A steady stream of three pointers in the second half helped the Dayton Men’s Basketball team defeat St. Louis 70-62 on Saturday.
The Flyers rallied from a five-and-a-half-minute scoring drought in the first half to take a 22-21 lead going into halftime, thanks to a three-pointer as time expired from sophomore Jalen Crutcher. Head coach Anthony Grant praised his team’s tenacity and ability to fight back in the first half.
“Sometimes you get disappointed when you don’t see the ball go in. So, for us to be able to maintain our defensive edge, our ability to rebound the ball and get stops, and then obviously at the end of the half we went on a run to be able to go into the half with the lead, I thought that showed a lot of character. This was a character win today,” Grant said.
Crutcher’s buzzer beater was his only field goal of the first half, but he exploded for 14 more points in the second half to cap off a 17 point, five rebound and five assist performance. He also finished the game with four makes from beyond the arc.
“I think that was my first basket, so it felt good giving us the lead going into the break,” Crutcher said. “We’ve just been working on my shot before the game, and I just started hitting some during the game.”
In addition to Crutcher’s stellar performance, redshirt-senior Josh Cunningham was a perfect five-for-five from the field, finishing with 13 points, while junior Ryan Mikesell finished with 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Tramaine Isabell Jr. led St. Louis with 23 points on 10-18 from the field, along with a game-high seven assists. D.J. Foreman also chipped in 15 points of his own in the loss.
Another key difference from the last time the Flyers faced St. Louis was second-chance points. The Flyers gave up just four second-chance points on Saturday, compared to 26 in the Feb. 5 matchup.
“We played at St. Louis, and the lesson from that game was the physicality that we needed to bring, and the toughness that we needed to have come out on the winning end, and I thought that tonight, our guys really did that from the beginning of the game.” Grant said.
The win boosts Dayton to 18-9 on the season. The Flyers travel to UMass on Tuesday, looking for their third straight win. St. Louis fell to 17-10 on the season, and will look to rebound at VCU on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn