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Pregame Prep: Bona faces rugged test at Dayton


St. Bonaventure at Dayton

2 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Records: Bona 16-9, 8-5. Dayton 20-5, 11-2.

The Set-Up: Dayton needs to win to keep pace with Virginia Commonwealth (12-2) atop the Atlantic 10 Conference. Bona sits in a three-way tie with Rhode Island and George Mason for fourth place. Top four in the A-10 get a bye to the tournament quarterfinals. Bona lost to Rhody and beat George Mason. A loss to Dayton does not take Bona out of the running for a fourth- or fifth-place finish. Bona's final four games after Saturday are against teams in the bottom half of the A-10 standing.

Tough at home: Dayton has outscored foes by 17.1 points a game at UD Arena and has won 11 straight at home.

High Flyers: Dayton ranks No. 1 in the A-10 in defense, holding foes to just 63.2 ppg. The Flyers are No. 1 in field goal percentage defense, too, as well as three-point defense. Dayton is led by 6-5 wing Charles Cooke (16.6 ppg), 6-6 forward Kendall Pollard (13.7) and senior guard Scoochie Smith (12.9). Smith, Pollard and Cooke are part of a senior class that has 98 career wins.

First meeting: Dayton won, 90-74, on Jan. 3, its seventh win over Bona in the last eight meetings. And Cooke sat out that game with a sore back. Dayton made 14 of 23 three-pointers in the Reilly Center. Bona won last season at Dayton, 79-72.

RPI: Dayton is 29th in the Ratings Percentage Index. Bona is 97th. Dayton is 10-4 against teams in the top 100. Bona is 1-6.

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