Redshirt junior Jordy Tsimanga (cover photo) made a difference off the bench with his defense and hustle against Saint Louis Saturday. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn.
Sports Staff Writer
In a game marked by 39 combined fouls and 43 combined free throw attempts, the No. 6 ranked Dayton Flyers held off St. Louis 71-65 on Saturday. Redshirt sophomore forward Obi Toppin and junior guard Jalen Crutcher each chipped in 17 points for the Flyers, while graduate student Ryan Mikesell finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Foul trouble played a huge part in the game as redshirt junior center Jordy Tshimanga and St. Louis junior Hasahn French each fouled out of the game, while St. Louis junior Jordan Goodwin and freshman Yuri Collins had four fouls apiece. A drive by Crutcher resulted in French’s fifth foul, sending him to the bench with just over five minutes left in the game.
“We knew in the timeout that we still had a lot left in the game, and he (French) had four fouls,” said Crutcher, “so we tried to attack him.”
French finished the game with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Goodwin led the Billikens with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. Crutcher was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line for the Flyers.
The physicality of the game was expected after the last match-up between both teams, where a Crutcher game winner in overtime was the difference.
“Coming into this game, we knew it was going to be a very physical game, and we knew we had to keep them off of the boards,” Toppin said. “Today I feel like we did that in the first half and the second half, but we fought it out with them for 40 minutes, and that’s why we won.”
In addition to foul trouble, post play was a key factor, as St. Louis outscored Dayton 36-34 in the paint. The Billikens also out-rebounded the Flyers 33-27. However, a Crutcher three-pointer put the Flyers up 51-49 with just over 10 minutes left in the game. They never relinquished the lead.
“I think for our guys, understanding that being able to put together a 40-minute game and being able to handle the different things that come at you during a game, we got a great opportunity to experience that today,” said head coach Anthony Grant. “I’m proud of our guys. We were able to make plays down the stretch defensively to be able to get the win today.”
The win puts the Flyers at 21-2 on the season with a perfect 10-0 record in the Atlantic 10. Next up for the Flyers is Rhode Island in the last of a three game home stand at UD Arena, Tuesday night at 7:30. St. Louis falls to 17-7 on the season, as they return home to face LaSalle next Saturday.