Junior guard Jalen Crutcher led the Flyers in scoring with 21 points against Saint Louis, including a game-winning three at the buzzer. Photo from a previous game courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
Junior guard Jalen Crutcher was the hero for Dayton men’s basketball Friday night, draining a buzzer-beater three in overtime to lift the No. 13 Flyers over the Saint Louis Billikens.
JALEN CRUTCHER SAVES THE GAME FOR THE FLYERS WITH THE BUZZER BEATER THREE! FLYERS WINNNNNNNN!!!!
— Flyer News Sports (@FlyerNewsSports) January 18, 2020
As exciting as the end of the game turned out, the first half was the exact opposite for the Flyers. Dayton’s 25 points in the first half was by far their least productive period of the season.
The Billiken’s defense played a part, forcing redshirt sophomore Obi Toppin into tough shots out of the post, but the Flyers couldn’t capitalize the few times they did get open looks. Dayton finished the half having made only one of their 10 three-point attempts.
Saint Louis was also clearly playing off their sold-out crowd. When the Flyers brought the game back within one point late in the half, SLU rattled off an 8-0 run to extend the lead again. The Flyers trailed by eight at half time and it could have been much worse – the Billikens shot only 3-12 from the free-throw line.
The offense improved slightly for UD as the second half opened, but the Billikens were going blow-for-blow with the Flyers. Saint Louis’ lead peaked at 13 with 7:40 left in the game. This was the largest deficit the Flyers had faced all season.
Having shot only 12 percent from behind the arc, the Flyers flipped a switch down the stretch. Dayton nailed six three-pointers in a row, with two each Toppin and redshirt junior Ibi Watson, to take the lead late in the game.
I will watch this every morning from now on as my personal hype video. pic.twitter.com/MF9wYjWzrh
— Jen Clark (@JenM_Clark) January 18, 2020
It was back and forth for the remainder of the game, when SLU’s Jordan Goodwin hit the runner in the lane to send the game into overtime.
Both offenses slowed down to a halt in overtime, with only two field goals made before the final shot of the game. Nonetheless, Saint Louis took the lead with six seconds on the clock thanks to free throws from Yuri Collins.
Dayton in-bounded the ball to Crutcher off the make and he did the rest. Crutcher nailed Dayton’s biggest shot of the season so far, helping the Flyers improve to 16-2 on the season and 5-0 in the A10.
Crutcher finished as Dayton’s leading scorer with 21 points. Toppin (20), Watson (17) and senior Trey Landers (14) also pitched in with double-digit scoring totals.
Dayton will hope to carry the momentum back to UD Arena Wednesday night, when the Flyers take on St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m.