By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
It’s Homecoming Weekend at St. Bonaventure University, and the centerpiece of the events is the basketball game this afternoon. The 13-9 St. Bonaventure Bonnies will try to rebound from another heartbreaking road loss when they host the 15-8 Dayton Flyers at 4 at the Reilly Center.
This is another game with major seeding implications in the A-10, with Dayton currently eighth in the conference standings and St. Bonaventure ninth. The teams are both 3-5 in league play, which makes this game extremely important if they hope to move up in the bracket as the regular season starts to hit the home stretch. Who’s got the edge tomorrow? Let’s break it down!
St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 101-104 as Bonnies coach, 1-5 vs Dayton.
Dayton: Archie Miller. 52-35 as Dayton coach, 2-1 vs St. Bonaventure.
Key players for Dayton:
Jordan Sibert- 6-4 junior guard. The Ohio State transfer leads the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting from the field. Sibert possesses a nice three-point stroke (43.7 percent) and is excellent at limiting turnovers (only about one per game). The individual matchup with Bonnies guard Matthew Wright will be very interesting since they share similar styles of play.
Devin Oliver- 6-7 senior forward. An athletic forward who also averages 12 points per game for the Flyers, adding 6.8 rebounds per contest as well. Will have to avoid foul trouble for the run-and-gun Flyers to win this game. Look for the matchup with him and Marquise Simmons today.
Dyshawn Pierre- 6-6 sophomore forward. His 11.6 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per contest give Dayton plenty of production and are a big reason they’ve been competitive in nearly every game this year. Like Oliver, he is very long, very quick and knows how to go strong to the rack. Simply put, he’s a matchup nightmare the Bonnies will need to keep tabs on every second he’s on the court.
Keys to victory:
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies will need to come out with a high level of intensity in this one. Dayton is an extremely talented team that will try to quiet the expected sellout crowd from the jump. They will try to use their length, quickness and strength to overpower Bonaventure and send their fans home empty. If the Bonnies don’t respond with resilience and fail to execute, the Flyers will capitalize and get their wish. Coach Schmidt’s team can’t let that happen. They have to match and even exceed Dayton’s level of intensity, play mistake-free ball and grab the W.
Dayton: The Flyers have to limit turnovers, rebound and shoot the ball well to win. On the road, especially with all the Bonaventure alumni coming up for the game, they cannot allow this game to get away from them in the first half. If they keep it close and play mistake-free ball, they’re going to head back to Ohio with a loss.
The Prediction: A homecoming game with a crowd like the Wolfpack still riding cloud nine from the UMass game and the Bonnies’ alumni network coming back to reconnect and show the current students how it’s done gives the Bonnies a huge advantage. If I’ve learned anything from this season, it’s to never pick against them at home. SBU will pull off a close win against an evenly matched Dayton team.
St. Bonaventure 67, Dayton 58