By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies lost another heartbreaker on Saturday afternoon, 72-69 to the Dayton Flyers. Here are some quick-hitters from the game:
Another Close Loss: The Bonnies have lost their six conference games by a combined 26 points, with the last three coming by three points or fewer. The problem all year has been an inability to close games, and this one was just another example.
Crucial Plays: The deciding play of the Dayton win came with 16 seconds left. With the shot clock expiring, Jordan Sibert missed a three-point jumper, but Devin Oliver grabbed the offensive rebound. The Flyers took advantage of the fresh shot clock and extended the lead to three on two Oliver free throws after Dion Wright was forced to foul.
After that, Dayton wisely fouled the Bonnies before they were able to tie the game with a three. A questionable no-call on Charlon Kloof’s shot at the buzzer sent the Bona fans home disappointed.
Foul or no foul?: Kloof thought he was fouled, and there was definitely some contact on the final shot. Realistically, there wasn’t a good chance of the referees calling that. Either way, the Oliver offensive rebound was a killer for the Bonnies’ chances.
Oliver Steps Up for Dayton: Devin Oliver had a very rough first half, with three quick fouls and zero points. But he came alive and contributed in the second, with 15 points and four clutch free throws with the game on the line. Without Oliver’s production and clutch performance from the stripe, Dayton probably doesn’t pull it off.
Ndoye and Kloof Shine in Defeat: Despite the loss, Youssou Ndoye had 17 points on 6-6 shooting from the field, adding seven rebounds and five blocks as well. Charlon Kloof also scored 17, on 6-11 shooting (3-4 from three). Ndoye’s production has greatly increased in conference play, and he continues to improve each game. Kloof is still the anchor for this Bonaventure team, and he will need to stay consistent for the Bonnies to get out of this funk.
Great Atmosphere: The Bonaventure alumni and students showed up in droves for the Homecoming matchup. The announced attendance was 5,344, the highest all season and just shy of full capacity. The crowd continues to make this one of the most difficult places to play in college basketball, and they were tremendous on Saturday afternoon.
Dayton coach Archie Miller: “I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in a great environment like the Reilly Center. Today was a big day”
Miller continued: “We decided to foul at the end because we didn’t want to lose on a three-point shot.”
Coach Mark Schmidt: “Oliver’s a great player who made some big-time plays down the stretch. Dayton has some great players who are hard to stop.”
Schmidt continued: “It came down to one play, just like some of the others have. We just need to keep working on making plays down the stretch.”
Youssou Ndoye: “It obviously hurts when you try so hard and you lose close games like that. I played well but I missed a crucial free throw on the one-and-one, and we made some mistakes in the last few minutes that lost the game.”
In conclusion, it was another heartbreaker for the Bonnies, who continue to search for the answers in crunch time. The next few games are even more important now, and are all going to be classified as must-wins. They must win at Fordham and George Mason, the cellar-dwellers of the conference, and definitely need to improve their seeding situation by winning the rest of the games at home.
This season is still far from over, but the Bonnies need to learn to pull out some of the tight ones if they hope to go deep in the A-10 tournament.