DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Ibi Watson scored a career-high 30 points in his first start, and No. 18 Dayton recovered from its second loss of the season by beating Grambling State 81-53 on Monday night.
The Flyers (10-2) were missing point guard Jalen Crutcher, who fell and hit his head during a 78-76 overtime loss to Colorado on Saturday. Dayton shuffled its guard rotation, and Watson made an immediate impact as a starter for the first time this season.
The junior had 15 points in the opening half, three shy of his career high. Watson scored 10 during a 17-2 run that put the Flyers ahead.
The Tigers (6-7) cut a 20-point deficit to 52-42 midway through the second half before Rodney Chatman hit a pair of 3-pointers and Watson had a four-point play that put the Flyers back in control. Chatman added 17 points.
Watson went 4 of 5 from beyond the arc while becoming the first Flyer to score 30 points since Josh Cunningham had 32 against Rhode Island on Jan. 20, 2018.
Kelton Edwards had 13 points for Grambling State, which went only 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.
The Tigers suffered an early setback when 7-foot-1 center Travon Bunch picked up three fouls — including a technical — in the first 10 minutes. He and Dayton's Ryan Mikesell got tangled up while going for a rebound and had to be separated by the officials. A few seconds later, Bunch got a technical for something he said.
Bunch finished with two points and one rebound in 11 minutes.
The Flyers fell five spots from No. 13 after their loss to Colorado. The No. 13 ranking was their highest since December 1968, when they were No. 6.
Grambling State: The Tigers are in a lull in their schedule — one game in 17 days. They hadn't played since Dec. 17, when they lost at Marquette 93-72. They don't play again until Jan. 4.
Dayton: The Flyers' last four home games were wins over Houston Baptist (99-68), Drake (78-47), North Texas (71-58) and Grambling. They finish their nonconference schedule by hosting North Florida next week.
Grambling State hosts Alabama A&M on Jan. 4.
Dayton hosts North Florida on Dec. 30.
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