Dayton holds off Butler’s late run in Bahamas, 69-64

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Sean McDermott #22 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during semifinals of the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Jalen Crutcher scored 20 points to help Dayton beat Butler 69-64 in Wednesday night’s first round at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Josh Cunningham added 18 points for the Flyers (4-0), who shot 54 percent and never trailed. Dayton closed the first half with seven straight points to take a 37-26 lead and led by 15 points before holding off a late surge by the Bulldogs (3-1).

Cunningham, a preseason all-Atlantic 10 first-team pick, missed the first two games with a hand injury suffered in practice. He had 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting in last week’s debut against Purdue Fort Wayne, and then made 7 of 11 shots while pulling down eight rebounds Wednesday.

Paul Jorgensen and Sean McDermott each scored 18 points to lead Butler. High-scoring guard Kamar Baldwin finished with 11 on 5-for-17 shooting after coming in averaging 23.3 points.

Butler shot 40 percent, including 7 of 23 from 3-point range.

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