I was way overserved last night, so this recap had almost no chance of being written.
Luckily, FOB Ray Floriani stepped up and filed this report from last night’s victory.
Brooklyn, NY– This one was a little personal. Impartiality rules. ‘No cheering in the press box’. Regardless, the alma mater was lining up against Dayton in this quarterfinal meeting at Barclays Center. St. Bonaventure was the opposition.
Dayton handled the Bonnies in both their meetings this season. The third time out the result was the same but a different style game. Dayton prevailed 75-71 in a hard fought contest.
Coming into the game the feeling here was that the Bonnies had to defend the perimeter and limit transition. Interestingly Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt listed those as priorities in his post game presser. Dayton mentor Archie Miller did not discuss game plans in any great detail but the feeling here was the Flyers had to put the memory of the LaSalle game away. But remember from that one, turnovers are an offensive albatross.
Bonnies did a decent job on man to man perimeter defense. They lost the fast break points 21-4, mostly due to their own turnovers. Bonnies entered the game with a healthy under 20% turnover rate. Tonight that rate was 25% and they paid dearly.
Dayton had a good turnover rate of 13%. A vast improvement over LaSalle (a 22% debacle). Thought it was humorous as Millier discussed beating a team a third time in a season. “They say it’s tough to defeat a team three times,” Miller said. “but if you did it twice you know it can be done again.”
Miller did credit the Bonnie shooting, a sizzling 58%. Individually Dion Wright (missed one shot all night) with 24 and Marcus Posley (26) gave the Flyers fits.
Kendall Pollard was as responsible as anyone for the Dayton advancement to the semis. The sophomore forward was a huge matchup problem. He can play on the perimeter inside and runs the floor well. Pollard tied Mosey for game scoring honors with 26. Jordan Sibert added 19 but did miss a few free throws in the stretch. Scoochie Smith drew praise from Miller. Not just for 11 points but 6 assists zero turnovers at the point.
Waning seconds, Bonnies down two pushing the ball. Yours truly felt they should have held it for a potential game winning three. If I have a higher seed opponent that swept me twice I rather roll the dice for the game winner. Overtime, in that case, is not a desired option. Bonnies opted to penetrate, lost the ball and Dayton converted the other end for the final margin.
Miller seemed please bouncing back from the La Salle loss and taking the best shot from a hot shooting Bonaventure club. Bonnies end it with 18 wins, 6 of their last 8 and Schmidt hopes for some post season invite.
Great to reconnect with Bona alums and friends. Also a pleasure to see the Gem City media types and Dayton media personnel.
The obligatory cheer shot. Took it at halftime. Kristina (a Dayton grad and former cheerleader) the cheer coach remembered me from last year. She thought last year’s article was in good taste and the picture was great. She asked for no bad things to be said about her group. I said as a guest writer the BR editorial board would approve. Then one of her ladies said “you are writing for the Blackburn Review, that’s totally cool.” A cheer ‘reader’ of the BR. Nice. Took the shot on the floor by the Bonnie section. Told the ladies I am a Bona grad and hope the alums don’t ‘excommunicate’ me. They didn’t and probably approved as ‘we’ had a 36-34 halftime lead.
UD faces a solid Rhode Island team this afternoon. Winner gets a matchup with VCU for the Atlantic Ten Championship. BE LOWD.