, Cox came up big with a defensive board and on the other end of the floor toed the baseline and hit a running layup to regain the lead for Cap. Dayton came back by scoring the next eight points working its inside game and applying additional pressure on the defensive end. Capital used two of its timeouts inside a two-minute stretch in an attempt to slow down the Flyers. Weingartner' 3-ball in the far corner broke the 8-0 run but kept the Crusaders down by four, 30-26.
Knocking on Dayton's doorstep, the Flyers scored seven unanswered again pounding the play down low. An alleyoop, fast break layup and three free throws increased the hosts' lead to nine, 39-30. The final two minutes featured both teams trading 3-point buckets and senior Will Hannah (Milford, Ohio/Milford) ended the half with a strong take to the rim, which led to a successful and-one conversion. Capital trailed at the half, 44-38.
Weingartner opened up the second half with a bang in the form of a fade-away 3-pointer from the left wing which fed into an 8-3 Crusader run, which could have been larger had Cap converted on multiple close-range jumpers underneath the bucket. Even with Hannah and Weingartner holding on to four fouls, Head Coach Damon Goodwin elected to play both and take one timeout into the final 14:38 of the game, at which point the Crusaders trailed 55-49.
The Flyers rolled out a 22-8 run to create an advantage Capital was unable to overcome, featuring multiple dunks and three treys by Matos before the halfway point of the second half. The Crusaders continued to battle to the very end and the senior class received a special exit. With 2:42 remaining, Weingartner, Cox and Schreck exited together and greeted at the sideline by Coach Goodwin with handshakes and acknowledgment of a job well done.
The Flyers went on to defeat the Crusaders 89-71, but the final seven points were all picked up against Capital's reserves.
Cox finished with a double-double behind 15 points and 10 rebounds. Weingartner paced Cap with a team and game-high 20 points and hit 6-of-8 triples. Hannah also had a solid day behind 18 points and five rebounds.
Capital will now prepare for its regular season opener against Albion College on Friday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m.