February 24, 2018 / 2:27 AM / 3 months ago

No. 18 URI tops Dayton to clinch first-ever Atlantic 10 championship

Jeff Dowtin stayed hot with a game-high 20 points to lead No. 18 Rhode Island to its first-ever Atlantic 10 regular-season championship with an 81-56 win against Dayton on Friday night at Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I.

Dowtin had a career-high 25 points with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in the Rams’ 95-93 overtime victory at La Salle on Tuesday. That game put Rhode Island back in the win column after an upset loss at St. Bonaventure ended its nation-leading 16-game winning streak.

E.C. Matthews added 18 points and Jared Terrell had 17 for URI. The Rams, who had clinched a share of the Atlantic 10 title on Tuesday, improved to 23-4 overall and 15-1 in the Atlantic 10, giving them a new program record for conference victories.

Jalen Crutcher had 12 points and Trey Landers finished with 10 points and 10 boards to lead Dayton (13-15, 7-9), which had won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 9-12 before Friday’s setback.

Flyers leading scorer and rebounder Josh Cunningham, who led all scorers with 32 points in Dayton’s 88-74 loss to Rhode Island on Jan. 20, was limited to five points on 2-of-5 shooting and four boards this time.

Dayton was just 3-of-18 from 3-point range while Rhode Island shot 7 for 19.

Rhode Island made eight of its first nine shots to open the second half, extending its lead to 57-42 with just under 12 minutes to play.

The Flyers were within a point, down 39-38, after a Landers layup with 18:01 to play, but Dowtin and Matthews combined to score all of the points in the Rams’ 10-0 run that broke the game open.

The Rams led 36-34 at halftime.

Rhode Island faces Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday in its final home game. Dayton is at La Salle on Wednesday.

—Field Level Media

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