Men’s Basketball Recap: Dayton Overcomes Sluggish First Half To Take Down Saint Louis

Connor Hanson
Staff Writer

“That was an old-fashioned slugfest and defensive battle, and it was great to see our guys be up to the challenge,” coach Anthony Grant said while recapping Dayton’s 53-50 win over Saint Louis Tuesday night at UD Arena.

On The Ropes Early

The term slugfest does this game justice, as Dayton found themselves trailing Saint Louis 29-20 at halftime while also being outgained in every statistical category except assists. And even then, five of the Flyers’ seven first half assists were from freshman point guard, Jalen Crutcher.

Saint Louis ended up going on a 17-4 run spanning just over nine minutes of the first half. Sprinkled in that stretch was Dayton turning the ball over on five straight possessions.

And even when the Flyers broke out of their slump and hit three straight shots, the Billikens turned around and nailed a three-pointer in the waning seconds to push the Flyers nine points back.
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Rolling With The Punches

However, Dayton came out of the second half with a little more intensity. Sophomore guard Trey Landers and redshirt-freshman forward Kostas Antetokounmpo led the attack for the Flyers, both scoring eight points each in the second half alone.

Not only did Antetokounmpo make an impact on the offensive end of the court, but the defensive end as well, coming up with a key block on a three-point attempt. That moment brought the crowd back in and drew momentum for the Flyers late in the game.

“I yelled switch, switch, switch, but Jalen didn’t hear me, so I ran back and blocked it and was so happy … I was relieved,” Antetokounmpo said about the botched defensive switch that lead to his block.
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Flyers Land The Final Blow

Antetokounmpo finished the game with three of Dayton’s four total blocks and joined five of his teammates with at least four rebounds for the game, while Landers lead the team with eight.

That second half stretch allowed Dayton to flip the script as they went on to finish the night leading in every category except for three-point percentage and steals.

“At the end of the day, you have to focus on what you do, don’t try and do something you’re not capable of doing,” Landers said about the mental changes they made to take over in the second half.

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Landers finished with a team-high 13 points and the Greek Freak 2.0 tied a career-high with 12. Crutcher also dished out with nine assists.

Senior guard Darrell Davis and redshirt junior forward Josh Cunningham combined for only 15 points, shooting a combined six for 14 from the field.

What’s next?

The win improves Dayton’s record to 13-14 (7-8 in the A-10) and drops Saint Louis down to 15-13 (8-7).

The Flyers’ next game is at No. 18 Rhode Island, 22-4 (14-1) on Friday Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. That game will also be nationally broadcasted on ESPN2.

Photo Taken by Roberto De La Rosa-Finch/Online Editor