Dayton vs. St. Bonaventure: Round 3

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Kendall Pollard holds his head after a collision again Bonnies. David Jablonski/Staff


The Flyers meet the Bonnies for the third time at 6:30 tonight in the A-10 quarterfinals. They say it’s tough to beat a team three times in one year, and of course, the Flyers got a few questions about that on Tuesday when they were asked who they would rather play in the quarterfinals.

I don’t know who “they” is, but they’re not always right. St. Joe’s beat Dayton three times last season. The Bonnies beat St. Joseph’s for a third time Thursday.

I tweeted last night: “I think the world needed another Dayton vs. St. Bonaventure game after what happened at the end of the last game.”

This is what I was talking about. This is part of Tom Archdeacon’s column after Dayton’s victory over the Bonnies in February:

It was Valentine’s Day, but those weren’t sweet nothings Archie Miller was whispering in the ear of St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt after the Dayton Flyers won a physical game against the Bonnies, 75-61, at UD Arena Saturday afternoon.

Actually, Archie wasn’t whispering, either.

During the game, which at times was punctuated by additional contact and verbiage after plays, especially from the Bonnies, the Dayton coach voiced displeasure more than once about the way things were unfolding. Several times he looked in the direction of the St. Bonaventure bench as he made his complaint.

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.”

Schmidt declined to speak to a Dayton reporter afterward.

When their coach’s postgame confrontation was brought up, the Dayton players’ lips were about as tight as their defense had been. Dyshawn Pierre dodged the question completely and guard Jordan Sibert claimed ignorance: “It was an extremely physical game, but really I have no clue what went on afterward.”

Sophomore guard Kyle Davis came closest to an explanation. Asked about the physical play, he shrugged and smiled: “I guess they knew we’re down players and they were just trying to hurt us.”

As for his coach’s postgame dissatisfaction, he ventured: “We win as a family and we stand behind our coach no matter what. He felt he got disrespected from the other coaching staff and our team is always gonna stand behind him.

“Coach always says in practice a team is as strong as its leader. He leads us and we try to follow him. So if he’s nasty, we’re gonna be nasty, as well.”

Paul Gotham, of Pickin Splinters, covered the St. Bonaventure vs. St. Joseph’s game last night. He wrote about the Bonnies avenging a loss to the Hawks in last year’s tournament and beating the Hawks for the third time this season.

To beat Dayton, Gotham wrote:

The Bonnies can’t commit 15 turnovers and advance. They need solid efforts from Youssou Ndoye (18 points and eight boards) and Wright (15 points and nine boards) to even have a chance.

In two previous meetings, Dayton has defeated Bona by an average margin of 15 points per game.

“Hopefully we play better. They are just good,” Schmidt said. “You know, (Dayton’s Dyshawn) Pierre, I think, in my opinion is a first‑team all‑league player. To me, he’s the key to their team. He does everything …And hopefully we can defend them better than we did in the first two tries that we had.”

If there is one thing learned about Bona it’s they can beat the best teams (Davidson, VCU), but suffer mind-numbing set-backs (UMES anyone?). But if they can replicate the stifling defense they played against the Hawks in their contest with the Flyers, Bona should reach the conference semis for the third time in the last four years.


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