The No. 7 Dayton Flyers aced one of the biggest tests in Atlantic 10 Conference play, silencing a sellout crowd at the Robins Center on Saturday with an 87-79 victory against the Richmond Spiders.
» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Spiders
Dayton built a 20-point lead in the second half and let Richmond get as close as eight points before regaining the momentum on a 3-pointer by Jalen Crutcher with 3:24 to play.
Jalen Crutcher matched Obi Toppin for the team lead with 24 points. They combined to make 17 of 27 field goals. Crutcher had seven assists. Toppin had 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Ibi Watson scored 14 points, and Ryan Mikesell had 10.
Dayton (18-2, 7-0) won its ninth straight game and moved two games in front of Richmond (15-5, 5-2). Rhode Island (14-5, 6-1) sits alone in second place, one game behind Dayton.
Responding to chants of “Obi sucks!” from the Richmond student section, Toppin scored 13 points in the first half to lead his team to a 40-32 halftime lead.
Toppin made 6 of 7 shots from the field and added five rebounds and two blocks.
No. 7 Dayton opened the game with an 11-2 run, hitting three 3-pointers in the first three minutes, but trailed 28-24 with 6:57 to play. It then went on a 16-2 run over the next six minutes. Richmond didn’t score again until Jake Wojcik got a friendly bounce on a jump shot at the buzzer.
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Jalen Crutcher scored 10 points for Dayton. Ibi Watson had five.
Dayton built the halftime lead despite seeing Trey Landers sit most of the first half after picking up his second foul in the third minute.
Dayton has led at the half in all but two games this season. It was tied with Saint Joseph’s at halftime and trailed Saint Louis at halftime.
» CHASING HISTORY: Five ways Dayton can join the list of A-10’s greatest teams
» NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Toppin interviewed on SportsCenter
» MARCH FORECAST: Where Dayton stands in NCAA tournament picture
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