(Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
After being upset at La Salle, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team finishes out its road trip at league-leading Dayton on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for noon at UD Arena.
The host Flyers stand at 21-4, 11-2 in the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies come in at 17-7, with a 9-4 conference record. The teams have seven mutual victories in the league: UMass, Davidson, George Washington, Fordham, Saint Louis, George Mason and Rhode Island. Each has a curious loss to the last-place La Salle Explorers.
The last meeting between the schools on Jan. 19 at the Reilly Center was one of the strangest Bona games in recent memory. The Flyers outscored the Bonnies 45-18 in the first half, sending some fans to the exits. SBU didn’t quit, however, putting up 61 points in the second half, including 15 in the final two minutes, and falling by just six.
Backcourt duo Jaylen Adams and Marcus Posley combined for 50 second-half points in that contest. The team shot 54 percent (19-of-35) in the final 20 minutes.
“I think they have the best one-two guard punch in the league with Posley and Adams really being able to dominate the ball,” Dayton coach Archie Miller told David P. Jablonski of MyDayton Daily News.
Bona may have the best one-two punch in the league, but the Flyers have stellar guard play as well. Charles Cooke scored 21 points on SBU in their last matchup, while Darrell Davis had 11. In A-10 play this season, Cooke has averaged a team-leading 17.3 points a game, while Scoochie Smith leads in assists with 4.2.
The top Flyer forward, of course, is senior Dyshawn Pierre. Since returning to the team after a semester-long suspension, Pierre has been an all-around stud. The 6-foot-6 Canadian has scored 13.2 points, grabbed 7.7 boards and dished out 2.7 assists.
Cooke and Pierre both shoot 47 percent from the floor. Kendall Pollard, who is questionable for the game with a knee injury, is a 52 percent shooter. The Flyers rank second in the A-10 in shooting percentage at 47 percent and second in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent.
For the Bonnies to steal their first win at the UD Arena since 2002, rebounding will be a key. Miller’s club is second in the league in rebounding margin at plus-5.8, while Bona is ninth at a one-board deficit.
Bonaventure’s successful season could add another chapter if it could pull off the upset on Saturday. The team’s nine A-10 wins are tied for third all-time in program history. A win would match last year’s team, the 2011-12 team, the 1985-86 team and the 1982-83 squad’s 10-win efforts. The game will air on NBC Sports Network.