St. Bonaventure-Dayton Preview
Dayton coach Archie Miller is hoping an end to a lengthy winning streak has motivated his players for another important matchup against a conference contender.
They'll certainly need to be focused defensively against St. Bonaventure's high-scoring trio.
With third-leading scorer Kendall Pollard uncertain to play, the 15th-ranked Flyers will try to keep pace with the Atlantic-10 leaders Saturday when they go after their 21st consecutive home win.
Dayton (21-4, 11-2) had gained sole possession of the lead with a nine-game run that led to the best start in Miller's five-year tenure. After winning by an average of 16.9 points over the first seven on the streak, the Flyers edged Duquesne and Rhode Island by a combined four before Wednesday's 79-70 loss at Saint Joseph's.
They had just 27 points in the first half and allowed the Hawks to shoot 45.3 percent for the game, falling into a first-place tie with Saint Joseph's and VCU with five games remaining.
"This is the first time we've lost in a while," said Miller, whose squad hasn't dropped consecutive contests since a four-game skid in January 2014. "It stings. Hopefully it stings in a good way."
It doesn't help that Pollard, averaging 11 points, remains day-to-day after missing the past two games with a knee injury. Miller said it has been challenging to play without the 6-foot-6 forward.
"Kendall's one of our best guys," he added. "He's one of the best guys in the league."
Since allowing 48.8 points per game on 33.3 percent shooting over a four-game stretch, Dayton has given up an average of 73 and a 45.4 percentage in its last three. That's an area of concern ahead of facing a St. Bonaventure team that ranks fifth in the A-10 with 76.3 points per game.
Senior forward Dion Wright, senior guard Marcus Posley and sophomore guard Jaylen Adams form the second-highest scoring trio in the conference, averaging a combined 52.7 points. Individually, Posley ranks fourth with 18.7 per game, while Adams is eighth at 17.9 and Wright 15th at 16.1.
The Bonnies played their way back into the league chase with five straight wins before falling two back of the leaders following Wednesday's 71-64 loss at LaSalle. The Explorers snapped a 10-game skid that started after they upset Dayton 61-57 on Jan. 9.
Posley, Wright and Adams had a combined 49 points on just 14-of-41 shooting. Posley scored 31 and Adams added 27 in an 85-79 home loss to the Flyers on Jan. 19, though most of that production came in the second half while St. Bonaventure (17-7, 9-4) tried to claw out of a 31-point hole.
Charles Cooke led Dayton with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Dyshawn Pierre had 20 and seven. Cooke averages a team-high 16 points, while Pierre is second at 13.2.
The Flyers should feel confident back at UD Arena, where they've won nine in a row and 35 of their previous 36. They've also won six in a row there and 15 of the last 16 overall versus the Bonnies.
St. Bonaventure hasn't won on the road in this series since 2002, but it's riding a three-game win streak versus ranked opponents after losing its prior 26 such matchups.