Crutcher's 3 in OT lifts No. 13 Dayton over Saint Louis
By STEVE OVERBEY Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Obi Toppin and Trey Landers did all the talking in Dayton’s huddle heading into overtime against St. Louis. Jalen Crutcher did the listening.
Crutcher hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime and finished with 21 points, lifting No. 13 Dayton to a 78-76 come-from-behind win in the Atlantic 10 Conference showdown Friday night.
Toppin added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Dayton (16-2, 5-0). Ibi Watson scored 17 and Landers 14.
Dayton rallied from a 55-42 deficit with 7:40 left in regulation to win its seventh straight game.
“We told ourselves, we weren’t going to give up — and we didn’t,” said Toppin, who missed nine of his first 11 shots and had six points at halftime. “That’s how this team gets it done.”
Javonte Perkins scored 25 points for Saint Louis (14-4, 3-2). Hasahn French added 16 points and 17 rebounds and Jordan Goodwin added 15 points and 13 boards.
Yuri Collins hit two free throws with 6 seconds left in overtime to give the Billikens a 76-75 lead ahead of Crutcher’s winner.
The Flyers did not call a time out after Collins’ free throws and executed perfectly down the stretch. Toppin set a solid screen to free up Crutcher,
“It takes a lot of confidence and you’ve got to be poised out on the court,” Crutcher said. “My team was looking for me; I felt like I had to come through.”
Toppin, who has at least 20 points in each of his last six games, even suggested that Crutcher change his name to “Clutch-er,” for his ability to come through in crunch time.
“He’s the best shooter in the country,” Toppin said.
The Flyers put together a 19-6 run late in the second half to go up 66-61 on a basket by Toppin off a pass from Watson.
Saint Louis, which had a three-game winning streak snapped, missed 17 of 37 free throws. Goodwin scored on a driving layup at the second-half buzzer to force the overtime.
“We had the game going where we wanted it,” Saint Louis coach Travis Ford said. “We wasted too many possessions offensively.”
ONLY LOSE TO THE BEST
Both of the Flyers’ losses have come against ranked teams in overtime. They fell to No. 6 Kansas 90-84 on Nov. 27, and dropped a 78-76 decision to No. 20 Colorado on Dec. 21.
“We said, not this time,” Toppin said. “We’re done with overtime losses.”
WIN AND THEY WILL COME
The contest was played before a sellout crowd of 10,007. It was the Billikens’ first sellout since the 2014-15 season opener against Southern Illinois.
“A great atmosphere,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said.
Dayton: The comeback win kept the Flyers tied with Duquesne and Saint Bonaventure for the top spot in the Atlantic 10. All three are unbeaten in the conference. Grant was pleased with the way his team performed in its first test in a hostile environment.
Saint Louis: The Billikens proved they belong among the A-10 elite, despite coming up short in their biggest league game of the season.
“We just have to finish,” Ford said.
Dayton: Will host St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.
Saint Louis: Will play at Davidson on Wednesday.
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