Dayton Flyers seniors Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers conducted a post-game interview together Wednesday outside the locker room at Rhode Island’s Ryan Center. They will share another moment Saturday when they’re honored on Senior Night before a 7 p.m. game against George Washington at UD Arena — and what a moment it will be.
The final home game for the last players from the Archie Miller era to wear the red and white coincides with ESPN College GameDay’s visit to campus earlier in the day and Dayton’s chance to break the school record for victories in a season while tying the school record for consecutive victories. The Flyers (28-2, 17-0) take a 19-game winning streak into the game against 10th-place George Washington (12-18, 6-11).
In short, no one in Dayton history has had more to celebrate on Senior Night than the St. Henry grad Mikesell and Wayne grad Landers, two local guys who made it big at UD and who will now try to write one last unforgettable chapter in the coming weeks.
“It’s going to be real emotional, but obviously, we know what’s at stake,” said Landers after No. 3 Dayton’s 84-57 victory against Rhode Island. “Going 18-0 in conference, it’s a big game for us. It’s a great feeling going out with this guy (Mikesell).”
Mikesell, a St. Henry graduate, is the only player in Dayton history to win three Atlantic 10 championships. He and Landers are the only players to own two outright championships.
Landers said his mom Tracy Matthews and brothers Robert and Tallice will join him on the court. Of course, Mikesell’s parents, Reed and Lisa, will be there. They’ve only missed a couple games — home and away — in his career.
“I think my dad will be more emotional than I will be,” Mikesell said, “but it’ll be awesome. We have a chance to make history.”
Dayton shared the A-10 regular-season title with Virginia Commonwealth and St. Bonaventure in 2016, Mikesell’s freshman season. It won the outright championship the next season when Mikesell was a sophomore and Landers was a little-used freshman.
The following season, after Miller left for Indiana and Dayton hired Grant, Mikesell redshirted after undergoing offseason hip surgeries, so it wasn’t until last season the two spent any significant time on the court together.
Now they both rank among the top-70 scorers in school history. Mikesell has 843 career points. Landers has 943 and should make a run at 1,000 if Dayton can advance in the Atlantic 10 tournament or the NCAA tournament.
On the Anthony Grant Show on Monday on WHIO Radio, the third-year Dayton coach called the seniors true Flyers.
“They embody everything you want as an alum and as a coach in terms of their love for the university, their love for the program and their commitment to their team,” Grant said.
Grant embraced Landers and Mikesell at the same time after Dayton clinched the outright championship with an 82-67 victory against Davidson last week.
“It was really a great moment at the end of the game to see those two guys and the joy on their faces and just the excitement they had for the journey,” Grant said. “Being seniors, you get a different appreciation for it. You walk in the door as a freshman and you win a championship and you think is going to be the case for the next four years. ‘It’s easy. We’ve got this figured out.’ You go through some stuff, and you realize how difficult it is. Those guys have seen everything.”