Rhode Island broke open a close game in the second half and routed Dayton 81-56 on Friday at the Ryan Center, clinching the outright Atlantic 10 regular-season title for the first time.
Confetti rained from the ceiling as the players celebrated with the student section. The No. 18 Rams improved to 23-4 and 15-1 with two games remaining.
Dayton (13-15, 7-9) fell from a tie for sixth place into ninth place.
The Rams outscored Dayton 45-22 in the second half. Jeff Downtin led Rhode Island with 20 points. E.C. Matthews scored 18.
Jalen Crutcher led Dayton with 12 points. He had only two points in the second half. Trey Landers added 10.
Rhode Island shot 54.1 percent from the field. Dayton shot 43.5 percent. Turnovers were Dayton’s biggest issue all night. It finished with 22.
A single piece of confetti fell to the court during the national anthem. Now I know why. Rhode Island celebrating its first A-10 title with all the confetti falling after an 81-56 win over Dayton. pic.twitter.com/bppUxcjxbA— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) February 24, 2018
The Dayton Flyers led for most of the first half but found themselves on the wrong end of a 36-34 deficit at halftime Friday against No. 18 Rhode Island at the Ryan Center.
Dayton’s star: Jalen Crutcher scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting but also committed four turnovers. He had three turnovers in the last two minutes.
Rhode Island’s star: Jeff Dowtin scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Key stat: Dayton committed 13 turnovers. Rhode Island had five.
Big run: Dayton led 30-25 with three minutes to play. Rhode Island ended the half on an 11-4 run.
Foul trouble: Darrell Davis is the only Dayton player with two fouls. Jarvis Garrett has two fouls for Rhode Island.
Block party: Dayton blocked four shots. Kostas Antetokounmpo had two blocks, and Trey Landers had two.
Lineup news: Xeyrius Williams didn’t make the trip to Rhode Island for the game. He’s not playing for the fifth time in the last six games.
Big picture: Rhode Island has already clinched a share of the A-10 title and can win the championship outright with a victory Friday. Dayton entered the game tied for sixth with three teams.