Jalen Crutcher scored 27 points to lead the visiting Dayton Flyers past the No. 22 Saint Louis Billikens 76-71 Tuesday night.
Ibi Watson scored 18 points and Elijah Weaver added 12 for the Flyers (9-4, 5-3 Atlantic 10 Conference).
Javonte Perkins led Billikens (7-2, 0-1) with 20 points. Hasahn French had 16 points and Jordan Goodwin had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
This was the A-10 opener for the Billikens, who have been sidelined since Dec. 23. due to a sweeping COVID-19 issue within their program. Their first seven league games were postponed.
They remained nationally ranked during their hiatus due to their nonconference victories over LSU and North Carolina State.
Crutcher came into the game averaging 18.3 points, but he scored just four points in the 66-43 loss to VCU Saturday. He reestablished himself by hitting two 3-point jumpers in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game.
That sent the Flyers soaring to a 12-4 lead. The Billikens responded with an 8-2 surge -- with four different scorers -- to steady themselves.
After Saint Louis cut the lead to 24-22, the Flyers made an 8-0 run to push their advantage to 30-22. Watson's 3-pointer was the key shot of the sequence.
Despite missing 5 of 6 shots from 3-point range and committing seven first-half turnovers, the Billikens trailed by just five points at the half, 36-31.
The teams traded baskets early in the second half, with the Billikens getting within two points and the Flyers edging ahead by seven points.
Dayton moved ahead 49-40 with Watson hitting two 3-pointers during a 7-0 surge. The Billikens countered with a 10-3 run triggered by Marten Linssen's three-point play to tie the game 53-53.
But Crutcher had the late answer, as he has so many times in his career. He hit a 3-pointer, got to the basket for a scoop shot, hit another three and then converted a three-point play on another drive to the basket.
The Flyers hit six free throws in the final minute of the game to close out the victory.
--Field Level Media