No matter how many times Toppin amazes his teammates in practice with acrobatic dunks, they couldn’t believe he tried this one in live game action.
“First off when he did it, it was, ‘Did he really just do that in a game?’” forward Josh Cunningham said. “It was shocking to me, especially only being up (nine) at the time. It was kind of brave of him to do that.”
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Georgia Southern hit a 3-pointer, starting a 16-6 run, and then called a 30-second timeout after the dunk, and Dayton coach Anthony Grant took the opportunity to talk to Toppin about his dunk.
“He said make sure the next time you look at the clock and see the situation we were in,” Toppin said. “I didn’t even know it was a close game. He just said be mindful of the score and the time.”
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After the game, Grant said, “I’m happy it went in, but as a freshman, you have to understand time and score and understand situations. You have to understand the game a little bit. Because it went in, it’s a play the crowd gets excited about. Those are potentially momentum-swinging plays. I think it was a three-possession game at the time. (The dunk) was a little risqué for my tastes, but not very many people on this earth can make that play. I know it’s a highlight play, and it’ll probably be on SportsCenter, but at the end of the day, as a competitor, you play to win. You have to put that at the forefront of everything else.”
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Toppin was asked what Grant would have done if he had missed.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing no more,” he said.
Cunningham advised Toppin to settle for a regular dunk or a layup the next time because the game was still close.
“If he had missed, that would have been a big swing,” Cunningham said.
Toppin scored 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting. He set a Dayton single-game record earlier this season with eight dunks. He entered the game ranking among the nation's most accurate shooters, and his field-goal percentage now stands at 73.3 (77 of 105).
Toppin is averaging 13.4 points off the bench. This is first season on the court. He sat out last season as an academic redshirt.