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Bonnies Fall Just Short at #21 Dayton

Photo: AP

Dayton defeated St. Bonaventure 76-71 tonight in a back-and-forth contest. Daron Holmes II tied a career-high in scoring as he dropped 34 points in the game. The Bonnies once again started slow, but quickly overcame an early deficit with good defense and hot three-point shooting to lead at the half. In the end, the lack of consistent offense cost Bonaventure once again. Here’s how tonight’s game went down.

The game got off to a painfully slow start offensively. Both teams came up empty on their first possessions before DaRon Holmes II opened the scoring with a layup. The game would remain at 2-0 for more than two minutes as the teams continued to trade empty possessions. Enoch Cheeks then struck with a layup following a nice cut and feed from Holmes. The Bonnies continued to look sluggish on the offensive end of the ball as they turned it over in the backcourt. The game hit its first media timeout with the Flyers leading 4-0.

Dayton grabbed three offensive rebounds on its first possession after the break which led to an Enoch Cheeks triple and a 7-0 Dayton run to start the game. Chad Venning would finally get the Bonnies on the board 5:30 into the game with a foul line jumper. Javon Bennett answered just 15 seconds later with an easy layup on the other end of the floor before Venning did the same on the following possession. Bonaventure continued to struggle from the field as Cheeks threw down a two-handed slam that pushed the Flyer lead to nine. Mark Schmidt had seen enough and called the timeout.

The Bonnies responded immediately following the timeout as Flowers knocked down a corner three. However, Dayton was right back at it offensively as Cheeks worked his way to the free throw line and knocked down a pair. The game then entered a more than two-minute scoring drought. Noel Brown would be the player to break that drought with an and-one layup. He would miss his free throw. Dayton once again immediately answered on the other end as Kobe Elvis scored as the shot clock expired. The pace continued to pick up as Evans and Brown both scored quickly with hook shots. The game hit the under-eight media timeout as with Issac Jack heading to the line.

Jack hit both his free throws following the break as the Flyers extended their lead back to six. The next two possessions would be the Barry Evans show. The sophomore grabbed a reverse layup before forcing the turnover and slamming home fastbreak dunk. Holmes and Venning would then trade turnaround jumpers in close before Holmes made his way to the free throw line. He made one of his two shots. Pride would be next to beat the shot clock, banking in a deep two. The Bonnies had trimmed the lead to 22-21 at the final media timeout of the first half.

The Flyers came out of the pause and capitalized as Santos banked in an odd angle shot. Following a near-turnover, which was saved by Evans, Pride was able to get to the hole for two with no issue. Pride then scored again after a defensive stop to give Bonaventure their first lead of the night. Dayton would grab the lead right back as Holmes easily got to the rim on Brown for a bucket. Brown would be fouled on the ensuring possession but miss both his free throws. However, Pride would fight for the offensive board and kick it to Mika Adams-Woods for a big-time wing triple.

Photo: AP

After a pair of empty possessions, Bennett was fouled and shot a one-and-one as the Flyers were in the single bonus. The sophomore guard hit both his shots to tie the game at 28 apiece with 32 seconds left in the half. The Bonnies owned the final shot of the first half after the ball went out of bound of Dayton and triggered a shot clock reset. Adams-Woods would be the player to take that shot and he drained it from the elbow with a hand in his face. The Bonnies led 30-28 at halftime.

Holmes and Cheeks were tied for the game lead in scoring with nine points each at the break. Venning, Pride and Evans had all totaled six for Bonaventure at the break. The Flyers shot 10/27 (37.0%) from the floor, 1/12 (8.3%) from deep and 7/10 (70.0%) from the line in the first half. The Bonnies went 14/30 (46.7%) from the field, 2/10 (20.0%) from three and 0/3 (0.0%) from the charity stripe in the opening frame. Bonas outrebounded Dayton 21-17 while both teams kept it clean with the basketball. The Flyers only turned the ball over twice while Bonaventure had four turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.

Venning would open the second half scoring on the very first possession with a jumper before being fouled and getting the basket to fall soon after. He made his free throw and the Bonnies suddenly led 35-28. Holmes would go right back at Venning with an identical result on the other end of the floor. It was Venning’s third foul and Holmes completed the three-point play. Pride answered right back for the Bonnies with a three as the shot clock was expiring, but the Flyers would go back to their horse on the offensive end. Holmes got an easy bucket at the rim and then knocked down a three. Cheeks added a layup to tie the game back up, this time at 38 apiece.

The Flyers continued their run out of the media timeout as the 7-0 run quickly expanded to a 9-0 run with Koby Brea finding his first bucket of the game. After a few more scoreless possessions, Adams-Woods broke the 4:22 scoring drought for Bonas with a layup. Brea the immediately responded with a midrange before Banks hit his first three pointer of the night. Isaac Jack would quickly clean up a miss by Elvis to give the Flyers a 44-43 lead as the game ticked under 12 minutes to play.

Jack struck again out of the timeout with a two-handed slam before Banks began to heat up with his second triple of the half. The game was once again tied. Jack continued to terrorize the smaller Bonaventure lineup as he scored again off a missed shot. Next it was Cheeks beating the shot clock with a floater before Pride worked his way to the free throw line and sank both. The scoring continued to come quick as Elvis found a runner in the lane and Assa Essamvous banged a corner three. Holmes was then fouled in the act of shooting and made both to push the Flyer lead to three. The Bonnies once again quickly answered with another Assa triple.

Unfortunately for Bonaventure, Holmes drew the foul on Venning immediately after the game was re-tied. It was Venning’s fourth. Holmes made one of his free throws and Dayton led 55-54 as the game bled under seven minutes to play.

The Bonnies then fell victim to a shot-clock violation before Holmes once again went back to the free throw line. This time he sank both free throws. Bonaventure again struggled against the shot clock along with the inability to get the ball in bounds. Schmidt was forced to use a timeout as his team could not inbound the ball from under the Dayton hoop. The pass would go out of Banks’ hands and out of bounds for a costly turnover. Brea cashed a three on the ensuing possession before Holmes was fouled once again. He made one of his two free throws and Dayton led 61-54 with 3:59 to play.

Holmes would go back to work in the paint and draw the foul on Venning who was again whistled when standing still and straight up and down. He made both to extend the Flyer lead to nine. Assa broke the over four-minute Bonaventure scoring drought with a tip-in off a Banks miss. Holmes continued to feast on the Bonnies who were now without either of their centers. He completed the three-point play and Dayton led 66-56 with 2:30 to go.

Adams-Woods and the Bonnies continued to fight as the Cincinnati transfer got a layup and a three but was answered by Holmes who grabbed another bucket in tight. Adams-Woods continued to fight for Bonaventure with yet another triple to inexplicably pull St. Bonaventure within four with just under a minute to play. Bennett was fouled shortly after, and he made both free throws. Assa missed an open three from near the top of the key which led to Bonaventure fouling Santos. The transfer from Pittsburgh chased in both shots to push the Flyer lead back to eight.

Adams-Wood continued to fight for the Bonnies as he went to the line. His two free throws cut the deficit back to six with 24.8 seconds remaining. Bonas then forced a turnover and found Flowers for a corner three. The Flyer lead was just three with 21 seconds to go. Banks nearly came up with a steal on the following inbound, but Holmes held strong and was fouled. He made both free throws before Assa missed a three, Santos grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Santos sank both to put Dayton up eight with under 10 seconds remaining. Evans added a tap in as time expired and the Flyers took home a 76-71 victory.

Holmes led the game in scoring with 34 points while Adams-Woods led the Bonnies with 17. Cheeks’ 13, Venning’s 11 and Pride’s 11 were the only other scorers in double figures. The Flyers shot 25/52 (48.1%) from the floor, 3/15 (20.0%) from beyond the arc, 23/29 (79.3%) from the free throw line. St. Bonaventure shot 27/64 (42.2%) from the field, 10/29 (34.5%) from deep and 5/8 from the charity stripe. Dayton outrebounded the Bonnies 36-35 while only turning the ball over six times compared to Bonaventure’s seven.

Bonaventure Head Coach Mark Schmidt addressed his team’s performance in tonight’s loss. “I thought our guys showed a lot of character but against Dayton if you play on your heels, you’re in trouble,” he said. Schmidt continued about the impact Holmes has on the game. “He’s better than last season but he was already a very good player,” said Schmidt, “They surround Holmes with four shooters and makes it difficult to guard him (Holmes).” When asked about his team’s slow offensive starts, especially on the road, the coach credited tough road environments. “This is a tough environment, it’s hard to play 40 complete minutes on offense and when we score 71 points, we should be in a position to win the game,” Schmidt said.

The Bonnies drop to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in conference play with the loss while Dayton improves to 18-3 overall and 8-1 in the Atlantic 10 with the win. St. Bonaventure will head back to the Reilly Center to face UMass in the first of three out of the next four games inside the Reilly Center.


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