By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies won some thrilling nail-biters in the 2014-15 basketball season. On Friday night, however, they just didn’t have enough as they fell 75-71 to the Dayton Flyers in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.
Unlike Thursday night’s game against St. Joseph’s, the Bonnies had a very strong first half. They shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including a 4-of-9 mark from long range. Dion Wright, who had made one three all season before the game, hit two triples in the span of two minutes to give Bona a huge boost. Marcus Posley led all scorers with 16 points going into the break, including two threes and 4-of-4 foul shooting.
Wright was able to continue his incredible shooting night in the second half, when he hit two more threes and scored 12 more points, giving himself 24 for the game. Posley added 10 more points in the second half to give himself a team-leading of 26.
“Dion couldn’t have played better, Marcus couldn’t have played better,” Schmidt said.
“Coming into the game, we knew the game plan,” Posley said. “We knew we were going to have to shoot the ball a lot better than we did the first two times we met them and depend on the three-point line.”
Bona led 67-66 with a minute and a half to go when Andell Cumberbatch saw his layup roll out and Flyers guard Jordan Sibert hit a three to put Dayton up three with a minute to go. On Bona’s next possession, Denzel Gregg was unable to connect with Posley on a pass, resulting in a Sibert steal and score to put the Flyers up five.
Posley went up the middle for a quick layup with 39 seconds to play, followed by an intentional foul that sent Sibert to the line. He made one of two and Posley made a layup to cut the Flyer lead to one. Sibert made one of two foul shots once again, giving SBU one more possession down 73-71. Posley drove to the basket but Kendall Pollard stole the ball, leading to a Kyle Davis layup to ice the game for Dayton.
“Seeing the gap, (I) thought I could make a basket,” Posley said. “Unfortunately he got his hand on the ball.
“Unfortunately it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to, but proud of the guys. It was a great effort today.”
Bona committed 16 turnovers in total, eight more than the Flyers. The lack of ball protection was a large part of Bonaventure’s undoing in the end.
Unless the Bonnies accept an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), which they did not do last year, this game was the last in the college careers of seniors Youssou Ndoye, Andell Cumberbatch and Chris Dees.
Ndoye, who was hobbled by a knee injury for much of the game, finishes his four-year Bonaventure career with 967 career points, 697 rebounds and 204 blocks. Cumberbatch and Dees were junior college transfers. Cumberbatch scored 558 points over his two years and Dees scored 85 in his.
“(It’s) most disappointing for the seniors because you know it’s the end and (you know) how much work you put in… and you build up such great relationships with them,” Schmidt said.
The Bonnies finish the season at 18-13. They made the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in two of the last three years.