Defense starts Dayton’s comeback at St. Bonaventure: Five takeaways from a double-overtime victory

Davis hits two big shots in second overtime after two turnovers in first

The Dayton Flyers planned to return to their hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites, across the street from St. Bonaventure on Saturday night to relax, watch some basketball on TV and play video games.

The only thing they knew for sure was they weren't going home — not until Sunday or perhaps April if that's when the snow melts and they can get on a bus for a trip to the airport in Buffalo. Of course, the Flyers couldn't complain too much about an extended stay in frozen Olean after escaping with an 89-86 victory in double overtime against the Bonnies.

» TWENTY PHOTOS: Top shots from Saturday

Dayton (12-6, 4-1) rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 4:31 to get the game to overtime, survived a near disaster at the end of the first overtime and then rode big shots by Jordan Davis and Ryan Mikesell to the win in the second overtime.

“Our guys were able to stay together,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said, “and find the toughness and grit to be able to pull out a hard-fought win.”

Here are takeaways from this game for the Flyers, who won for the ninth time in their last 10 chances at the Reilly Center.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

1. Clutch performance: Davis scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He took over at point guard when Jalen Crutcher fouled out with 1:15 left in the first overtime and committed turnovers on Dayton's last two possessions of the period.

Davis threw a bad bounce pass to Trey Landers with 49 seconds left and then had the ball stripped by Courtney Stockard with four seconds left. Stockard took the ball the other way and missed a desperate shot in the final seconds with no one between him and the rim.

» NOTES: Mikesell stands out in plus-minus stat

Heading to the second overtime, Mikesell told Davis, “You can’t get them back. It’s over. On to the next one.”

Davis responded by hitting two key shots in the second overtime: a jump shot with 1:05 to play to give Dayton an 84-81 lead and a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to extend the lead to 87-83.

“My teammates told me to keep my head up and keep playing,” Davis said. “That’s what I did.”

2. All-around effort: Mikesell led the Flyers with 21 points. He made 3 of 6 3-pointers and 8 of 8 free throws, including two with three seconds to play in the second overtime to push Dayton's lead back to three points after a 3-pointer by LaDarien Griffin. Griffin then missed a desperation 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Mikesell also drew the assignment late in the game of guarding Stockard, who scored a career-high 36 points. He made 13 of 30 shots from the field and 4 of 13 3-pointers.

“Obviously, Stockard is a monster,” Mikesell said. “He was almost single-handedly winning the game for them. He’s a good player. We weren’t going to stop him. We just wanted to make it tough on him.”

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

3. Quick comeback: Dayton trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, and a late surge seemed unlikely after a dunk by Griffin brought the crowd of 3,918 to its feet with 4:31 to play. Obi Toppin fouled Griffin on the dunk, and he completed the 3-point play to give the Bonnies a 63-55 lead.

On Dayton’s next possession, Josh Cunningham hit two free throws to start a 10-1 run in the next two minutes. Two turnovers by the Bonnies led to five points in that span. Crutcher hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to cap the run with 2:27 to play.

“We got stops defensively and were able to get out in transition and we made enough plays to give ourselves a chance,” Grant said. “I thought our defense down the stretch was really the key to the game.”

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

4. Back on track: After scoring 15 points in the last three games on 6-of-18 shooting, Toppin looked more like the player who looked to be a favorite for A-10 Rookie of the Year for most of the season. He scored 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

Toppin made his biggest basket with 33 seconds left in the second half. Crutcher set a pick for him, and Mikesell found him for an easy layup as the Flyers took a 69-68 lead. The Bonnies then tied the game with nine seconds to play when Kyle Lofton made 1 of 2 free throws.

5. Big picture: Dayton beat a struggling team missing two players, Jalen Poyser and Nelson Kaputo, who average 20.8 points per game between them. Both were out of action because of head injuries.

From that perspective, this wasn’t the most impressive victory. On the other hand, Dayton was playing in an arena where 14 straight A-10 opponents had lost. St. Bonaventure’s streak would have been 17 games if not for a controversial finish in an 83-77 overtime loss to Virginia Commonwealth in February 17.

St. Bonaventure (6-12, 2-3) fell into ninth place in the A-10, while Dayton is tied for third with VCU and Davidson behind Saint Louis (5-0) and George Mason (5-1).

“I’m proud of the effort our guys gave us today,” Grant said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to St. Bonaventure. We knew they were a little short-handed tonight with a couple guys out, and sometimes that’s the most dangerous team in terms of rallying around each other and doing what they needed to do.”


George Mason at Dayton, 7 p.m., ESPN+, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO

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