The Dayton Flyers have won eight games in a row. They own their highest ranking in the Associated press poll since 1967. They sit alone in first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
» PHOTOS: Flyers vs. Bonnies
That doesn’t mean the No. 7 Flyers are playing perfect basketball or that everyone on the team is playing at the same level. One player who had struggled in recent games entering a matchup Wednesday against St. Bonaventure at UD Arena was Rodney Chatman.
Chatman had four points, no assists and six turnovers in the 79-65 victory against Virginia Commonwealth on Jan. 14 and then had two points and three turnovers in the 78-76 overtime win at Saint Louis on Friday. He committed a costly technical foul in that game and missed two key free throws late in the second half.
That makes his bounce-back performance in an 86-60 victory against the Bonnies all the more important. He had eight points, two assists and one turnover in 22 minutes and helped the Flyers get off to a good start with four points in the first two minutes.
“I thought Rodney did a really good job tonight,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “Everyone sometimes gets affected by whether or not shots are falling. The other night, the way regulation ended for him, wasn’t good, but he’s a mentally tough kid. I had no doubt he would come back tonight and bounce back. He’s one of those guys that impacts games without necessarily scoring. We try to let him know we appreciate what he does.”
Injury note: St. Bonaventure played without its best big man: sophomore forward Osun Osunniyi, who missed his second straight game with concussion-like symptoms. He did not travel with the team to Dayton. He averages 9.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
Opposing viewpoint: The Bonnies played Dayton close for the first 14 minutes. They trailed 25-24 after two free throws by Kyle Lofton at the 6:54 mark. Three St. Bonaventure turnovers in the last six minutes played a part in Dayton ending the half on a 22-5 run to take a 47-29 halftime lead.
» STRONG PERFORMANCE: Dayton tops 60 percent shooting vs. Bonnies
“They got the ball going downhill,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt told reporters from PickinSplinters.com and the Olean Times Herald. “We had a hard time guarding and keeping the ball in front of us, and that’s when you get 25 assists and 35 field goals. It’s easy to shoot the ball when you’re stepping into shots, and that’s what we allowed them to do.”
Looking ahead: Dayton plays the Richmond Spiders (15-4, 5-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va. Richmond won its third straight game Wednesday, 71-57 at home against La Salle (10-8, 1-5).
Since losing leading scorer Blake Francis (17.6 points per game) for four to six weeks with a fractured sternum, Richmond is 3-0 with victories against Davidson, George Mason and now La Salle. It suffered its only A-10 loss Jan. 11, 74-58 at home against Saint Louis.
Around the A-10: Duquesne (15-3, 5-1) suffered its first A-10 defeat of the season Wednesday losing 77-55 at Rhode Island (13-5, 5-1). The Dukes led 40-30 one minute into the second half but gave up a 16-1 run and then later a 9-0 run.
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