DAYTON, OHIO - Andrew Nicholson finished with game-highs of 35 points and 11 rebounds to lead St. Bonaventure, but Dayton (16-7, 4-4 A-10) held on down the stretch to earn a hard-fought 63-61 victory Wednesday night at UD Arena.
Nicholson drained a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to cut the Dayton lead down to one, before Chris Johnson made the front end of a pair of free throws to give the Flyers a two-point lead. After the miss, Nicholson's three-quarter court heave fell short as the Bonnies (11-10, 3-5) suffered their ninth straight loss to Dayton.
Dayton F Chris Johnson notched five of his team-high 14 points in the final 22 seconds, Chris Wright added 11, and Juwan Staten (six assists) and Josh Benson (six rebounds) each had nine in the win. St. Bonaventure G Michael Davenport chipped in 10 points and senior G Ogo Adegboye dished out eight assists in 40 minutes of work.
Nicholson, who also blocked two shots and moved into sole possession of second place on the school's all-time blocks list (164), ignited a 9-0 run to start the second half – where he scored 20 of his 35 - with a two-handed throwdown. Davenport and Da'Quan Cook made good on 3-point and stickback baskets, respectively, before Nicholson capped the spurt with a jumper to give SBU its largest lead of the game at 32-26 just 2:45 into the second half.
Josh Parker converted a pair of triple tries as the Flyers clawed back into the game and tied the score at 38 with 13:18 left.
Trailing 56-54 with under 1:30 to go, Davenport collected a rebound off of his own and Marquise Simmons' misses and banked in a tying jumper with 1:06 left. Dayton's Wright answered to push Dayton back in front 58-56. The Bonnies failed to convert on their next possession and the Flyers made it a two possession game with a layup in transition.
Adegboye made a pair from the line after drawing contact with 16 seconds left to cut it to 60-58. Johnson, who finished 5-of-7 from the line, responded with two makes of his own to set up Nicholson's late 3 and desperation heave at the buzzer.
St. Bonaventure begins a three-game homestand by hosting A-10 leader Duquesne (16-5, 8-0) Saturday at the Reilly Center.
NOTES: The Flyers unveiled four new video boards as a part of their agreement to host the NCAAs First Four playoff bracket … St. Bonaventure continued to honor Tom Stith with "TS #42" patches on their brown jerseys … Dayton scored 16 points off of 17 St. Bonaventure turnovers … SBU is now one of four teams in the country to start the same lineup in each game (Cleveland State, James Madison, Missouri State) … 23 points at the half ties a season-low for the Bonnies (Cleveland State).