Dayton Flyers record first victory against top-25 opponent since 2015

UD bounces back from 23-point loss with win at No. 22 Saint Louis

The Dayton Flyers beat a top-25 team for the first time in the Anthony Grant era, winning 76-71 at No. 22 Saint Louis on Tuesday at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

Jalen Crutcher scored 14 of 27 points, two short of his career high, in the last 4:01 to help the Flyers stay on top in a game in which they never trailed.

For the second time this season, Dayton (9-4, 5-3) put one of its worst performances in recent memory behind it with a solid road victory. Dayton lost 55-54 at Fordham on Jan. 5 and then won 89-79 in overtime at Davidson on Jan. 8.

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This victory followed a 66-43 loss at Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. That was Dayton’s most lopsided loss in three years. Dayton still hasn’t lost two Atlantic 10 Conference games in a row since 2018.

This is Dayton’s first victory against a team ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll since Dec. 9, 2015, when it won 72-67 at No. 21 Vanderbilt. Until this victory, Dayton’s last victory against a ranked A-10 Conference opponent came on Feb. 28, 2015, when it beat No. 22 Virginia Commonwealth 59-55 in Richmond, Va.

Saint Louis (7-2, 0-1) was playing its first game since Dec. 23. It had to postpone its first seven A-10 games because at least 11 players, plus coach Travis Ford, tested positive for COVID-19.

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Although Dayton never trailed, in the second half, Saint Louis tied the game twice, the last time with 4:31 to play.

Crutcher started his scoring run with a 3-pointer with 4:01 to play, and Dayton didn’t trail again. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Crutcher and Mustapha Amzil pushed the lead to 66-57 with 1:49 to play. Dayton made eight free throws in the final 62 seconds to clinch the victory.

Ibi Watson scored 18 points. Elijah Weaver had 12. Zimi Nwokeji scored nine. Jordy Tshimanga had 10 rebounds.

Dayton made 12 of 27 3-pointers (44.4 percent). It has shot better than 40 percent in all five of its A-10 victories and below 25 percent in its three losses. Dayton held Saint Louis, one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country, to two offensive rebounds.

Dayton led 36-31 at halftime. The Flyers surpassed their 13-point first-half total against VCU, which tied for the lowest scoring half in school history, in the first eight minutes.

The Flyers made their first three 3-pointers and made 7 of 15 3-pointers in the first half after making 3 of 20 in the game against VCU.

Crutcher, who scored a season-low four points against VCU, scored 13 in the first half.

Dayton led the entire half and stretched its lead to as many as eight points three times.

A-10 notes: Fordham fired coach Jeff Neubauer on Tuesday. He was 61-104 in six seasons and 1-7 this season with the only victory coming against Dayton.

• Virginia Commonwealth (11-4, 4-2) and Massachusetts (5-4, 4-2) postponed their game Wednesday in Richmond, Va., “due to contact tracing and out of an abundance of caution.” UMass paused basketball activities. VCU still plans to play La Salle on Saturday.

• Richmond (10-4, 4-2) won 79-56 at Saint Joseph’s (1-13, 0-7) on Tuesday.

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