By CHUCKIE MAGGIO
Winter Storm Harper did little to deter Saturday afternoon’s St. Bonaventure-Dayton game at the Reilly Center.
The weather may have prevented several fans-and media members-from attending, and likely delayed Dayton’s return home to Ohio, but the teams put on a memorable show. Regulation wasn’t enough to settle things, nor was just one overtime period. Bona played its second double overtime game of the season, and it’s not even February yet.
The Bonnies (6-12, 2-3), of course, would have rather not played any free basketball. They had an eight-point lead with 4:32 remaining and were headed for their 15th consecutive Atlantic 10 home victory. But similar to their other double overtime contest against Vermont, they lost control of the ball in some key moments and gave Dayton (12-6, 4-1) new life in a 89-86 loss.
Takeaways from an arguable instant classic:
Player of the Game: Courtney Stockard, St. Bonaventure. The best player isn’t always on the winning team. Stockard had career highs in points (36), made field goals (13) and minutes played (48). He grabbed 10 rebounds to record a double-double. He assumed the heaviest scoring load with 30 shot attempts and came very close to drilling the game-winner from long range after recording a steal at the end of the first overtime period.
The end of the first half was highlighted by Stockard and Flyer forward Obi Toppin getting into a disagreement and the teams having to be separated on the way to the locker room. The senior sets a tone during and after game action.
Honorable mention: Kyle Lofton, St. Bonaventure (11 points, seven assists to one turnover in all 50 possible minutes), LaDarien Griffin, St. Bonaventure (18 points, five rebounds), Ryan Mikesell, Dayton (21 points, six rebounds), Jordan Davis, Dayton (13 points, eight rebounds, four steals, three-pointer to put Dayton up four with 15 seconds left).
Stat of the Game: Bonaventure committed just seven turnovers, the second-lowest total this season and five fewer than Dayton. However…
Stretch of the Game: Two of those turnovers came on back-to-back possessions and were both committed by freshmen. The Bonnies were up six with 3:42 to play and had just grabbed an offensive rebound when Lofton was stripped by Jalen Crutcher. Crutcher then assisted a Toppin layup, cutting the Bona lead to four. Dominick Welch then had the ball stolen by Davis and Dayton scored a traditional three-point play on the other end to trim the advantage to one, 63-62 with 3:04 on the clock.
Bonaventure swooned after those sequences, missing three layups on one possession and only making one of two foul shots after the third offensive rebound. Crutcher then made a three, after which Bona missed two shots. SBU and Dayton traded the lead twice and tied twice to end regulation.
Had the Bonnies scored on one of the two possessions instead of turning the ball over, they would have likely won the game in 40 minutes.
Quote of the Game: “The four turnovers that we had (in the second half)… those four turnovers really hurt us,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt told WPIG. “They turned them into points… We had seven turnovers but those four turnovers were really crucial. And they were unforced turnovers, just loose with the ball. But we fought, and Courtney played extremely well. We fought, and the energy was there. We made plays, we just didn’t make enough plays.”