Toppin, No. 4 Dayton survive scare at George Mason

Toppin, No. 4 Dayton survive scare at George Mason
Dayton's Obi Toppin (1) passes the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against George Mason, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Obi Toppin had 19 points and seven rebounds as No. 4 Dayton survived a sluggish performance to beat George Mason 62-55 on Tuesday night and clinch at least a share of the Atlantic 10 regular-season title with three games to play.

Toppin, a redshirt sophomore and one of the leading candidates for National Player of the Year, scored 13 of his 19 points after halftime for the Flyers (26-2, 15-0 Atlantic 10), who own the country’s longest winning streak at 17 games.

Jalen Crutcher had 13 points as Dayton finished shooting 50% from the field.

AJ Wilson led George Mason (15-13, 4-11) with 18 points. Jordan Miller added 13 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season.

Dayton — the highest ranked team to ever play at George Mason — led for the entire first half but wasn’t able to shake George Mason. The Flyers led 30-25 at the break.

Mason scored the first five points of the second half and eventually took their its first lead of the game at 34-32 on Wilson’s jumper with 15:10 left.

Back-and-forth play followed until Dayton went on an 8-0 run to go up 49-41 with just under eight minutes remaining. Toppin had four points during that spurt, including a thunderous baseline dunk.

Mason cut it to 59-57 on Xavier Johnson’s layup with 1:18 left, but Dayton answered right back with a floater from Ibi Watson to give the Flyers a four-point lead.

BIG PICTURE

Dayton: The Flyers continued their best ever start after securing their highest ranking since being ranked third in the final four polls of the 1955-56 season.

George Mason: After starting the season 11-1, the Patriots have gone 4-12. Mason needs another win to avoid matching its worst conference win total since joining the Atlantic 10 for the 2013-14 season. Mason has never defeated a ranked team at home (0-9).

UP NEXT

Dayton: Hosts Davidson on Friday. The Flyers are 15-0 at home this season.

George Mason: At Duquesne on Saturday. The Patriots have lost five of their last six against the Dukes.

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