For whatever reason, the Dayton Flyers have played better at St. Bonaventure’s Reilly Center than most Atlantic 10 Conference arenas.
Dayton has won eight of its last nine games at the Reilly Center, for example, while going 3-6 at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena and 0-9 at St. Joseph’s Hagan Arena in the same span.
Despite Dayton’s success there, St. Bonaventure isn’t an easy place to play. One photo from 2014 sums it up, showing Dayton’s Dyshawn Pierre trying to in-bound the ball with dozens of students shouting in his ear from a foot away.
St. Bonaventure also is well known throughout the conference as being the most difficult place to get into or out of, which will be the case this weekend for Dayton with a winter storm expected to dump five to 12 inches of snow on the area Saturday.
“Olean, in my opinion, may be the toughest place to play in our conference,” former Dayton coach Archie Miller said before the team’s last game there in 2016.
» PREVIEW: What to know about Saturday’s game
That makes the 4:30 p.m. Saturday game against the Bonnies (6-11, 2-2) a difficult one for the Flyers (11-6, 3-1). They’ll have to avoid letting the disappointment of a 76-71 loss Wednesday at Virginia Commonwealth affect their play in this game.
“It’s one game at a time,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Wednesday. “Every game’s different. Every game has a life of its own. This has nothing to do with what we’ll have to go against on Saturday. We just have to make sure we prepare ourselves as best we can.”
Here are three things to know about St. Bonaventure:
1. Bouncing back: Both teams suffered road losses in their last game.
The Bonnies led for the first 12 minutes Wednesday at Rhode Island but gave up a 13-0 run to end the half. They got no closer than seven points in the second half. Eighteen turnovers hurt St. Bonaventure as did 27.8 percent shooting (5 of 18) from 3-point range.
“We obviously didn’t handle the ball well,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. “We didn’t handle their pressure like we should have. (Rhode Island) is a good team who can give people trouble. We tried but it’s tough to beat a team as physical as URI. We need guys coming off the bench to be productive. We need to get more from everyone.”
2. Different Bonnies: The Bonnies were one of three A-10 teams to play in the NCAA tournament last season. They beat UCLA 65-58 in the First Four at UD Arena before losing 77-62 to Florida.
That team featured Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, two of the top scorers in the conference. Without them, this St. Bonaventure team is on pace for its worst season since 2007-08 when Schmidt debuted with an 8-22 mark.
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3. Injury woes: Prior to the Rhode Island game, the Bonnies had seen four players miss a total of 35 games. They have used eight different starting lineups because of those injuries.
St. Bonaventure didn’t have a fully healthy roster until its A-10 opener against George Mason on Jan. 6 but played its last game without third-leading scorer Jalen Poyser, who missed the game with a head injury, and then lost fifth-leading scorer Nelson Kaputo to a head injury in the first half.
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