Flyers open A10 tourney with win against Rhode Island

Sports

RICHMOND, Va. – Ibi Watson scored a season-high 25 points, while Jalen Crutcher added 14 points and seven assists to lead the University of Dayton men’s basketball team to an 84-72 win over Rhode Island in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship.

Dayton, 14-8 on the season, will face the tournament’s second-seed VCU Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

First Half: Dayton 40, Rhode Island 31

· Dayton scored the first five points of the game, but Rhode Island worked its way back to tie the game at 7-7 with 14:42 to go.

· The Rams led at the next two media breaks – 13-9 at 10:51 and 18-17 at 7:25.

· UD got the lead back to have a 30-26 advantage with 2:31, and then in the final 1:04 of the half, the Flyers scored eight unanswered points to lead 40-31.

· Dayton shot 47% (7-15) from the three, made all seven of its free throws and outrebounded Rhode Island 20-16 in the first half.

· Ibi Watson (14 points), Jalen Crutcher (12) and R.J. Blakney (8) combined for 34 of Dayton’s 40 points.

Second Half: Dayton 84, Rhode Island 72

· URI chipped away at Dayton’s lead, cutting it to 48-41 with 15:38 left, and 56-50 after a Zimi Nwokeji free throw at 11:24.

· Then a 5-0 Ram run made it a one-point game inside 11 minutes to go.

· The Flyers responded with an 8-0 spurt, and a 10-1 overall run to regain control.

· Eight of the 10 points came from freshmen. Nwokeji hit a big and-one, Koby Brea drained a corner three, and after a layup by senior Jordy Tshimanga, Mustapha Amzil hit another layup to make it 66-56 with 7:35 to go.

· Rhody scored a fast-break bucket to get the margin under 10, but Brea hit another three to push Dayton’s lead to double digits for the remainder of the game.

BY THE NUMBERS

· Six Flyers scored at least eight points in the game.

· In addition to Ibi Watson’s 25 and Jalen Crutcher’s 14, four freshmen combined for another 39 points.

· Mustapha Amzil scored 14 (12 in the second half), Zimi Nwokeji had nine (all in the second half), Koby Brea scored eight points (six in the second half) and R.J. Blakney had eight (all in the first half).

· Amzil made all five of his two-point shots (5-6 FG overall) and all four of his free throws.

· Rodney Chatman and Crutcher each had seven assists to lead UD.

· Dayton won the battle of the boards 35-30. Seven players grabbed at least three rebounds, led by Jordy Tshimanga’s seven. Brea grabbed a career-best six boards, and three of Blakney’s four were on the offensive glass.

UP NEXT

· Dayton advances to the A-10 quarterfinals to face VCU at the Ram’s Siegel Center.

· The UD-VCU winner advances to the tournament semifinals on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.

· The Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship Game will be played at the University of Dayton Arena on Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET.

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