Dayton hopes to add to six-game winning streak at St. Bonaventure’s Reilly Center

Dayton has won seven games in a row in the series and has not lost at St. Bonaventure since 2012

If St. Bonaventure doesn’t win the Atlantic 10 Conference championship this season, it can at least claim to be champions of Richmond.

The Bonnies surprised Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday at the Siegel Center, winning 61-58 and then stayed in town until Wednesday when they beat Richmond 66-62 at Robins Arena.

“Back home and we can confirm, Virginia is for lovers of the Bonnies,” the official St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team account wrote Thursday on Twitter.

The Bonnies made 16 of 33 3-pointers in the two games.

“The kids have grown up,” coach Mark Schmidt told The Bona Venture. “Going on the road, going into Virginia Commonwealth, going into Richmond — you’re hoping you can split. For us to go 2-0, I would say is a credit to our guys and how they played.”

Winning on the road in the A-10 is difficult. The Dayton Flyers know that. They won their first two A-10 road games against Davidson and Fordham but lost their next two to George Washington and Rhode Island.

Now Dayton (15-8, 7-3) prepares for its first trip to St. Bonaventure (12-11, 6-4) in two years and its first game in front of fans at the Reilly Center in four years. Dayton beat St. Bonaventure 55-52 in an empty arena during the pandemic in 2021.

A victory would move Dayton into either a tie for second place with Virginia Commonwealth (17-6, 8-2) or into second place by itself ahead of Saint Louis (15-7, 7-2). VCU plays at Saint Louis on Friday night.

“At this point, we’re on the back nine of conference play,” said Dayton coach Anthony Grant on Wednesday after an 85-81 overtime victory against Loyola Chicago at UD Arena. “All of us are trying to position ourselves for for a run here at the end. You get to Brooklyn, and anything can happen. I think that’s the thing we’ve seen on any given night in this league. Anything can happen. So we’ve just got to make sure we’re working ourselves toward becoming the best version of ourselves as we head toward toward the homestretch.”

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St. Bonaventure isn’t an easy place to get to or play. The team will fly to Buffalo. Then it’s a 90-minute drive to St. Bonaventure. In some years, it has flown to a smaller airport in Bradford, Pa., which is 30 minutes from campus.

St. Bonaventure is 30-5 at the Reilly Center in the last three years. Dayton, though, has won six games in a row at the arena.

• There was a 72-69 victory in 2014 when the Flyers rallied in the final five minutes and Devin Oliver sealed the win with four free throws in the final 13 seconds.

• One year later, Dayton made 14 of 24 3-pointers in a 78-61 victory.

• In 2016, Dayton built a 31-point lead and then hung on for an 85-79 victory despite allowing 61 points in the second half.

• Dayton won again at St. Bonaventure in 2017, making 14 of 23 3-pointers in a 90-74 victory.

•In 2019, Dayton beat the Bonnies 89-86 at the Reilly Center in double overtime. The Flyers rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 4:31 to force overtime. Jordan Davis scored five points in the last 65 seconds of the second overtime.

• Dayton won the 2021 game against a St. Bonaventure team that had clinched the regular-season championship in its previous game.

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In 2023, Dayton will meet a St. Bonaventure team with little resemblance to the team it beat the last four seasons. Kyle Lofton, Osun Ossuniyi and Dominick Welch started the last four seasons for the Bonnies. Jaren Holmes joined that group for the last three seasons. Jalen Adaway was the fifth starter the last two seasons.

Four of those players took advantage of extra years of eligibility and are playing at different schools this season. Lofton starts for Florida and is averaging 8.8 points per game. Holmes and Ossuniyi are two of No. 13 Iowa State’s four leading scorers. Welch plays a reserve role for No. 4 Alabama.

The new St. Bonaventure roster includes no one who scored or played a minute for the team last season. It’s the only Division I team that can say that this season. Four of its top-five scorers all played on other Division I teams last season: Daryl Banks (St. Peter’s); Kyrell Luc (Holy Cross); Chad Venning (Morgan State); and Moses Flowers (Hartford).

The Bonnies have been right around .500 since mid-December and have alternated winning two games and losing two games since A-10 play began. If they win Saturday, it will be their first three-game winning streak since November.

“I think the guys are playing with some confidence,” Schmidt said. “Going against a team as talented as Dayton, it’s going to take everybody. But I’d rather be going into that game on a two-game winning streak than a two-game losing streak.”

Dayton brings its own momentum after routing Richmond 86-60 last weekend and then winning an overtime game for the first time this season Tuesday.

“I have a lot of confidence, especially the way we’ve been playing offensively,” Dayton forward Toumani Camara said Tuesday. “Defensively, there’s a lot of things we can do to maybe improve a little bit. This game was really different than any others. Every team is going to bring their best against us. That’s something we really need to understand.”

Camara scored a career-high 31 points against Loyola. He made 8 of 9 field goals and 9 of 11 free throws.

“He was huge,” Grant said. “I thought he was able to really be aggressive. I thought he was just in attack mode the whole night. He was able to get to the rim. He was in a rhythm from the perimeter. He was able to get to the free-throw line and knocked down free throws. It was great to see him be aggressive like that.”


Dayton at St. Bonaventure, 8 p.m., ESPNU, 1290, 95.7

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