Game No. 24 recap: Dayton 75, St. Bonaventure 61

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Jordan Sibert on Saturday against the Bonnies. David Jablonski/Staff


 

Valentine’s Day turned into a lovefest for Dayton basketball. Another sellout crowd. Another dominant performance at home. Another case of the Flyers playing better in the worst of circumstances.

I received this email from a reader this morning after Saturday’s 75-61 victory over St. Bonaventure (photos here).

Hey, I have an idea for you, I think it is time to nickname this wonderful Flyers team this year.  Playing with only 7 players is astounding especially with the success they have had this year!  Playing off last year’s March madness triumphs, why not start referring to this team as the ‘Elite Seven’.  Sounds cool and I think Archie and the players would love it.

I responded:

I agree. I’ve used the Little Team That Could and today called them them simply the Dayton Seven. I’ve seen people call them Archie’s Ants. Elite Seven is pretty good. Magnificent Seven is an option. Let’s hope they don’t lose anyone else and become the Super Six.

We’ll tackle the nickname issue in a poll below. For now, here’s five things to take from Dayton’s 19th victory.

1. Dayton can win with six players.

From my game story:

Senior guard Jordan Sibert claimed in December the Flyers would win with five players if they had to. They almost had to Saturday at UD Arena.

Dayton beat St. Bonaventure 75-61 despite having only six players available the last 25 minutes and only five for the last couple of minutes. The Flyers’ ability to overcome almost anything and to often play their best when the odds are the worst raises the question of whether they could win with four players or even three.

Where is the line for this unique college basketball team? How long can this Flyer train keep rolling when the margin for error is so thin?

“We play pretty tough,” Dayton forward Dyshawn Pierre said. “That’s the main thing.”

Kendall Pollard didn’t return after banging his head into a St. Bonaventure defender late in the first half. Bobby Wehrli fouled out with 2:44 remaining.

2. Archie and Mark Schmidt did not go out for a Valentine’s Day dinner.

I’m not exactly sure what caused it, and understandably Archie Miller wasn’t about to talk to the media about it, but Archie was upset after the game with the St. Bonaventure coach Schmidt. My guess is it had to do with some of the hard fouls the Bonnies were dealing out in the final minutes with the game already decided.

Tom Archdeacon touched on this story in his column today:

When the game ended and both teams went through the perfunctory handshake lines, Miller stopped when he got to Schmidt and the two had an animated, face-to-face exchange. Soon after, Miller had another pointed conversation at midcourt with Bonnies assistant Dave Moore.

Going up the Arena ramp that leads from the court to the Flyers dressing room in the Donoher Center, Miller was still agitated and vocal.

Afterward, though, he downplayed the issue when asked:

“Aaah, it was nothing. Typical coaching stuff. Just both sides looking around … miscommunicating.”

Pressed for more detail, he didn’t miss a beat: “I’m not giving you any more than that.”

And Schmidt declined to speak to a Dayton reporter afterward.

3. Sibert is putting himself in contention for A-10 player of the year.

If the Flyers were to win the A-10 regular-season title, that would help Sibert’s cause. He scored 24 Saturday and is tied for seventh in scoring. He’s fifth in steals and ninth in minutes played. The only senior on a team with only seven players will get a look.

Sibert now has 969 points in his career (846 at UD).

“I’m happy for him,” Miller said. “I want him to finish on a high note. To me he’s absolutely delivered in a big way for our team, not only in his two years but importantly this year. When things started to not go right, he’s been the one main, steady guy every game out there. He’s a first-team conference type of a guy. We need that type of performance out of him. When he does that, we have a chance. When he doesn’t, we’re not going to have as many chances. Great game by him today. He was very tough with seven steals. I thought his activity on the ball and off the ball was as good as we’ve had.”

4. Pollard’s status up in the air.

My feeling is Kendall Pollard will be OK after hitting his head. He ran straight into a St. Bonaventure defender and was called for a charge. He returned to the bench in the second half and didn’t look to be in obvious discomfort.

Kyle Davis said he thought Pollard was fine.

“I haven’t talked to Kendall other than at the half,” Miller said after the game. “He said he felt OK. That will all go down with the doctors. He had a collision on the charge. He bumped his head, either head on head or body on head. From that point forward, he was told he wasn’t going back in.”

5. Dayton’s defense shut down the Bonnies’ top threat.

This is from Paul Gotham, of Pickin Splinters, who not only covered the game but brought his wife’s cookies to the media room, earning A-10 Media Person of the Week honors in the process.

 The Flyers held the reigning conference and national player of the week, Marcus Posley, to 12 points on 5 of 18 shooting.

“That’s what you kinda have to do with a really good scorer,”  Miller said.  “You have to make him earn it…You just got to make it as tough as possible. He can get going in a big way. He’s really good player. I thought our guys did a decent job of making things hard, making him pass more than necessary. I’m not sure how many open ones he missed.”

Kyle Davis drew the assignment of defending Posley in the first half.

“We came out with a game plan to make sure that we shut him down,” the sophomore guard said. “I feel like we did a good job on him tonight… Coach came up to me and said ‘you got to stick to the national player of the week.’ I told him I was going to lock down and take that challenge.”


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