The first-half struggle was but a distant memory after all the Obi Toppin dunks and the typical Jalen Crutcher dominance in the second half as the No. 5 Dayton Flyers recorded their 16th straight victory, 80-70 over Duquesne on Saturday at UD Arena.
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Dayton (25-2, 14-0) trailed 38-36 at halftime but outscored Duquesne 30-11 in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Toppin scored 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting and was honored after the game for hitting the 1,000-point mark in the second half with a dunk.
Crutcher scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Trey Landers scored 12. Ryan Mikesell had eight.
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Here’s what the victory means:
• Dayton extended its winning streak to 16 games. It’s the longest winning streak in one season for the program since it won 16 in a row in the 1957-58 season. The 1951-52 team, which won 20 straight games from January through March, is the team in UD history to win more than 16 games in a row in one season.
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• Dayton is the first A-10 team since George Washington in 2006 to reach 15-0 in league play. The Colonials finished the 16-game conference schedule unbeaten in 2006. No team has gone 18-0 or even 17-1 since the A-10 moved to an 18-game schedule.
• The 25-2 record is Dayton’s best through 27 games. This is now tied for the sixth winningest season in school history. Dayton is three victories away from tying the 1951-52 team’s school record for wins.
• Dayton needs two more victories against Davidson on Friday and George Washington on March 7 to finish undefeated at home for the first time since the 2014-15 season and the fifth time in school history.
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• Dayton leads Rhode Island, which plays Saturday night, by 2½ games with four games to play in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Toppin scored at the buzzer to end the first half and scored 16 points, but the Flyers faced their second halftime deficit of the season.
Duquesne shot 53 percent from the field to build a 38-36 halftime lead. Marcus Weathers scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and Sincere Carry had 11 and made all five of his shots.
Neither team led by more than four points in the half. Dayton tied the game at 34-34 on a 3-pointer by Obi Toppin at the 1:30 mark. The Dukes answered with four straight points in the final minute. Toppin pulled the Flyers within two with his final basket of the half on an assist by Rodney Chatman.
Trey Landers scored eight points for Dayton. Dwayne Cohill and Chatman each scored four. Dayton shot 54 percent from the field but only 20 percent from 3-point range (2 of 10).
It’s the first time Dayton has trailed at halftime since Jan. 17 at Saint Louis. Dayton trailed 33-25 at the half in that game and won 78-76 in overtime.
Toppin dunked twice in the first half. He has 85 this season. He broke his own school record, set last year, of 83.
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