Bonnies denied trip to A-10 semifinal, season could be over

If St. Bonaventure’s season ends like this, the Bonnies may look back upon this loss with heaps of despair throughout the spring and summer. It also may motivate them.

The Bonnies let a very winnable game slip away at the end in falling to Dayton 75-71 in an Atlantic 10 quarterfinal. The Flyers scored 11 of the game’s final 15 points to advance to today’s semifinals.

Marcus Posley, he off a pair of buzzer-beaters, had a chance to make it a third tonight but turned the ball over driving to the rim down a pair with under ten ticks let. Dayton stole the ball and went the other way for a lay-up to cap the Flyers’ win. (Ian Says- I was pretty stunned SBU didn’t hold the ball a bit longer there and allow Posley or Dion to get off a three pointer. To me, that was the play. We were playing with house money and should have just taken the walk-off win or went home. There was no sense in trying to tie it up with a Posley runner again. Go for the big three ball, make it or not. I could have lived with either result but not getting a shot off felt a criminal way to end the game. You felt like if they got the ball to Dion he had one more in him….stunned).

The Bonnies were seeking back-to-back semifinal appearances for the first time in program history. Instead, their season ends at 18-13.

They are a very long shot for the NIT. They can play in the CBI if they want to pony up some dough. Getting some more game experience might not be a bad idea for a team that will return its top two players and should be in the thick of things again in the A-10 next season.

Either way, this one is tough to swallow. A win would have put the Bonnies on the NIT bubble and kept alive a season that seemed so promising these last couple weeks.

When the game turned

In a game that was nip and tuck and back and forth throughout, the turning point didn’t come until late when Jordan Sibert buried a 3-pointer with 1:11 left to give Dayton to lead for good. The Bonnies turned it over on the next possession, leading directly to a Sibert lay in and a 71-67 UD lead.

Marcus Posley had a chance to tie the game with under 10 seconds left, but Marcus Pollard stripped away the ball on a driving attempt at a shot.

Player of the Game

This one is easy. Dion Wright for a second straight night. Thankfully he’ll be back next year.

Wright played his finest game in an SBU uniform, collecting 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists with just one turnover. Oh by the way, the junior hit 10 of 11 shots, including 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Wright was 1 of 9 for the year from beyond the arc before today’s game. This added dimension to his game will make him a handful next year.

It also should be mentioned that Wright did a great job defensively on Dyshawn Pierre, holding him to four points.

Tweets of the Game

Foe of the Game

The Bonnies could not keep Kendall Pollard in front of them. The bulky forward went for 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting. He also stole the ball from Posley to secure the win. Pollard’s quickness and mobility really gave Ndoye fits all game long. While he is much smaller in height he had the advantage against ‘You in may other regards. Pollard was/is a terrific player…which is why he won the league’s most improved player award.

What surprised us?

Youssou Ndoye was virtually invisible against a team whose tallest player is 6-foot-6. Ndoye was 1 of 3 from the field for four points. His first field goal attempt didn’t come until under 12 minutes left in the game.

Ndoye limped around a bit most of the second half after he ran into Sibert on a charge before halftime. Maybe this affected him. Maybe not. The Flyers did a good job of plugging the middle, and Ndoye didn’t look confident with the ball when he had it.

What was also surprising was Posley’s aggressiveness in attacking the rim. Hopefully this is something that continues next season as the junior tended to settle for perimeter shots way too often – even when they weren’t falling.

Posley had 26 points and four assists, and canned each of his 10 free throw attempts. We’re thankful that he will be back next year for his senior season.

Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Player of the Game

The play of Andell Cumberbatch helped propel the Bonnies down the stretch of this season. He played his best basketball at the end of his senior season after enduring a wide array of inconsistency up to that point.

Cumberbatch had another soild – if not spectular – performance against UD, scoring eight points on 3 of 5 shooting and dishing out four assists.

His spinning scoop shot at the end of the first was pretty and the BonaBlog Play of the game.

Stats of the Game

The Bonnies shot 25-43 (58 percent) but were undone by 16 turnovers … thanks to Wright, SBU buried 8 of 15 3-pointers (the Bonnies were 0-11 in their last game against UD) … Ndoye blocked five shots and SBU swatted seven as a team … the Flyers had 10 steals.

What didn’t surprise us?

The Bonnies hung close after the Flyers buried them by 17 and 14 points in two regular season games. Mark Schmidt always has the Bonnies prepared to play well come tournament time, and this game was no different. We knew it would be tough for UD to prevail a third time.

What’s next?

The Bonnies will either be handing in their uniforms tomorrow morning or be getting ready for the CBI.

Closing statement

Dayton fans are still insufferable as ever.

A10 Quarterfinals: Bonnies vs. Dayton Flyers

The Bonnies are trying to play on Saturday in NYC for the second year in a row. Dayton is standing in the way.

The Bonnies are trying to play on Saturday in NYC for the second year in a row. Dayton is standing in the way.

The Opponent:  The 23-7, 13-5 Dayton Flyers. Dayton enters this tournament has the number two seed and is coming off a loss at La Salle. Prior to that contest they had won three straight games. They have faced the Bonnies twice this season and won both outings by 17 and 14 points each.  Dayton is an NCAA lock and not on the bubble. They are seeking a return to the Elite 8.

GameDay Thoughts: Dayton is in my mind, the league’s best team. Their combination of solid play on both sides of the ball, great guard play, good coaching and experience make them so tough to beat. Their small lineup of capable ball-handlers and shooters makes defending them a real tough task.

SBU has failed miserably in two outings against the Flyers one with and one without Jay Adams. In this game, it will be vital for the Bonnies guards to take care of the basketball vs. a Dayton defense that applies great pressure on the perimeter. Marcus Posley is going to need to find a way to balance being the primary ball-handler as well as leading scorer on the wing. Last night, Posley started the game 1-7 from the floor and the Bonnies dug themselves in an early hole. Tonight, that cannot be the case. SBU needs their leading scorer to come out hot tonight. We can’t afford to start playing at halftime vs. a team this good.

Dayton is such a good defensive club that falling behind/shooting as poorly as last night will surely doom them vs. the Flyers. Additionally, it will be critical for the Bonnies to find a way to get Ndoye involved in the contest. Against a smaller front court like Dayton the seven footer has had some issues. Bonaventure needs to find ways to get him scorer against UD’s Kendall Pollard, a smaller but quicker forward. In all honesty this is game where SBU is going to have to come out swinging and look the Flyers in the eye. They cannot afford some 34% shooting first half where they turn it over and see their leading men (Ndoye, Posley, Wright) be absent. Dayton’s Pierre and Sibert combination has killed the Bonnies this year and they need to find a way to slow them down. Switching on screens like they did with Bembry last night and using multiple players to run him tired worked. Pierre’s ability to score inside and out is scary; here’s hoping Dion or Andell can really slow him. The Bonnies knocking down some early three pointers would also be a nice sights since you can almost bet the Flyers will can a few in the early going.

The Bonnies need to come out ready to play and look the Flyers in the eye for the opening twenty minutes. From there, anything can happen. Dayton is one of the better teams in the country, not just the conference so it won’t be easy by any means. The spread is six points but the Bonnies proved here last year on Friday that they can stun the league when they play well. So, if they can get an A game from their starting five, get some poor shooting from Dayton on the wings and maybe get UD in foul trouble down low…anything can happen.

The Barlclays is going to be absolutely packed with folks in Brown so the energy will be awesome. One more win and we have back to back trips to the semifinals and a 19 win season. We’re playing with house money right now, so let’s push all our chips to the table and see what happens. As coach Taylor says, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Let’s go Bonnies.