Dayton Flyers win nail-biter to George Mason to clinch share of A-10 title

Toppin leads Dayton with 19 points in 26th victory

The No. 4 Dayton Flyers outscored George Mason 5-0 in the last minute to survive another tough road challenge, winning 62-55 on Tuesday at EagleBank Arena.

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Dayton (26-2, 15-0) clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship, its first since 2017 and the first for coach Anthony Grant, and can win the title outright with one victory in its last three games.

This game wasn’t decided until the final minute. George Mason cut Dayton’s lead to 57-55 on a basket by Xavier Johnson entering the final minute, and then Ibi Watson got a tough shot to fall in the paint with 45 seconds to play.

George Mason committed a turnover on its next possession as Johnson stepped out of bounds. Dayton made 3 of 6 free throws in the final minute to clinch the victory. The Flyers struggled at the line all night, making 9 of 18.

Obi Toppin led Dayton with 19 points. Jalen Crutcher scored 13.

AJ Wilson scored 18 for George Mason (15-13, 4-11), which is tied for 11th place with La Salle.

Here’s what the victory means for Dayton:

• Dayton set a school record for regular-season victories, passing the 2008-09 team that finished the regular season 25-6.

• Dayton has won 17 games in a row. It’s the second longest winning streak in one season in school history. The 1951-52 team won 20 straight games.

» MORE ON WIN: Grant calls Watson’s shot a big-time play

• Dayton’s winning streak is the eighth longest in Atlantic 10 Conference history and the longest since Saint Louis won 19 straight in the 2013-14 season.

• Dayton moved within two victories of tying the school record for wins in a season. The 1951-52 team finished 28-5.

• Dayton became the fourth team in the nation to reach 26 victories this season, joining Gonzaga (27-2), San Diego State (26-1) and Liberty (26-3).


The Flyers made 11 of 16 shots from 2-point range but 2 of 12 from 3-point range on their way to a 30-25 halftime lead.

It was the 27th time in 29 games Dayton has led or been tied at halftime. It trailed at Saint Louis and at home against Duquesne in its last game.

Dayton did not trail in the first half and led by as many as eight points.

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Crutcher led Dayton with nine points. Rodney Chatman had seven. Obi Toppin scored six. Ryan Mikesell and Trey Landers each scored four.

AJ Wilson scored eight points for the Patriots.

Dayton shot 46.4 percent from the field. George Mason shot 40 percent.

The No. 4 Flyers became the highest-ranked team to play at EagleBank Arena, which opened in 1985. No. 6 Georgetown beat George Mason 75-63 in the arena’s inaugural season.

George Mason entered the game with a 1-3 record against top-five teams. Its lone win came against No. 2 Connecticut in the Elite Eight in 2006.

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