A10 Quarterfinals: Bonnies vs. Dayton Flyers
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.