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Dayton’s Obi Toppin leaves UMass win with sprained ankle

Massachusetts v Dayton

DAYTON, OH - JANUARY 11: Obi Toppin #1 of the Dayton Flyers is helped off the court by teammate Jordy Tshimanga #32 of the Dayton Flyers after injuring his left leg in the second half against the Massachusetts Minutemen on January 11, 2020 at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton defeated Massachusetts 88-60. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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Obi Toppin left Dayton’s win over UMass on Saturday with an apparent sprained ankle.

The Flyers’ leading scorer hurt the ankle while Dayton led UMass by 25. Toppin returned to the game several minutes later. Eventually, the redshirt sophomore forward was pulled and watched the final minutes of the win with a protective boot on his right foot.

Toppin finished with 16 points as Dayton improved to 3-0 in A-10 league play. Dayton head coach Anthony Grant addressed Toppin’s injury to the media following the win.

“A sprained ankle is the indication right now,” Grant said after the game. “I think the next 24 hours will tell us more in terms of how it reacts.”

“It was good to see him able to walk on his own power back to the bench,” Grant continued.

Obi Toppin has become one of college basketball’s best stories during the 2019-20 season. Seemingly out of nowhere, Toppin helped revive Dayton into a top-25 program. Toppin’s strong play also put his name firmly on the NBA Draft radar. Putting up 19.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, Toppin is a major asset on both ends of the floor for the Flyers.

Dayton has an important game against VCU coming up in A-10 play this week. It’s the start of a critical stretch for the Flyers in the Atlantic 10 schedule. The next five games see Dayton play five of the conference’s top contenders.

It’ll be interesting to see how Toppin’s status potentially changes during the week. As Grant indicated postgame, the next 24 hours or so will tell us a lot about Toppin’s future.

If Dayton has to play without its leading scorer, they still have a strong NCAA tournament profile as the No. 15 team in the country. But the Flyers still need to be cautious bringing back Toppin. This could be a defining stretch of conference play that could help determine the regular-season title.