DAYTON, Ohio (AP)Obi Toppin scored 17 points and Jalen Crutcher led a second-half rally that swept No. 6 Dayton to a 71-65 victory over Saint Louis on Saturday, keeping the Flyers unbeaten atop the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Dayton (21-2, 10-0) has won 12 straight, vaulting to its highest ranking in 53 years. The Billikens (17-7, 6-5) have given the Flyers their two closest calls.
Crutcher’s last-second 3-pointer in overtime rallied the Flyers to a 78-76 victory on Jan. 17 on the Billikens’ court. He scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half as Dayton broke open a tight game.
Jordan Goodwin led Saint Louis with 22 points. Hasahn French had 15 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 5:12 to go.
Toppin put his high-flying imprint on the game immediately. He hit a 3 for Dayton’s first points and within the first 4 minutes had two steals, an assists, a block and an emphatic left-handed dunk.
Toppin had another dunk off a loose ball during a 14-4 run that put Dayton ahead 28-18, the biggest lead of the game. The Billikens missed five shots and were limited to four free throws during the 6-minute spurt.
The Billikens’ brawnier front line asserted itself at the start of the second half. French had a three-point play, a layup and a dunk during a 9-2 spurt that gave Saint Louis its first lead, 47-46.
Crutcher scored off a drive, hit a 3 and made a pair of free throws as Dayton rebuilt a five-point lead, and the Flyers never trailed again. Crutcher’s lay-in put Dayton ahead 65-58 with 1:45 left.
Saint Louis: The Billikens are 0-4 against ranked teams this season and have dropped 14 straight against Top 25 teams overall, their last such win 62-56 over No. 25 VCU in 2013 in the Atlantic 10 Tournament title game. They’ve never beaten a top 10 team on the road. Their last road win over a ranked team was 64-62 over No. 11 Louisville on Feb. 6, 1997.
Dayton: The Flyers are in the top six for only the fourth season in school history. They reached a school-best No. 2 during the 1955-56 season. They also were in the top six in 1954-55 and 1967-68.
Saint Louis hosts La Salle next Saturday. The Billikens won at La Salle 77-76 in overtime on Jan. 29.
Dayton completes a stretch of three straight home games by hosting second-place Rhode Island on Tuesday. It’s the first time they’ve met this season.
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