St. Bonnie came into this game down two starters and in the midst of a 2-6 run that all but erased any chance of Mark Schmidt sleeping easy this season (I’m being a bit hyperbolic, I’m pretty sure Schmidt is beyond giving a shit at this point in his career). Regardless, this game had a little bit of everything: a Dayton opponent scoring a career-high, Chips Mikesell rising to the occasion, two overtime periods, a skirmish before halftime and Anthony Grant going Miami Vice, sporting a tight white t-shirt under a blazer. It was almost too much to handle.
The first five minutes of this game were completely unwatchable. Missed layups, bricked threes in transition, guys falling over each other, scared fans trying to escape the cold. It was the A10 conference at its peak. Eventually things sorted itself out and Dayton began to get easy looks around the hoop and jumped out to a 18-9 lead at the nine minute mark.
Who does Anthony Grant think he is with this white shirt and suit look? The balls on this dude. Have to respect it.
— The Bona Blog (@BonaBlog) January 19, 2019
The Flyers did what the Flyers do over the remaining minutes of the first half. Quick threes (UD was 3-of-12 from deep during the first twenty minutes), ineffective passes around the perimeter and lazy defense around the basket. Bonaventure slowly creeped back into the game and went on a 14-5 run to close out the last five minutes of the first frame (I know, you are probably as shocked as I am that UD let its opponent go on a run to close the half. Shocking).
Dayton went zone at the 6:19 mark up by 5. Trail by 3 at the half.
— Steven Wright (@Steven_Wright_) January 19, 2019
Somehow, someway, the Bonnies were up 34-31 at the break and it was beginning to look like yet another underwhelming conference road performance for Anthony Grant’s squad. There were even some fisticuffs to end the half, but the gotdamn A10 network turned away from the action and we were all denied what would have been the most exciting action of the contest. Note to all broadcasters — we want to see guys throw hands!
“Let the kids play!” – CYO Moms and Anthony Grant
— Delete. 🚨 (@_delete_it_fat) January 19, 2019
The Flyers came out in love with the three early in the second half, and it went as expected. The Bonnies, primarily through the shooting of Courtney Stockard, knocked down shots and jumped out to a eight point lead at the twelve minute mark. The Flyer sluggishness continued and deep three by Stockard pushed the margin to ten for the Bonnies with eight minutes remaining in the game. Stockard was running off simple screens all afternoon and getting great looks, the senior forward simply kept getting buckets.
If Stockard gets another clean look in this game, bench everyone. Win or lose, absolutely the poorest showing from UD this season.
— Sully (@sullymygoodname) January 19, 2019
With five minutes to go, your Flyers were down just five. And then…the Bonnies melted down offensively. Turnovers led to easy UD buckets and all of a sudden, the Flyers were down just one with three minutes left in the game. Fate intervened as Stockard went down with cramps, allowing the Flyers to jump out to the lead on a deep three by Jalen Crutcher with just under two minutes left.
Crutcher is a bad possession saver.
— Adam (@adam_gutheil) January 19, 2019
Dayton found itself down one with 41 seconds left. A timeout by AG got Obi Toppin an nice easy look for a bucket and the Bonnies were against the wall, down one with thirty ticks to go. SBU drew a foul, converted a free-throw and the game was all knotted at SIXTY NINE. Grant called another timeout with 4.4 seconds on the clock, but the magic was gone — a long, contested three by Jalen Crutcher was short and we were, unfortunately, headed to overtime.
It looked like the Bonnies weren’t built for 45 minutes, but give the home team credit — they forced the issue offensively, got to the line, and did just enough to stay even with the Flyers. UD had an excellent chance to put the game on ice, with the shot clock off and twenty seconds remaining. Jordan Davis dribbled the ball around the perimeter aimlessly until he had his pocket picked by Stockard. Stockard’s running heave rimmed out and the Flyers were fortunate to extend the game another five minutes. (The biggest result coming out of the first overtime period: Jalen Crutcher fouled out.)
The second overtime period was more of the same. Dayton and SBU were grinding it out, the Flyers taking a one-point lead, 82-81, on a Trey Landers foul shot. Both teams simply refused to score again until much maligned Jordan Davis got a layup to drop right around the one minute mark, Flyers led 84-81. Stockard answered right away and it was 84-83 with forty ticks on the clock. Grant called a timeout(!) with 33 seconds left in the contest. Whether or not AG actually drew something up is irrelevant because it was clear Davis was taking whatever the Bonnies gave him. JD launched a NO-NO-NO-YES! three-pointer that swished through the net with fifteen seconds to go.
Jordan FREAKING Davis. pic.twitter.com/jwE2fhSMPN
— A10 Talk (@A10Talk) January 20, 2019
Dayton was up four and it finally felt like the Flyers would carry the day. All Flyer gamblers must give a major shoutout to Ryan Mikesell, who calmly converted two free-throws to close out the game and cover the 2.5 point spread for UD. In a meaningless game like Dayton/Saint Bonaventure, these are the important things to remember.
Yesterday’s game certainly doesn’t inspire confidence, the Bonnies were undermanned and will probably end up finishing below .500 in the league, but it was an important win that keeps Dayton in the A10 race. UD has a very important four-game segment coming up, George Mason at home, at Fordham, and then two matchups at home against St. Joe’s and Duquesne. The Flyers will be favored in each game and wins in each game would seem necessary given the five-game stretch that follows (at Saint Louis, at Rhode Island, VCU, at Davidson, Saint Louis).
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.