(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The age-old saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” was flipped on Tuesday night at the Reilly Center when the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and Dayton Flyers faced off.
On this night, the final result, an 85-79 Dayton win, had everything to do with how Bona started the game.
The Bonnies stared a 45-18 deficit in the face as they headed into the locker room at halftime, a performance that had a portion of the previously-fired up student section heading for the exits. It looked like the second half was going to feature more of the same, as Dayton led by 31 points with 13:07 remaining.
After the seemingly insurmountable hole Bona found itself in, coach Mark Schmidt’s team started playing the way a team that had won four of its five A-10 contests should play. SBU got aggressive, scoring an astounding 61 second-half points, including ten threes. In the second session, the Bonnies outrebounded the Flyers 19-12, scored 14 points off turnovers and registered 18 points in the paint.
Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams, a duo Flyers coach Archie Miller called, “as good as any in the country,” scored just four points apiece in the first half but combined for 50 in the second. The rest of the team combined for just 21, and centers Derrick Woods and Jordan Tyson did not register a point despite combining for 21 minutes of play.
“We didn’t get a point from our bigs,” Schmidt said. “You’ve got to get some easy baskets… we can’t be solely a perimeter team.”
Despite his team’s large lead midway through the second half, Miller was not satisfied, mostly because Dayton had been in the same situation before. After a 27-4 lead on Arkansas after 10 minutes of play on Dec. 30, the Flyers found themselves down by four in the middle of overtime before surviving with an 85-81 win. Letting a lead slip from their grasp was not unusual for this group.
“I know my crew,” Miller said. “Until that horn sounded, we were never safe… our older guys aren’t doing as well as I would’ve expected them to do in key situations on offense and defense.
“I thought we did a nice job in the first half of impacting their perimeter players from getting to the basket, and when they did I thought we had bodies in front of them- the second half not so much.”
Posley’s 31-point game was his fourth career game with 30 or more points, and his five three-pointers tied for a season-high. He has shot 17-of-37 from the floor in the last two games, including a 9-of-17 clip from three, but the losing result left him and the team disappointed.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Posley said. “I don’t think anyone on our team likes losing. If we would have stepped up and played the way we’re capable of playing in the first half, this game would’ve been ten times different, but that’s what happens when you have a slow start.”
The Bonnies have come out stagnant offensively over the past three games, shooting just 34.2 percent in the first half.
“We came out lax, and they’re a really, really unselfish team,” said Adams. “When you run into a team like that, you can’t let dribble-penetration happen or fast breaks, anything like that.
“They got going early and we had no answer.”