Dayton's Jalen Crutcher dunks against Virginia Commonwealth in the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Dayton Flyers hang on against VCU to win 15th straight game

UD sweeps season series against VCU and now has two-game lead in A-10

No. 5 Dayton beat Virginia Commonwealth 66-61 on Tuesday at the Siegel Center, improving to 24-2 and 13-0 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. They are five victories away from becoming the first A-10 team to finish the conference schedule undefeated since it moved to an 18-game schedule.

The Rams (17-9, 7-6) suffered their third straight loss, falling short of knocking off the highest-ranked team to ever play at the 21-year-old Siegel Center. Dayton now has a two-game lead over second-place Rhode Island.

Here’s what the victory means for Dayton:

Extending one streak: Dayton has won 15 games in a row. It’s the sixth longest winning streak in school history. It’s the third time Dayton has won 15 or more games in a row in one season. The Flyers won 20 straight from January to March in 1952 and 16 straight from December 1957 to March 1958.

» COMING THIS SUMMER: The Basketball Tournament to play championship week at UD Arena

Dayton needs one more victory to move into a tie for eighth place for longest winning streak in A-10 history. Three teams have won 16 straight, most recently Rhode Island in the 2017-18 season. Saint Joseph’s set the A-10 record for longest winning streak by winning its first 27 games in 2003-04.

Ending another streak: Dayton had not won at the Siegel Center since Feb. 28, 2015, when it beat VCU 59-55. It lost at VCU in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Big win for the coach: This was Anthony Grant’s fourth game at the Siegel Center as an opposing coach. After coaching at VCU from 2006-09, he brought Alabama to VCU in 2012 and lost 73-54. Dayton lost at VCU in his first two seasons. This was his first victory at the arena where he started his head coaching career since he left VCU.

» AD PERSPECTIVE: Neil Sullivan talks about Dayton’s season

Dayton won the game by making 22 of 31 free throws. Dwayne Cohill and Jalen Crutcher clinched the victory by making 4 of 4 in the last 21 seconds.

Dayton led for the entire second half and all but the first five minutes of the first but was never able to push the lead into double digits. VCU lost its third straight game.

Jalen Crutcher led Dayton with 18 points. Obi Toppin scored 12. Trey Landers had 11. Ryan Mikesell scored nine.

Anthony Grant: Postgame press conference after beating VCU

HALFTIME RECAP

Dayton opened the first half on a 6-0 run and ended it with a 7-1 run, building a 36-29 halftime lead.

» UMASS GAME: Crutcher lifts Dayton with scoring burst

Playing its first game as a top-five team, Dayton shot 54 percent from the field and held VCU to 35 percent. Dayton made 5 of 9 3-pointers. VCU made 4 of 14.

Crutcher led Dayton with 10 points and threw down the best dunk of his career early in the half. Landers scored eight. Mikesell and Ibi Watson each scored six. Toppin hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring and didn’t score again in the half.

Nah’Shon Hyland led VCU with 13 points. The Rams played the half without one of their top players, senior guard Marcus Evans, who’s missing his second straight game with a knee injury.

Prior to this game, the highest-ranked team to play at the Siegel Center was No. 7 Virginia, which beat VCU 74-57 on Dec. 6, 2014.

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