By Kevin Sweeney
Jaylen Adams had 31 points, including the final seven of the game, to lift St. Bonaventure to a crucial 79-72 win over Dayton on Saturday at UD Arena. It was the Flyers’s first home loss in conference play since January of 2014. The win gives the Bonnies a signature win for their NCAA Tournament resumé.
Charles Cooke led the way for the Flyers with 22 points. Scoochie Smith had 18. Adams was supported by a 15 point, 8 rebound performance by Dion Wright.
St. Bonaventure started strong, running out to a 15-5 lead in the early stages of the game. After that run, however, the game stayed close throughout, with neither team owning a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Even without Kendall Pollard, an interior presence and Dayton’s third-leading scorer, the Flyers were able to impose their will on the inside. Dyshawn Pierre had a double-double with 12 points and thirteen rebounds. Center Steve McElvene was dominant at times in the paint, but foul trouble limited him to just 18 minutes.
The game was slowed down by fouls. With J.D. Collins, the NCAA’s national coordinator of officiating, in attendance, there were 47 fouls called in the game. As a result, many key contributors on both sides were limited due to foul trouble.
Both sides competed until the end, but with the game tied at 72 with under a minute to go, Adams took over. First, Adams drilled a contested 3-pointer with 36 seconds to go. Then, he knocked down 4 foul shots in the final 20 seconds to seal the deal for the Bonnies.
St. Bonaventure will continue their quest for an at-large bid on Wednesday when they take on Duquesne in Olean, NY. The Flyers will look to end a 2 game skid on Tuesday when they travel to take on St. Louis.