Graduate forward Ryan Mikesell (cover photo) got UD arena to its feet after an emphatic dunk. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
Dayton men’s basketball pulled away from St. Bonaventure with a huge run to end the first half and never looked back, winning 86-60 and maintaining their perfect conference record.
In the first game after being ranked No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, the Flyers looked a little bit rusty. The Flyers were shooting well from the floor, but turnovers were keeping the Bonnies in the game.
At the seven minute mark in the first half, the Bonnies had scored nine points off of turnovers compared to zero for Dayton.
“For about an eight minute stretch in the first half, we didn’t play the way we needed to play offensively,” head coach Anthony Grant said. “On the defensive end, we gave them some easy stuff.”
For the last six minutes of the half, the Flyers remembered they were one of the best teams in the country. Dayton turned a 1-point lead into an 18-point lead with a huge offensive outburst.
Junior guard Jalen Crutcher was the hero for Dayton against Saint Louis on Friday, and he spearheaded the run for the Flyers. Crutcher started the run with an important three and finished with a game-high 23 points, his third 20-point game in a row.
“He’s a really good player, man,” Grant said. “I think he’s been proving that since he stepped on campus.”
The highlight of the run was a Crutcher lob finished with a huge dunk from graduate senior Ryan Mikesell.
“Ryan (Mikesell) has been dunking in practice but I’ve never seen an alley-oop, I think that was the first one,” Crutcher said. “It had to be a perfect pass, with Obi (Toppin) I can just put it anywhere.”
For once, redshirt sophomore forward Obi Toppin didn’t have the biggest dunk of the game. Even so, Toppin was no slouch finishing with 18 points on only 11 shots from the field.
The Flyers continued to cruise in the second half, with the lead never falling below 15. Dayton finished with five players having double-digit scoring totals – Crutcher, Toppin, redshirt junior guard Ibi Watson (12), Mikesell (10) and senior guard Trey Landers (10).
The Flyers also tallied 25 assists on the night – they are averaging 18.7 per game, third-best in the country.
“Being able to get out in transition as much as we did allowed us to hit some spurts that they couldn’t overcome,” Grant said. “We just need to continue to grow, and understand where we can get better.”
Dayton improved to 17-2 on the season and 6-0 in the A10 Wednesday night. The Flyers are next in action Saturday, when they travel to Virginia to take on Richmond.