Crutcher’s scoring prowess and clutch gene once again helped the Flyers achieve a key win, their first over a ranked opponent since 2015. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.
Sports Staff Writer
After a scorching Dayton start that saw Dayton go 4-4 from 3, the Billikens settled in and made Dayton earn it all in their hard fought 76-71 upset of the No. 22 Billikens.
After a disappointing outing against VCU the Flyers rolled into Saint Louis with something to prove, and they played like it all night.
The Flyers made their return to Chaifetz Arena for the first time since Jalen Crutcher broke the heart of the Saint Louis Billiken himself. Sinking a game winning three to rank the Flyers in the top 10. Roles were reversed however, with Saint Louis coming in as the 22nd ranked team in the country.
The night began with 4 quick threes finding the bottom of the net to take an early 12-4 lead, and it did not stop there. Senior guard Jalen Crutcher, who finished with 27 points and 3 assists started the barrage and set the tone for his teammates. The Flyers shot nearly 50% from three in the first half splashing 7 of 15 shots.
With shots falling and a solid performance on the defensive end the Flyers had the few Billiken fans in Chaifetz Arena quaking going into halftime with a 36-31 lead.
Coming out of halftime the Flyers maintained their stamina, trading blows with the Billikens as they looked to close out the upset. Junior guard Elijah Weaver spearheaded the effort playing with intensity out of the half and forcing two steals to keep the Flyers in control. Weaver finished with 12 points and 4 rebounds.
Ibi Watson added a surge near the 15 minute mark of the second half, draining back to back 3’s to open up a 49-40 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the contest. Watson provided the Flyers with 18 points going 4/6 from downtown.
The Billikens did not sit by quietly. After Dayton stretched their lead to nine, the Billikens laid some heavy defense on the Flyers and tied the game at 53 with 4:44 to play thanks to a suffocating full court press.
After intense back and forth down the stretch Jalen Crutcher must have been reminded by someone on the bench about the last time he was in Chaifetz Arena.
Crutcher showed the Saint Louis faithful AGAIN why they call him CLUTCHER. With just under 4 mins to play Crutcher dribbled the ball out at the top of the key and drilled 2 heartbreaking 3’s to finish the Billikens off for good.
Dayton improves to 9-4 on the season and 5-3 in Atlantic 10 conference play. The Flyers are back in action at UD Arena to take on Rhode Island on Jan. 30th.