Playing its first game in over a month due to Covid-19 complications, Saint Louis was looking forward to finally getting back in a groove on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Billikens, Dayton left them no time to knock the rust off. The Flyers opened the game with a fury of threes and put the pressure on Saint Louis early. After trailing the entire game, the Billikens managed to make a run and tie it up at 53-all with 4:54 remaining. That, however, was when a man Saint Louis fans know all too well decided to take over. Scoring 14 points in the final five minutes, Jalen Crutcher made sure his team walked out of Chaifetz Arena with a win. Downing the 22nd ranked Billikens by a final score of 76-71, the Flyers will quite literally and figuratively be flying high on their way back to Dayton.
*Now allow me to include an appropriate gif before continuing with the recap*
— Grant Kelly (@GrantKelly07) January 27, 2021
Ultimately, Dayton won this game because its two biggest stars dominated. Jalen Crutcher finished the night with 27 points on 5-9 three point shooting, while Ibi Watson put up 18 points on 4-6 three point shooting. As a team, the Flyers made 12-27 (44.4%) threes and managed to out-rebound Saint Louis 32-30 (largely thanks to Jordy Tshimanga’s 10 boards). Furthermore, Dayton did a much better job of taking care of the basketball than it had in previous games this season. The Flyers limited their turnovers to 11 and managed to stay out of foul trouble aside from Tshimanga. Although Dayton’s NCAA tournament at-large chances have already come and gone, a road win over a top 25 team in the country should always be celebrated. So have yourselves a Tuesday night and enjoy what was a thrilling Arch Baron Cup victory, Flyer fans.
As for Saint Louis, the Billikens will fall out of the top 25 rankings come Monday, but NCAA tournament hopes remain very much alive. Despite the loss and month-long setback due to covid, I still believe Saint Louis finds a way to get an at-large bid (or win the A-10 tournament). Javonte Perkins finished tonight’s game with 20 points and Hasahn French had 16 on 6-8 shooting; with two stars like that and a strong supporting cast, the Billikens will be just fine. I fully expect Saint Louis to find its groove again over the next 1-2 games.