The Dayton Flyers took on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies twice this year. The teams split the exciting season series 1-1. While both games were close, they yielded very different results. I have a feeling a third game between the two teams would definitely be welcomed. Hopefully they face off again in the A10 tournament. Meanwhile, time to take a closer look at how these games went down and their major NCAA tournament implications.
In their first matchup this season, Dayton traveled to St. Bonaventure for a Tuesday night showdown. The Flyers dominated the first 20 minutes and took a commanding 45-18 lead into halftime. Dayton extended their lead to as much as 30 in the 2nd half before the Bonnies started a furious comeback. While St. Bonaventure put up a fight, Dayton was too much, winning the game 85-79. This win helped Dayton move itself into the lock column regarding an NCAA tournament berth. The Bonnies would have benefited tremendously from a win over Dayton, however, with so much time left in the season, they had no need to worry.
The final game of this year’s Dayton-Bonaventure series took place Saturday at UD Arena. From the very start of this game, the tides seemed to have turned. St. Bonaventure jumped out to an early 15-5 lead and stayed hot the whole game. They shot 50% from three as a team and Jaylen Adams scored an impressive 31 points. After Adams hit a go-ahead three with 30 seconds left, the Bonnies realized they might pick up a much-needed, quality win. St. Bonaventure did indeed hold on to beat Dayton 79-72. This road victory over the country’s #15 team will go a long way in helping the Bonnies resume for March. Since Dayton is already a lock for the tournament as presumably a 4 or 5 seed, the recent loss will not hurt the Flyers too much.
A recent loss to La Salle could hinder St. Bonaventure’s tournament hopes, however, the win over Dayton might put them on the right side of the bubble. Splitting the season series between these two helps the conference in general. Dayton’s win pushed them into the tournament lock column while the Bonnies latest victory helps their resume. As a team on the always feared bubble, quality wins are essential. After Saturday’s game, Dayton head coach Archie Miller gave St. Bonaventure a lot of credit. He said “I think St. Bonaventure will keep on trucking, I hope they get in the NCAA tournament, I think they have a tournament type team.” Lets hope the Bonnies find a way into the tournament. With the talented guards they have, St. Bonaventure is certainly capable of making a run in March. They next take on Duquesne looking to pick up another nice win Wednesday night. Dayton will travel to Saint Louis Tuesday night, seeking their 22nd win of the season. With Kendall Pollard sidelined due to injury, coach Miller said Steve McElvene will be back in the starting lineup as Dayton looks to earn a high seed in this year’s NCAA tournament.