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Cooke-less Dayton throttles St. Bonaventure in impressive road win

No Charles Cooke? No problem, apparently.

NCAA BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Dayton at La Salle Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

The three-point line was Dayton’s best friend in its 90-74 win over St. Bonaventure Tuesday night.

Playing without leading scorer Charles Cooke, the Flyers nailed 14-of-23 three pointers en route to an impressive road win. Dayton moved to 2-0 in A-10 play, while SBU fell to 1-1.

Triples proved pivotal in two key sequences.

Down eight in the first half, Dayton hit three consecutive three’s - including two by Kyle Davis (16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) - to erase the deficit. Then midway through the second half, back-to-back three’s from Scoochie Smith (16 points, 4 assists) stretched the Dayton lead to fourteen, and extinguished SBU momentum that had been building.

The Flyers also got good nights from Kendall Pollard (21 points), Ryan Mikesell (16 points, 3 rebounds) and Xeyrius Williams (14 points, 8 rebounds).

Perhaps most impressively, Dayton frustrated the high-flying Bonnies’ offense for long stretches without an ace defender in Cooke.

The Flyers double-teamed Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley on many screen-and-rolls. The SBU big men, particularly Josh Ayeni (12 points), took advantage, but it helped prevent either star from getting into rhythm.

The duo combined for just 12 points in the first half, a shocking figure considering how well they’ve been playing. They did end up combing for 43 points, but a seven plus minute field goal-less drought in the second half summed up the uncharacteristic night from Mark Schmidt’s team.

The win illustrates why the Flyers have to be considered the A-10 favorites. They certainly need Cooke back, but were experienced and tough enough, especially on defense, to beat a good team on the road. Not many teams would be able to say that with their star sidelined.

SBU, on the other hand, wasn’t able to take advantage of a vulnerable Dayton squad, and was bitten yet again by poor three-point defense. Coming into the game, the Bonnies had allowed teams to shoot 38.3 percent from distance, ranking 289th in the country.

The schedule doesn’t lighten up for the Flyers, as they face Rhode Island at home on Friday. The Bonnies regroup with a home date against George Mason on Saturday.