MBB: Bonnies stumble to regular-season finish line with loss to Dayton

photo by Jeremy Castro

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — In the end, it proved to be too much.

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team was 20 minutes away from finishing the 2020-21 season undefeated at home. A one-point halftime lead was quickly erased as the game’s second stanza began, however, as Dayton (13-8, 9-7 A-10) went on a 13-2 run to start the half and take the lead for good.

Despite a late-game Bona comeback and a chance to tie the game in its last possession, SBU (13-4, 11-4 A-10) failed to come all the way back, and fell to the Flyers, 55-52, at the Reilly Center on Monday.

“(Dayton) played well defensively, and they did a good job of keeping us out of the paint,” SBU head coach Mark Schmidt said. “I thought we were sluggish; heavy-legged. We missed some shots. Shots we ordinarily make.”

Despite a poor offensive performance that saw them shoot 30% from the field and 29% from 3-point range, the Bonnies clawed back into the game late in the second half and brought the deficit to as little as two points (52-50) on a Dominick Welch 3-pointer with three minutes remaining.

After the teams traded baskets and Ibi Watson hit one of two free throws for the Flyers, SBU got the ball with 10 seconds to play, trailing by three. Junior forward Jalen Adaway got an open look from beyond the arc, but missed in the game’s waning seconds, leaving the Flyers victorious.

“I thought we had a great look,” Schmidt said. “In terms of getting an open look, I thought we got (one) that we wanted. They knew that we needed to hit a three so it’s always hard to get really open looks, but I thought that was a really good look. He made a good stroke on it, he just missed it.”

Adaway scored a game-high 17 points while shooting 3-of-7 from distance and pulling down four rebounds. Junior forward/center Osun Osunniyi churned out 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks while junior guard Kyle Lofton scored nine points and handed out six assists.

“We’ve been down before and we’ve come back,” Schmidt said. “(Dayton) did a good job keeping us out of the paint, and at times, we took quick shots. They beat us in the paint, 24-20, and it’s usually the other way around.”

Dayton narrowly out-rebounded the Bonnies, 36-32, and although the Flyers committed 11 more turnovers than the Bonnies, they shot nearly 45% from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Watson scored 14 points to lead the Flyers, while RJ Blakney and Mustapha Amzil each scored nine points.

SBU held Jalen Crutcher, Dayton’s leading scorer, to six points before he fouled out with just under four minutes to play.

“I thought we played really hard, we just didn’t do a good job of executing, making shots,” Schmidt said. “Four games in nine days is a lot to ask, but at the same time, give Dayton credit. They played well enough to win.”

Before the game, the late Dr. Dennis DePerro, SBU’s 21st president, was honored with a moment of silence. DePerro passed away Sunday evening after battling COVID-19 for more than two months.

“He was a great man and a great leader, and he did amazing things here in his short stay,” Schmidt said of DePerro, who became university president in 2017. “He really supported athletics, especially men’s basketball, and we lost a great guy… he’s going to be hard to replace. It was a hard day today.”

SBU will now look ahead to the Atlantic 10 tournament, in which it will be the No. 1 seed. The Bonnies will get a chance to recuperate with three days off after playing four games in nine days to end their regular season.

While Bona’s A-10 quarterfinal opponent will be determined on Thursday, the Bonnies are locked into Friday’s 11 a.m. time slot. They’ll await the winner of No. 8 Richmond and No. 9 Duquesne.

“We’ve got to get our legs back,” Schmidt said. “It’s the end of the year; we’ve been practicing since whenever it’s been. It’s getting our guys the rest that they need, and then bouncing back and hopefully they can play well on Friday.”

MBB: A-10 regular season champion Bonnies look to finish strong against Dayton

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — After a weekend of celebration, the newly crowned Atlantic 10 regular season champions have their last test before postseason play begins.  

Thanks to a 65-57 win by Davidson over VCU, St. Bonaventure clinched its first outright conference title in school history without even playing a game.  

“For them to be the first team to win an outright Atlantic 10 title speaks volumes about the type of players and the type of team we have,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “I think we have a program that we’ve built, that has been sustained over time.” 

Schmidt and the Bonnies will look to cap an unprecedented season on a high note when they welcome the Dayton Flyers to the Reilly Center on Monday.  

Despite the triumphs of his team in the past week, Schmidt is adamant about finishing the right way. 

“We have more to do,” Schmidt said. “We’ve gotta keep on rolling.”  

The Flyers come into this matchup at 8-7 in the A-10 and 12-8 overall. Despite a recent loss to Saint Joseph’s, Dayton has shown it can handle the top teams in the league, evidenced by its 76-53 walloping of Saint Louis just over a week ago.

“They’re just a really good team,” Schmidt said. “You don’t beat Saint Louis by 23 by not having a good team.” 

Jalen Crutcher leads the way for the Flyers. One of the only returning pieces from last year’s historic nationally-ranked team, Crutcher is averaging 18.8 points per game and 4.9 assists per game, both of which lead the team.

“They’ve got one of the best players in the league in Crutcher,” Schmidt said. He’s the quarterback; as he goes, they go.” 

Given the excellent defense of the Bonnies against top guards recently, the matchup against Crutcher will be one to watch. SBU held Davidson guard Kellan Grady to two points on 1-of-7 shooting on Wednesday and A-10 leading scorer James Bishop of George Washington only mustered six points of 2-of-7 shooting on Friday.  

Another key piece for the Flyers is Ibi Watson, another returnee from last season. Watson averages 15.7 points per game and plays a much bigger role for Dayton than he did a season ago. 

“The kid Watson feeds off Crutcher and shoots the ball extremely well,” Schmidt said.  

Just like Bona, the Flyers are an excellent 3-point shooting team. They are second to St. Bonaventure in 3-point shooting percentage in the A-10, and they also boast the second-highest field goal percentage in the conference. 

If the Bonnies secure the win, they will finish the season undefeated at home. Schmidt noted the importance of earning a victory in the team’s last home game this season. 

“Being undefeated at home is gonna give us momentum going into the Atlantic 10 (tournament),” Schmidt said. “Forget about 8-0. We wanna be 1-0; that next game, we wanna have momentum.” 

St. Bonaventure has lost five straight games to Dayton, with its last win coming in February of 2016.  

The Flyers and the Bonnies tip off at 5 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPNU.  

“We accomplished one goal, and that was to win the Atlantic 10 regular season,” Schmidt said. “We’ve won something, but we wanna continue to win.” 

Men’s basketball: Dayton asserts dominance in win over Bona

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team has enough athleticism, strength and talent to compete with any team in the Atlantic 10.

Bona’s skills only make the Dayton Flyers’ 90-74 victory on Tuesday night more impressive. UD was able to expose the Bonnies’ biggest weakness, defending the three-point shot, to prove once again that it is the class of the conference.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Dayton asserts dominance in win over Bona”

Men’s basketball: Cooke or no Cooke, Bonnies in for battle with Dayton

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Dayton redshirt senior Charles Cooke is one of the most banged-up players in the Atlantic 10, but the 9-4 St. Bonaventure Bonnies are preparing for him like he’s healthy.

Cooke, the Flyers’ leading scorer with 18.7 points a game, is being called a “game-time decision” for tonight’s Dayton-Bonaventure game in the Reilly Center due to a back injury he suffered with just over three minutes left in UD’s Dec. 30 win over La Salle. The 6-foot-5 guard had just returned from a wrist injury that forced him to sit out Dayton’s Dec. 23 win over VMI.

Dayton Daily News columnist Tom Archdeacon said it took Cooke “a good three minutes” to walk from the court to the locker room, a walk able-bodied players complete in “a few second.” Coach Archie Miller was unsure of his star’s status in his postgame press conference, saying, “I suspect he could be out a little bit.”

The all-league first team and all-defensive team selection may have a 50-50 chance to play, but he did make the trip from Ohio to Olean, which means SBU is preparing for him to suit up.

“If he plays he plays, if he doesn’t he doesn’t,” said Bonnies forward Denzel Gregg, who has scored double-figure points in nine of the last 10 games. “We’re gameplanning like he’s gonna play, so if not we’ll deal with it when we get there.”

Cooke ranks seventh in the conference in scoring and shot 13-of-27 from the floor in UD’s two games against Bona last year, so his absence would be significant, especially considering the other injuries the 10-3 Flyers have had. Redshirt sophomore Josh Cunningham’s season may have ended after he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his ankle that he suffered coming down from a dunk in the second game of the year. Junior guard Darrell Davis missed the La Salle game with a hamstring injury.

However, the Flyers still have the talent to stay afloat and be a dangerous team, even if Cooke and Davis aren’t in uniform. Senior guard Scoochie Smith and classmate forward Kendall Pollard, who has overcome injuries of his own, are both double-figure scorers. Senior guard Kyle Davis scored 12 against La Salle, his sixth game with at least eight points in the last seven matchups against A-10 opponents.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Cooke or no Cooke, Bonnies in for battle with Dayton”