DAYTON, Ohio (AP)Obi Toppin scored 22 points and led an opening 17-point spurt Tuesday night as No. 6 Dayton surged to an 81-67 victory over Rhode Island, dominating a match-up of the Toppin brothers and the Atlantic 10’s top teams.
Both teams brought double-digit winning streaks into a chippy game that included seven technical fouls. Dayton (22-2, 11-0) got the better of it in every way, winning its 13th in a row.
Toppin had a double-double with 10 rebounds. Jalen Crutcher scored 21 points, and Trey Landers matched his career high with 14 rebounds.
Fatts Russell had 19 points for Rhode Island (18-6, 10-2), which had a 10-game winning streak snapped.
The Toppin family reunion matched Obi and younger brother Jacob – a freshman reserve at Rhode Island – on a college court for the first time. Their mother, Roni, sat in the stands wearing a combo jersey, half of it Rams blue and the other half Flyers red.
The brothers embraced at midcourt after the anthem, a moment the two of them had eagerly awaited since the schedule came out.
Then everyone settled in to watch Obi and the Flyers take over, dominating from start to finish.
Toppin hit two jumpers and a breakaway, right-hand dunk during the opening 17-0 run. Crutcher made a pair of 3s during the spurt, emerging from his two-game shooting slump. Crutcher had made only 2 of his last 11 attempts from beyond the arc.
Not even a Rhode Island timeout could slow the Flyers, who made all of their seven shots during the run. By contrast, the Rams went 0 for 9 with a pair of turnovers, looking deflated as they missed one shot after another.
By the time Jacob Toppin got into the game, the Flyers led by 17 points and their fans were chanting, ”Obi’s better!” Jacob Toppin finished with four points.
Obi Toppin hit a 3-pointer in a closing flurry that pushed it to 49-35 at halftime, the most points the Rams have allowed in an opening half this season. He had a breakaway dunk – his brother fouled him on the play – as Dayton pushed the lead to 20 points early in the second half and was never challenged.
Rhode Island: The Rams’ cold start cost them a chance to move into a tie with Dayton for the league lead. The Rams shot 28.8% from the field overall.
Dayton: The Flyers improved to 14-0 at home while knocking off their closest threat for the league title.
Rhode Island hosts Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. The Rams won at Saint Joseph’s 71-61 on Jan. 15.
Dayton completed a three-game home stretch and plays the next two on the road, starting at UMass on Saturday. The Flyers beat UMass 88-60 on Jan. 11 at UD Arena.
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