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Dayton falls to Saint Louis for first time since 2014

Billikens enjoy their best 3-point shooting night of the season, making 9 of 18

Several Dayton Flyers fans complained Saturday on Twitter — as they are likely to do after any UD loss, but more so after a loss to a team the Flyers had beaten seven times in a row — about why coach Anthony Grant didn’t call a time-out during the first half.

Saint Louis went on a 21-5 run to take control at Chaifetz Arena after Dayton had surged ahead with a 17-7 lead. That stretch played a big part in Dayton’s 75-65 loss. As for whether calling a timeout then would have changed the final result, that’s hard to say.

“I’ll go back and look at it,” Grant said. “Maybe we should have. Maybe they’re right.”

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What doomed the Flyers (10-11, 4-5) were turnovers, foul issues and big shots by the Billikens (11-11, 4-5). Those were three reasons Dayton’s seven-game winning streak in the series ended. Saint Louis beat Dayton for the first time since January 2014.

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Dayton committed 15 turnovers. Saint Louis had only five. Dayton had 21 turnovers in its previous loss to Rhode Island but bounced back with six in a victory Tuesday over Davidson.

“We pride ourselves on not turning the ball over,” Dayton’s Josh Cunningham said, “and nights when we do turn the ball over, those are the nights we don’t win.”

Cunningham had 16 points and five rebounds. Foul trouble limited him to nine minutes in the first half. He played all but one minute in the second half.

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Foul trouble also hurt another starter, Trey Landers, who saw six minutes of action in the first half and 17 in the second. He had nine points and nine rebounds.

“Our foul trouble told the story,” Grant said. “In the first half, it got us a little bit. You go from a 10-point lead to the game quickly changing. We had combinations on the floor that weren’t accustomed to playing with each other.”

Saint Louis, which ranked 13th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 in 3-point field-goal percentage, made 9 of 18 shots from long range. That was its best percentage of the season. It didn’t top 30 percent in its last three games.

Javon Bess, a Michigan State transfer from Gahanna Lincoln High School, led the Billikens with 20 points. He made 3 of 4 3-pointers. Jalen Johnson scored 16 and made 3 of 5 3-pointers.

Despite all their problems, the Flyers still had a chance to win the game. Dayton cut a five-point deficit to 54-53 on a dunk by Jordan Davis with 7:59 to play. The Billikens then began an 11-0 run over the next four minutes, and nothing went right for Dayton during that span.

Dayton had three turnovers during the key stretch. 

“I just feel like they answered every time we made a run,” Dayton guard Darrell Davis said.

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