ATLANTA (AP) — Jalen Crutcher scored 23 points, making four of six free throws in the last 15 seconds but wasn’t alone in claiming his nickname of Jalen Clutch-er as Dayton rallied to edge Mississippi State 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event.
Ibi Watson added 21 points and dropped clutch 3-pointers throughout both overtime periods, also making 8 of 9 from the foul line with five assists. A pair of Watson 3s tied the game at 78 and then gave Dayton (3-1) an 81-78 lead it never surrendered.
The game was a battle throughout with 19 lead changes and a dozen ties. Dayton finished the final OT 3-for-3 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the line. Mississippi State (3-3) didn’t get to the line at all in the final five minutes.
D.J. Stewart Jr. led the Bulldogs with a career-high 32 points, Iverson Molinar added 20 and Tolu Smith 13. Molinar dished seven assists.
Molinar went coast-to-coast for a jump shot that forced the first overtime at 64-all, and Dayton freshman R.J. Blakeney hit a 3-pointer, his first points and just his second shot of the game, to force the second OT at 72-all.
There were no fans in the 21,000-seat State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. It was the first time Dayton has defeated Mississippi State in four meetings.
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