Postgame: GW 69, Bonnies 46

GW rode in on their high horse...and out on it too.

GW rode in on their high horse…and out on it too.

The Result:  The Bonnies went down to GW tonight and got their doors blown off, losing to GW by a score of 69 to 46. SBU falls back under .500 to 7-8 after the loss. They were tied with the Colonials heading into the night. It was an embarrassing effort from a team battling GW for position in the standings. I thought the Bonnies were a solid bet to cover the six point spread….Not so much. This ranks with the first Richmond loss as the Bonnies’ two worst of the season for me.

What You Should Know:  In a game the Bonnies entered as six point dogs, SBU came out flat as a pancake in this one down in Foggy Bottom. GW started the game 7-8 from deep and opened up a 19-10 lead by the under 12 media timeout. In a rare scene, both teams came out playing 1-3-1 zones, daring the other to shoot it from deep. While SBU missed their first 10 of their first 14 shots, GW was shooting 63% to SBU’s 28% almost mid-way through the half. Posley started the game 0-3 from three (it got worse), making him eight for his las 63, yes 63 three pointers (12%).  GW was attacking the zone with great poise, getting the ball, moving it, and finding the open man on seemingly every single possession in the half.

Right before the under eight timeout the Bonnies finally got out of the zone and went man. It was already 23-12 and the game appeared over. Our backcourt was 0-9 and GW was shooting in obscene 66% from the field. At this point Shane texted me wondering “how bad is Jalen Adams that he STILL can’t play?” My answer: either really bad or really, really stupid (in basketball terms obviously). Either way I doubt he’s back next fall (just a hunch, nothing more).

It looked like one of those nights the Bonnies didn’t even make the trip. Just days after a solid road win at St. Joe’s our boys looked like a last place team through 40 minutes. It was ugly early on and it didn’t get any better. GW was looked like a team that was supposed to be in the NCAA Tournament….not a team that had won just once in their last eight games…leave it to the Bonnies to make a team struggling this badly to look this freaking good.

By halftime it was 36-18 GW and if you turned the game off I wouldn’t have blamed you. I started ironing clothes at that point and only had the game on because A) I’m a diehard and B) I had to write this post. The game continued a similar pace in the second half with GW coming back down to Earth on the shooting side and SBU looking like they kind of cared. You can’t take anything from the last 15 minutes of a blowout in my opinion however.

It was Over When: 43-25 at the under 16 timeout in the second half. I don’t like to give up on games at the break (though I more or less did tonight) but it was safe to say the game was over with 15 minutes left as GW continued to score and SBU continued to play disinterested basketball.

Ian says....

Ian says….SBU could be in trouble…

Ian Says: Not shocked at all. GW being losers of seven of their last eight seemed like a recipe for them busting out any game now and we happened to be up. The Colonials can be a good team (they have not been playing like one). They have a very good coach and good players and have the ability to beat anyone in the A10, WHEN they play well. Tonight SBU simply did not show up, they got worked and laughed off the floor by half-time. Schmidt likely ripped the team beyond belief at the break as he should have. What worries me (for the rest of the way) is Marcus Posley’s seemingly vanishing shooting game, our backcourts’ inability to shoot/score at all and if the defensive effort wasn’t bad enough tonight the offensive one was just as bad. It’s hard seeing this team, absent any shooters, winning going forward. It literally pains me to see Iakeem Alston pass up wide open threes time after time only to drive into their center and defense…but that’s what he is and that’s what the Bonnies offense is right now without Jay. Without Posley scoring at an efficient clip and Jay running the show this team looks awful…there’s no other way around it. Beating a poor St. Joe’s team on the road may have masked those truths for a weekend but this is the reality. And I said it before but how scary is it that Jalen Adams can’t get real time in blowout games? Is Xavier Smith alive? Can Taqqee make a jump shot? I shudder thinking about him being counted on as a major guard next season right now. These are reasons why SBU has the second least used bench in ALL of college hoops…what that foreshadows about next year you can make draw your own conclusions.

Foe of the Game:  Joe McDonald. Killed the Bonnies all night from deep hitting 5-6. He had 17 points and five boards.

Bonnie of the Game: If I had to pick one….Dion Wright. Only scored 10 points and didn’t do a lot on the glass tonight (rare) but continues to score efficiently which it seems other members of the team are struggling to do right now. Dion is the only consistent player on this team right now.

Good stats: Holy crap I have to fill this out tonight? I would just delete the whole line but that would be below my journalist integrity. We shot 72% from the line.

Bad stats: Where to begin? GW shot 57% from the field, 55% 3PT, had 14 team assists, were still+5 on the glass (despite not having many chances for offensive boards), had only nine turnovers (+3) and received 14 bench points. The game was over at the break so to me, stats in this one need to be taken with a grain of salt. Just know it was ugly. Posley was 0-6 from three so he’s basically a 10% deep shooter since Duquesne. Alston was again 0-5 and the bench gave Schmidt nothing.

I wasn’t surprised that: GW won the game. Never expected the Bonnies to win this game. Yes, GW was playing poorly but they are a million times more talented and they we going to break out sooner or later.

I was surprised that: This team didn’t show up at all. The first half tonight was one of the worst I can remember under Schmidt (and the second wasn’t any better). Down 18 freaking points, having scored only 18. GW shot 66%. 7-10 from three. SBU was 29% and 0-6 from deep. Posley/Alston and Cumberbatch were a combined 1-15 from the floor. Posley may just be totally shot at this point…I just don’t know anymore…the kid is shooting 10% from deep in their last nine games. If we had ANY bench at all he’d be on it or at least playing much less. I’d say “burn the tape” and move on but there have been too many of those games lately. The more I watch of this team the more I think to myself, “It’s actually amazing we’re 7-8 and not worse” because the talent/production this season is just not there. If you need proof go to the A10 stats page and have a look…it ain’t pretty. While their record may tell you SBU is an average their stats tell you they aren’t even that good. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing right now.

Up Next: The Bonnies return home to the RC to face rival Duquesne on alumni weekend. SBU NEEDS, I repeat, NEEDS to win this game. There’s no excuse to losing to one of the league’s worst teams, at home, when the building is packed. Having said that, the game this weekend scares the crap out of me because it screams “letdown game”…if this team is possible of letting you down that is. If you’re heading up to Olean: drink often and cheer loud and hard. The team needs it.

Good thing Bonnies have fared well on road because RC advantage is no more

The Reilly Center has often been a lonely place for the Bonnies under Mark Schmidt.

The Reilly Center has often been a lonely place for the Bonnies under Mark Schmidt.

The Reilly Center still carries a reputation for being one of the more challenging venues in the Atlantic 10 for an opponent to conquer. I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it is because the students are almost literally on top of the court, chiding the opposition face-to-face. The old arena still shakes with enthusiasm and excitement – not to mention noise – when St. Bonaventure is playing well. Such an atmosphere can prove daunting, yet also motivational for visitors.

Perhaps it is because past glory is difficult to forget or let die. There were many times when the Bonnies were unbeatable on their home court. The Rowdies put fear into the likes of Boeheim, Calipari and Chaney, among others.

Jay Bilas once called the RC one of the five most hostile arenas in the country. The SBU home has also received props from Dick Vitale, Joe Lunardi and countless others.

In reality, the Reilly Center has become just another arena in the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies are 31-31 in A-10 home games since Mark Schmidt took over in 2007.

They are 9-13 over the last three seasons, including 2-4 this year. They actually have won more road conference wins over that time. Since Schmidt has been coach, SBU is 21-42 in A-10 road games – not a bad mark considering the team was underdog in at least 75 percent of those contests.

Saturday’s overtime victory at Saint Joseph’s moved the Bonnies to 4-3 in A-10 road games this season. They are in the thick of the middle of the conference because they have found ways to win away from the Reilly Center.

I’m not sure why Schmidt’s teams don’t win more at home and play relatively well on the road. Maybe the coach and the team feel less pressure to win when playing on the road. Maybe they play more freely. Maybe they are motivated to succeed by opposing fans.

The Bonnies have more four more regular season games – two at home, two on the road. All of them are winnable. All are losable.

Something about the wide ups and downs of this season tell me the Bonnies will split the final four games. I could see them winning at George Washington Wednesday and coming home to an alumni weekend crowd and losing to Duquesne. That is how unpredictable this team has been.

Give the guy a break

Since Malcolm Eleby, I’m not sure there has been a SBU player that has taken more heat on the Tweet machine and message boards than Andell Cumberbrick, ahem, Cumberbatch.

Some of the criticism has been warranted. Cumberbatch has been more inconsistent than his team this season, if that’s possible.

This tweet came during Cumberbatch’s best game of his SBU careeer:

The Bonnies surely wouldn’t have defeated St. Joe’s without @SmooveAce.

The senior tallied 15 points, canned four of the SBU’s six 3-pointers (on 5 attempts), grabbed seven rebounds and guarded the A-10’s best player the entire game – meaning Cumberbatch and DeAndre’ Bembry went at each other for 45 minutes and the matchup was essentially a wash.

Here’s hoping Smoove ignores the Twitter bashers and rides the momentum of Saturday’s performance to a strong end to his senior year.

The Road Not Taken

The Bonnies need to decide which team they're going to be with four regular season games to play.

The Bonnies need to decide which team they’re going to be with four regular season games to play.

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry but our Bonnies could not travel both
And repeat another typical season, long they stood
And looked down one as far they could
To Where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was snow-covered and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In snowflakes no step had trodden black.
Oh, they kept the first for another day!
Yet Knowing how past seasons leads on to way,
They doubted if they should ever come back.

They shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere Tom Stith and alumni hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and they –
They took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

————————————————————————————–

With just over a fortnight until the Atlantic Ten Tournament tips off in Brooklyn, our beloved Bonnies face a fork in the road… Dream of what could have been if they had not lost their emerging freshman star PG; or grow together as a team and find success over the remainder of the regular season – 4 very winnable games and beyond.

17 – 39: The combined record of our remaining opponents. GW has dropped 7 of their last 8 and Duquesne, St. Louis and Fordham have been the caboose of the League all year. A pessimistic Bonnies fan would probably tell you that they would sign up for a 2-2 finish, which would put the Bonnies right at .500 with a 9-9 conference record. But why not see the glass half full? Fresh off their first win in the post-Jay era coupled with an incredibly favorable remaining schedule I have hope that Mark can WILL this team on a REAL winning streak. Tournament basketball in March might as well be playoff hockey, teams that finish strong buoy with confidence and become very, very dangerous.

The starting jitters in Alston should be gone. The teams lack of confidence – over. The blueprint is simple. The execution not as easy, but not impossible either. Let’s take a look at what certain players need to do as we make the turn into the final lap of the season.

Posley hasn't been hot from deep in a long time, but he could burst out at any moment.

Posley hasn’t been hot from deep in a long time, but he could burst out at any moment.

Posley – Consistency. The team’s leading scorer has shown us all that he can score the basketball. However, he has also shown his best Houdini impression and disappeared on numerous occasions. If the Sandman can knock down the long ball and get to the hoop (like he did Saturday night) his piece of the puzzle will be in good position. Posley hasn’t scored 20 points in a single contest since the Duquense game.  Prior to dropping and unconscious 36 points that night he was putting up 20+ nights left and right. The SG is an ice cold 8 for his last 60 three point attempts; that’s good enough for 13% from three over our last eight games. That cannot continue.

N’doye – FINISH strong. I am going to be very sad to see the big man graduate at year’s end. But our favorite swift footed dancing fool of a Center isn’t ready to punch his ticket just yet. I expect a strong finish to an even stronger career. Ndoye had a great weekend in Brooklyn last March and the Bonnies will need that same production down the stretch here in his final go-round. Ndoye has all-league talent and could carry the Bonnies if he’s on. The center is a tremendous weapon to have in a tournament setting.

Wright – Double D’s. Dion’s double-double in Philly Saturday night played a huge part in the team’s OT win. If he can continue to board the basketball (esp. on the offensive end) and pour in 15 per game, the Bonnies will be in every game. Wright has produced five double-doubles this season and has upped his scoring from 8.7 to 13.1 and rebounding from 4.8 to 6.9.

Cumberbatch – Know your role. Truth be told, I was in disbelief watching the batch connect of 4 of 5 from beyond the arc vs the Hawks. Any expectations of a similar performance of the remainder of the season would be considered reckless. I am looking for Andell to play as the senior that he is: limit turnovers, better shot selection and fill a stat sheet (think: 11 pts, 6 rbs, 3 ast, 2 stls). The key for Andell is playing smart and under control however given Jay’s injury and Iakeem’s shooting issues, the senior may have to take on a larger role from the perimeter.

Alston – Play with Passion. Energy is contagious. Alston hit some tough shots with contact and drew a few offensive fouls in the loss to Dayton. If he can make these types of plays over the next few weeks, I think he can be a real spark plug for the Bonnies. He needs to play within himself and understand that it’s okay to put your foot on the break sometimes. There is a time for pedal to the metal – find the medium.

Gregg could be a huge asset off the bench going forward or give the Bonnies nothing...

Gregg could be a huge asset off the bench going forward or he could give the Bonnies nothing…

Gregg – Grow up. We all know Denzel is an athlete. But too often it’s one step forward, two steps back. I nearly broke my computer after he left the ball to his invisible friend just seconds after a superb block on the defensive end. He has failed to develop into the player I thought he would be this year largely due to mental mistakes. However, it ain’t over yet. I really hope he can buckle down and show some maturity. Gregg will likely be a starter next year and there’s no better time than now to show Schmidt he’s ready. Gregg has 25 turnovers this year against 16 assists and has went from a 60% FT shooter last year to a 42% shooter this season.

So there it is. Will the Bonnies choose the path less traveled by? Can they turn the tide of mediocrity? While 4-0 will not be my expectation, it sure as hell should be theirs. Every game is a dogfight in the Atlantic Ten. But with a blue-collar coach and blue-collar players, I believe our guys can get the job done.

Go Bonnies!

Post Game: Bonnies 70- St. Joe’s 60 (OT)

When you're team's best FT shooter is your 7 foot center....

When your team’s best FT shooter is your 7 foot center….

The Result:  The Bonnies snapped a three game losing streak last night, downing the St. Joe’s Hawks in overtime. The win places SBU back at .500 for the year in A10 play at 7-7 and gave them a season sweep of the Hawks. They are now tied for 6th place with four games left to play.

What You Should Know:  In a game that was nip and tuck the entire contest, SBU managed to earn a road win in overtime on the heels of some insanely impressive foul shooting in the bonus frame and late in regulation. Youssou Ndoye was held in check the entire game, not making a single field goal, but connected on 11-12 foul shots,  8 in the extra frame to seal the win. The Bonnies led by one at the break and, paced by Andell Cumberbatch who canned a 3 of 4 three pointers to get the Bonnies offense going. The senior finished the game 4-5 from deep for 15 points, he also chipped in seven rebounds. His defense on A10 POY-caliber wing DeAndre’ Bembry should also be noted. Bembry finished with 15 points but was just 6-16 from the field and 1-4 from deep and turned the ball over six times; tremendous job on defending him. The Bonnies ability to largely take him out of the game left SJU with hardly any other scoring options though Chris Wilson had a decent day (20 points, 4-9 from three). SBU basically said “make anyone else beat us we’ll stop Bembry” and that’s what happened. Isaiah Miles was 3-10, Demery was 3-8 and the SJU bench was 2-10 from the field and turned it over seven times.

Bembry had a chance to win the game with about seven ticks left for the Hawks but missed the front end of a one and one. It looked like Marcus Posley was going to win the game for the Bonnies on yet another buzzer beater but his drive was blocked by Miles in the paint and the game went to overtime. In the extra frame SBU scored the first seven points, all from the line and never looked back outscoring SJU 18-8 in the five minute period. SBU scored just 22 points all of the second half.

Ian Says:  I’m thrilled the team was able to snap their losing streak, beat SJU twice in one year and earn another A10 road win. The team desperately needed a win post-Jay Adams’ injury and this game should help give them confidence that they can finish strong without their starting point guard. Winning on the road while Ndoye made not a single field goal is quite an accomplishment. Credit the Bonnies for holding Bembry in check the entire game and credit Dion Wright (17 points, 10 boards) and Andell largely for this win. Those two kept the team in the game during regulation while Ndoye and Posley struggled all night (Posley was 6-17, 2-9 from deep and had a team high five turnovers).

No Bonnie takes more crap from fans than Andell but he was superb on both ends of the floor Saturday night.

No Bonnie takes more crap from fans than Andell but he was superb on both ends of the floor Saturday night.

Bonnie of the Game: You could either take Ndoye for his ability to basically end the game at the foul line in OT for the Bonnies or take the much maligned Cumberbatch for shooting it exceptionally well from deep, but most importantly for taking Bembry out of this game on the other end. Without their super sophomore scoring in the mid-20’s SJU is a really poor team and the Bonnies proved that last night.

Foe of the Game:  Senior point guard Chris Wilson scored 20 on 7-14 shooting and made 4-9 three pointers. I basically said he stunk in the preview and that if their freshman point guard was any good right now he’d be the bench…he made me look bad. Still, Wilson isn’t very good but he had a game last night and kept SJU within shouting distance while most of his teammates struggled to score. Give him credit.

Good stats: Held SJU to 37% shooting and 26% from deep. Contained Bembry. Forced 20 turnovers and recorded 13 steals (5 via Posley). 20-28 from the line is solid (71%) but the FT’s in overtime were most impressive. Seven bench points feels like a season high. Dion’s ability to score 17 points on nine shots is amazing considering what some other guys need to score that number. Alston also did not have a single turnover, though his two assists weren’t anything to write home about either. 6-16 (37%) from three is a big improvement over our A10 average.

Bad stats: Ndoye and Posley were a combined 6-21 from the field; these two have to be on Wednesday for us to win. They’ve both been very inconsistent of late and with Jay down they need to be better, plain and simple. 17 turnovers is far too many, five were Posley’s doing and Gregg had four in just 25 minutes. Alston was 2-10 from the field and he really needs to take a three pointer once and a while to keep the defense honest; it’s painful watch him be so open from 20 feet and knowing there’s not a chance he will shoot it. I know he’s not a good shooter but it would be great to see the coaching staff let him know he’s got their “ok” to pull it once and a while…have some confidence out there. Hell, if I played last night and had the looks he did I’d pull it from 24 feet that open. At some point he’s got to add that jumper because the defense is just waiting seven feet back for him to drive at them.

I wasn’t surprised that: I wasn’t surprised that this was a very close game late as I knew we’d have a chance if Bembry didn’t take over the game. So there’s that. I was really looking for this team to have that bounce back effort after three losses in a row and we got it. I said earlier in the week this isn’t the time to bail on this team and they proved they’ve got some more wins left in the tank. Beating GW on the road this week won’t be easy but they struggling in a major way and are not some team to be feared at this point. After that game SBU has a chance to finish 3-0 so let’s see where we end up. There are wins left to be had in this season.

I was surprised that: We could win a game on the road when Posley and Ndoye played so poorly and we shot 37% from the field with 17 turnovers. I mean if I told you going in Ndoye won’t make a shot, Posley will be 6-17, you’ll shot under 40% and turn it over 17 times you’d likely say “We’re screwed”. Well, this was one of those games where you find other ways to win and thanks to Dion, Andell, great defense and good FT shooting we got a win. Take it and move on.

Up Next: The Bonnies travel to the Smith Center on Wednesday to take on GW. The Colonials have lost seven of their last eight games and are playing as poorly as any team in the A10 over the last month plus. The Smith Center is a tough place to play and GW is still a more talented team but this is a game the Bonnies can win. They’ll have to get more from their horses (Ndoye/Posley) and probably better than 2-10 shooting from Iakeem…but they can win another road game this week there’s no doubt.

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Post Game From GoBonnies.com……

Short Story: St. Bonaventure pulled out an important win at Saint Joseph’s on Saturday night, prevailing 70-60 in overtime.

The Bonnies snapped their three-game losing streak and evened their A-10 record at 7-7. The win also moved St. Bonaventure into a tie for sixth place in the Atlantic 10.

After a Marcus Posley drive was stopped by Hawks defense to end regulation, the Bonnies scored the first seven points of overtime to open a 59-52 lead. Saint Joseph’s cut the deficit to 64-60 on a three-pointer by DeAndre Bembry with 33 seconds left, but Youssou Ndoye pushed the lead up to six with two free throws. Dion Wright, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, made four free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Posley finished with 16 points and five steals. Andell Cumberbatch played perhaps his best game of the season with 15 points and seven rebounds while handling the defensive assignment on Bembry all night.

How It Happened:

  • Andell Cumberbatch started out hot, making two of his first three three- pointers. St. Joseph’s, however, led 20-13 halfway through the first half.
  • The Bonnies scored eight straight points to take a 21-20 lead. Dion Wright capped the run with a jumper.
  • The lead stretched to four points but Saint Joseph’s came back to take a 29-28 lead.
  • Posley made two free throws to give the Bonnies a 30-29 lead at halftime.
  • Cumberbatch made a three-pointer at the start of the second half to make it a 33-29 Bona lead.
  • The Hawks came back to tie the game at 35-35 and the score remained close the rest of the way.
  • There were seven ties and six lead changes in the second half alone.
  • Over the final 7:27 of regulation, the teams combined to score only eight points.
  • Cumberbatch’s fourth three-pointer of the game gave St. Bonaventure a 51-50 lead with 5:59 remaining.
  • Ndoye was fouled and made one of two at the line to make it a 52-50 game with 5:25 left.
  • Bembry tied the game at 52-52 with a pair of free throws at the 3:51 mark.
  • Saint Joseph’s missed its final five field goal attempts of regulation, and Bembry missed the front end of one-and-one free throw situations twice, the second time with just eight seconds left in regulation.
  • As the final seconds of regulation wound down, Posley drove into the lane but lost the ball as Hawk defenders converged on him, sending the game into overtime.
  • In the extra session, the Bonnies quickly took control with five free throws – four by Ndoye – to open a 57-52 lead by the 3:43 mark.
  • Wright scored inside after a St. Joseph’s miss to extend the lead to 59-52.
  • From that point on, the Hawks could not come any closer than four points.
  • St. Bonaventure went 9-10 at the line over the final 57 seconds of the overtime to seal the victory.

Beyond The Boxscore

  • St. Bonaventure now has seven road wins this season, tying the program record for road wins in a season set three times previously, most recently in 2008-09.
  • The Bonnies are 2-0 in overtime games this season, both wins coming on the road. The first was at Duquesne Jan. 22 (100-97).
  • Ndoye’s 11 free throws were the second most made by a Bona player in a game this season behind only Jaylen Adams‘ 12 at Ohio.
  • Despite not making a single field goal, Ndoye still finished just one rebound shy of a double-double.
  • Dion Wright posted his fifth double-double (17-10) of the season. Wright did not start due to a bruised toe, but still played 41 minutes.
  • The Bonnies recorded 13 steals in the game, their second-most this season. Posley led the way with a career high five.
  • Cumberbatch set a career high with his four three-pointers.

Recon: St. Joe’s Round 2

Bonas will try to sweep the Hawks for the first time in....probably a really long time.

Bonas will try to sweep the Hawks for the first time in….probably a really long time.

The Opponent:  The 11-14, 5-8 Hawks of St. Joseph’s University. The game will be played at 7PM at Hagan Arena and can be seen on SNY as well as Comcast Sports Net. The contest is the second in the home and home series between the two schools, SBU won the first meeting back on January 18th by a score of 70-61 despite DeAndre Bembry’s best efforts to single-handedly win the game for the Hawks.

The Rundown on St. Joe’s: St. Joe’s is an improving club, which right now makes them the opposite of our Bonnies. Yes, they’ve lost back to back games but they won two in row before that and nearly knocked off Dayton on the road a few days ago. DeAndre Bembry may be the best player in the entire league and has proven he can win games almost by himself. The Hawks are 3-3 in their last six but have won their last 5 league home games…making Hagan Arena a really tough place to win games right now. This is going to be a fight for the Bonnies and I certainly would not expect a nine point margin to the good this time around. SJU is a young team whose gotten more competitive as the season has gone along and are a better club then when SBU saw them on January 18th.  While the Bonnies may have a stronger starting five (maybe…) SJU has Bembry and his talent could be the difference in this contest between two teams fighting for position in the standings.

Foes’ Starting Five:

Bigs:

DeAndre Bembry -The A10s most dynamic and possibly best player, an absolute monster of a sophomore he averages 18 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shoots 35% from 3 and just 60% from the line. Bembry could score 30 on any given night and makes SJU a dangerous team all by himself. A true NBA prospect despite his “tweener” size on the wing. Also a lock-down defender. Not a true big man but we listed him as one here. #PrayForWhoeverGuardsHim

Isaiah Miles -Scored 23 against Dayton, the big man can shoot it from deep too at a 34% clip, he’s a 76% FT shooter too, a guy who can really burn you. The 6-7 forward has scored 23-12-13 in their last three and has hit 10 of his last 20 three pointers. He’s hot and could be an issue like T.J Cline was….stretch fours have hurt SBU lately.

James Demery-23 minutes a game, he’s just a “guy” can’t shoot it most nights-35% field, 57% line and 16% 3PT.

Quicks:

Chris Wilson-Senior point guard who really isn’t very good at all, simply a “guy” for SJU. If Newkirk was further along he’d be starting by now. Wilson averages 7 a game on 35% shooting, 64% from the line and a putrid 26% from deep. If Wilson beats you so be it.

Aaron Brown-WVU transfer has made an impact in games, scored 10 against Dayton. Brown is averaging 9.9 points and 3.8 boards and shoots 33% from deep. He’s scored in double figures in three of their last five including 21 against SLU. He’s just the type of guy that usually burns the Bonnies in these games.

Bembry is a monster who is hard to contain right now.

Bembry is a monster who is hard to contain right now.

Their Strength: If you go look through the conference game only stats on the A10 website SJU doesn’t jump out as doing anything really well. So, in this game the strength, or advantage that the Hawks have is playing really well at home (as noted above) and generally playing better of late (save their loss to Fordham…whose actually playing well though…). The Bonnies have not had much success winning at Hawk Hill so the home floor advantage will be a major factor on Saturday night. The Bonnies are reeling and the Hawks have a chance to climb within a game of SBU with a win. The REAL strength lies in DeAndre Bembry whose already making me lose sleep.

Their glaring weaknesses: Again nothing is major weakness unless you want to cite the fact that the Hawks are just 309th nationally in scoring per game (61.6). SJU is basically in the middle of the table in just about every stat category at this point of the season. They struggle to shoot it (298th in FG%) so offense is more of a concern to them than defense where they rank 123rd in points against per game (64.3). If the Bonnies can have a big night shooting the ball SJU will find it hard to keep up unless Bembry goes nuts…which he may. SJU did light it up from 3PT range in the first meeting and it’s hard to see the Bonnies winning should SJU do the same thing this weekend.

Since we Last Met: The Hawks are 4-5 since the meeting on the 18th. Best wins have come against UMass and Rhode Island and the worst losses have come at St. Louis and at Fordham.

Their best player(s): Bembry. Not only SJU’s best player but maybe the best player in the whole league. If the Hawks were a solid team the wing would be getting serious consideration for major awards…but he’s not. Bembry can score from anywhere this season, he’s a great defender, a freak athlete and the leader of the Hawks. The only way to slow him down may be to foul him and put him on the line where he’s a poor shooter. Bembry lit up the Bonnies in the first meeting and they’ll have to do a better job on him this time around. Limiting his scoring output would put pressure on guys like Miles, Brown, Wilson and Demery that they don’t want. If Bembry goes for say 24+ it’s hard seeing the Bonnies winning unless everyone else is shut down.

Reason to be Pessimistic:  The Bonnies have played back to back stinkers and have lost three in a row. Jay Adams’ finger is still broken and the game is on the road in a venue where the Hawks have beat a lot of teams lately.

Reason to be Optimistic: Because I just wrote an article urging the fanbase to finish strong and stay with the team to the bitter end. Because you never know and ultimately, while SJU is solid at home, they aren’t any better than us on a neutral floor….though they do have the best player on the floor by a mile. I’ll be optimistic because I’m planning on going and I’d really like a win to put me in a good mood before I hit the bars in Manayunk after.

More Notes from GoBonnies.com…..

The Starting Five Notes:
1. St. Bonaventure visits Saint Joseph’s as the teams complete their season series. Both teams come off losses, the Bonnies at home Wednesday to Richmond and the Hawks at Dayton on Thursday. St. Bonaventure won the first meeting with the Hawks, 70-61 on Jan. 18 at the Reilly Center. The game will pit two of the A-10’s top scorers, St. Bonaventure’s Marcus Posley and Saint Joseph’s DeAndre’ Bembry.

2. St. Bonaventure’s anchor in the middle, 7-foot senior center Youssou Ndoye, is second in the A-10 in both rebounding (10.5) and blocked shots (2.7/game). Six of his nine double-doubles this season have been against Atlantic 10 opponents, including 12 points and 10 rebounds against Richmond on Wednesday.

3. Junior forward Dion Wright has scored in double figures eight of the last nine games. Over that span, he went 57-99 (58%) from the field and averaged 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. In the win over VCU, Wright played one of the best all-around games of his career with 19 points and eight rebounds. Wright ranks 13th in the A-10 in scoring and 11th in rebounding, and he has a .550 field goal percentage in conference games.

4. Marcus Posley is the sixth-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 16.4 points per game. He hopes to shake off a cold spell where he went 2-25 from three-point range the last three games.

5. Junior Iakeem Alston is expected to make his third start in place of freshman Jay Adams, who is out indefinitely due to a fracture/dislocation of the ring finger on his right hand. Alston scored a career high 11 points with three assists in 30 minutes of action last Saturday at Dayton, then scored nine points against Richmond.

St. Bonaventure vs. St. Joseph’s: The First Meeting This Year: Jan. 18, 2015 at Reilly Center — St. Bonaventure 70, Saint Joseph’s 61
Marcus Posley scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half to lead St. Bonaventure to the win. The Bonnies trailed 29-28 at halftime but took their first lead of the game on a steal and dunk by senior center Youssou Ndoye that made it 37-35 with 15:21 remaining. The lead grew to 48-39 before the Hawks rallied to pull within 48-46.  The game remained close the rest of the way, and a three-pointer by Isaiah Miles closed the Bonnies’ lead to 55-54 with 5:35 left. St. Bonaventure answered, though, with a jumper by reserve Denzel Gregg followed by a Posley three-pointer to push the lead back to six points at 60-54 with 2:41 to play. The Bonnies went 8-8 at the free throw line down over the final 2:13 to secure the win.  Ndoye finished with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Dion Wright scored 14 points and Andell Cumberbatch added nine for the Bonnies. St. Bonaventure had 18 assists on its 25 field goals and committed only seven turnovers.

Series Notes
This will be the 69th meeting in a series that dates to 1958. The Hawks hold a 49-19 series lead. The teams split the last 10 meetings. The Bonnies are 3-23 all-time at Hawk Hill.

Saint Joseph’s Notes:
• Sophomore DeAndre’ Bembry is the do-it-all leader for the Hawks. He leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 18 points per game, and also averages 7.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game, all team highs. Bembry has 46 three-pointers and shoots 35 percent from long range.
• Senior Chris Wilson is second on the Hawks in assists with 72 and averages 7.0 points per game.
• Junior forward Isaiah Miles is the Hawks’ second-leading scorer (10.9) and rebounder (5.0). He also is a capable three-point shooter at 34 percent for the season.
• Junior guard Aaron Brown averages 10 points per game and has shot more free throws (77-105) than any other Hawk except Bembry.
• Saint Joseph’s is 9-3 at Hagan Arena with its only A-10 loss there to George Washington on Jan. 3.

5 Games Left: A Rallying Cry

With five games left it's time to Rally the troops and end the sulking.

With five games left it’s time to Rally the troops and end the sulking.

With five games left in the regular season our Bonnies appear to be limping towards the finish line. Losers of three straight following back to back buzzer beating wins, the brown and white sit at 6-7, ninth place in the 14 team A10. Time is running out to make a push towards the upper half of the league standings. Fans are irritated, the weather is freaking unbearable and the Bonnies aren’t making life on their fans any easier. Life isn’t great.

Given the loss of point guard Jay Adams it’s hard envisioning the club righting the ship heading into Brooklyn. There’s no question about that. Jay was the team’s offensive general and a good one at that. His decision making and shooting ability have already been missed despite Iakeem’s best efforts in limited action.

The team has lost both games without Swaggy, and lost them both in nearly blowout fashion. Marcus Posley, he of buzzer beating fame, appears to be hitting a wall. Ndoye has been just “blah” of late and when the fans finally got to see Jalen Adams he’s yanked after a missed three pointer; sent back to the bench as fast as he got off it. That bench is being stretched further than Schmidt would like to see and upcoming road games at St. Joe’s and George Washington leave little to be optimistic about given historic records at those venues.

Admittedly, it’s not looking so sunny in Olean right now.

So what to expect on February 19th, with five games left to go?

For me, I expect this team to find two wins in these last five games somewhere, somehow, someway.

I don’t care how it gets done but when you close out the season with Duquesne at home, St. Louis on the road and Fordham at home you better win more of those than you lose. Mark Schmidt has made his career in Olean in finishing right around that 15-16 win mark and I expect him to find a way to do it again this season, short-handed or not. Certainly it won’t be easy but anything less than 15 wins and this season goes from “meeting” most’s expectations to very much underachieving (especially considering the 6-1 start. But, since the Pittsburgh loss the Bonnies are a poor 7-10. It’s been an up and down season with a lot more downs lately.

Yes, the team seems to be in a major funk right now, and maybe the loss of Adams truly is too much for this team to overcome, but we’ve seen this before and we’ve seen SBU respond. To count them out entirely would be unwise.

Remember the 2011-2012 season when the Bonnies reeled off four wins in a row to end the season in 4th place. That streak followed SBU losing three out of four games. Crazier things have happened. Sure, this team doesn’t have Andrew Nicholson, but neither did last year’s team that beat La Salle and St. Louis in Brooklyn. Schmidt’s guys have a way of keeping us guessing and a way of giving you one ray of hope just when all the clouds seemed to have formed.

So with that said…

This is not a time to give up on the team or leave them for dead….although Lord knows it may be easier on the heart and blood pressure.

Let’s remember this club was picked to finish 11th in the league. Right now, they’re overachieving according to most media/coach types. While I never viewed this team to finish that low a lot of people did. Don’t be a “bandwagon” fan and write this team’s obituary Sunday morning if they lose to Phil Martelli’s team and then show up on Saturday in Brooklyn if/when they manage to “shock the world” and win two games. Be a true fan, stick it out through the bitter end as they say.

What you thought we were going to beat VCU then reel off five wins and take the league’s top place?

30140GOTTABELIEVE (Custom)

Come on. Be real. This is the Bonnies they’d never make life that easy on you. They love tugging at your emotions. One week you’re me: rolling around on the kitchen floor following a buzzer beater in Davidson. Then you’re me again: running down onto the RC floor from atop the reds to celebrate a wild win over VCU….only to curse the same team after the UMass disaster.

You’re a Bonnies fan. That’s how we live game by game. This team is a part of us, embedded in our souls. It’s a gift and a curse.

There’s five games left in a season that’s flown by. It’s time to make a final push for a top seven seed in the tournament and gear up to making a run in Brooklyn. Will it happen? Who knows. But at the very least you’ve got to keep believing and support the team because seeing them 30 times isn’t enough.

Come April everyone will be counting down the days to next season’s opener…don’t start the countdown a month early. Finish strong.

Let’s go Bonnies!

I leave you with this…

Recon: Richmond Spiders, Round 2

 

Richmond tries to sweep the Bonnies just as Dayton did last weekend. But, this game isn't in VA and that matters a lot...

Richmond tries to sweep the Bonnies just as Dayton did last weekend. But, this game isn’t in VA and that matters a lot…

The Opponent:  The 13-12, 6-6 Richmond Spiders. Richmond hammered the Bonnies by nineteen in their first meeting. SBU did not make a single three pointer and the Spiders embarrassed the Bonnies holding them to 41 points.

The Rundown on Richmond: Chris Mooney’s club has been simply up and down as well as disappointing this year. Picked to finish right near the top of the league Richmond is fighting to stay .500 just like our Bonnies. After beating VCU on the road and stunning the A10 they’ve lost three of four including in overtime setback vs. George Mason last time out. Richmond is simply a different team on the road and they’ve not been able to solve their road woes (aside from that VCU win which is still stunning). They do a superb job taking care of the ball, they play sound defense but rebounding and scoring do not come easily. Richmond is a team that has struggled in the past at the RC and the Bonnies need this home win in the worst of ways after back to back losses to UMass and Dayton. Additionally, with both these teams sitting in the middle of the table there’s a good chance they could finish tied. Dropping both games to UR could be an issue come seeding time in  a few weeks. This is a big game with A10 seeding implications.

Foes’ Starting Five:

Bigs: Terry Allen (12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 80% FT guy), Deion Taylor (starting with Alonzo Nelson-Ododa out, horrible shooting numbers everywhere), T.J. Cline (10.9 points, 37% from 3PT, a decent stretch four man, could be trouble).

Quicks: Kendall Anthony (16.8 points, 38% 3PT, UR’s all time leading 3PT shooter, will likely be a major problem), Trey Davis (4.4 points, 4.6 boards, horrible shooter from the line and deep, could be in for a career game?)

Their Strength: Taking care of the ball. Richmond is one of the best team’s in the nation in terms of valuing the basketball and limiting their giveaways helps them stay in, and win lots of games they probably shouldn’t.  Davidson turns it over only 9.8 times a game (best in the A10) and is second in TO margin at +3.24. When they do this it offsets their poor shooting nights and nights when they get mauled on the glass. This is a quality I REALLY wish SBU had as it helps mask so many other things.

Their glaring weaknesses: Rebounding. Richmond has always struggled rebounding under Mooney (well pretty much always) and this year is no different. Richmond is dead last in rebounding margin at -5.3 per game. That didn’t stop them from hammering SBU the first time out though since they basically put a lid on the basket for forty minutes. SBU needs to keep Ndoye on the floor this time out and expose their lack of true big man. Getting Dion and Youssou going early is a major key.

Since we Last Met: Basically doing the same as SBU: winning and losing at an equal clip. Getting their fans all jacked up after beating a ranked VCU team then losing their next two and three of their next four. Richmond has talent and can beat anyone in this league (much like SBU save Dayton) but simply isn’t consistent enough to go anywhere of note in 2015.

Their best player(s): Kendall Anthony, the pint sized guard who can go off at any time vs. any team. Anthony’s three point shooting is a major X factor for Richmond. If SBU can limit his scoring output they’ll be in decent shape to win this game at home. Anthony was 3-15 for only 10 points in UR’s lost to Mason. He’s their answer to Marcus Posley: a guard who shoots it around 17 times a night; they hope he cans 3-4 trifectas a game. Forcing their supporting characters to carry the scoring load would be wise. T.J. Cline will also have to be watched out on the perimeter as he has shown himself to be a capable three point shooting big.

Reason to be Pessimistic:  Well, any time a team beat you by nearly twenty a few weeks earlier and held you to 41 points has to be concerning. Sure, you could chalk it up to a really, really bad game for the Bonnies (which I mostly do) but maybe there’s something else to it. Richmond’s ability to take care of the ball, play solid defense and clamp down on our big time scorers the first time out is concerning. Posley was 3-12. Jay Adams (out of course) was 1-7. Dion had just eight points. Ndoye got in foul trouble but finished 2-6 with just four boards. Andell Cumberbatch (10 points, 4-11 shooting) led the Bonnies in scoring and that’s not a good thing…no offense to the senior. Richmond’s match-up zone could also give new point guard Iakeem Alston issues given that he’s green as all hell to starting and logged just 12 minutes vs. UR last time. Richmond is a tough team to play because they seem to always turn these games into close, low scoring affairs. SBU needs to get a win no matter how ugly it is.

Reason to be Optimistic: I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This season has gone in ebbs and flows and after losing two in a row it’s time to win a game or two. There’s that and then there’s this tweet which I kinda-already-knew but this makes it official….Richmond sucks away from the Robbins Center. Also, Alonzo Nelson Ododa being out is no small deal. He killed SBU off the pine last game for 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks playing solid defense on Ndoye. That’s a help no doubt….This is a game I think SBU wins and for the first time in a while I’m pretty confident about it.

 

More Notes from GoBonnies.com game preview……

The Starting Five Notes:
1. Entering the final, six-game stretch of the season, St. Bonaventure hosts Richmond in the second  meeting between the schools this season. The teams enter the week tied for seventh place in the A-10 at 6-6. In the first meeting between these teams on Jan. 11 in Richmond, the Spiders prevailed 60-41.

2. Junior Iakeem Alston is expected to make his second start in place of freshman Jay Adams, who is out indefinitely due to a fracture/dislocation of the ring finger on his right hand. Alston scored a career high 11 points with three assists in 30 minutes of action last Saturday at Dayton.

3. St. Bonaventure’s anchor in the middle, 7-foot senior center Youssou Ndoye, is second in the A-10 in both rebounding (10.5) and blocked shots (2.8/game). Five of his eight double-doubles this season have been against Atlantic 10 opponents, most recently 16 points and 12 rebounds at Dayton.

4. Marcus Posley is the fifth-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 16.7 points per game. He hopes to shake off a cold spell where he went 1-17 from three-point range the last two games.

4. Dion Wright has scored in double figures seven of the last eight games. Over that span, he went 53-87 (61%) from the field and averaged 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds. In the win over VCU, Wright played one of the best all-around games of his career with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Wright ranks 12th in the A-10 in scoring and 11th in rebounding, and he has a .573 field goal percentage in conference games.

St. Bonaventure vs. Richmond: The First Meeting This Year: Jan. 11, 2015 at Robins Center — Richmond 60, St. Bonaventure 41
Despite playing all but one minute of the first half without Youssou Ndoye, who had picked up two early fouls, St. Bonaventure trailed by only two points at halftime (25-23). It was a 36-31 game when Richmond scored eight unanswered points to open its largest lead of the game to that point at 44-31 with 8:52 remaining. From that point, the Bonnies could not come any closer than 11 points. In the second half, St. Bonaventure went cold and made only seven of its 28 shots (25 percent). Richmond wound up shooting 14-25 (56 percent) over the final 20 minutes. The Bonnies’ 41 points were a season low.

Series Notes
This will be the 21st meeting in a series that Richmond leads 15-5; the Spiders have won three of the last five meetings. Last season, each team won on its home court. The first meeting in the series was in 2002.

Richmond Notes
• Richmond enters this game after losing three of its last four games, most recently a 71-67 overtime decision at George Mason on Saturday afternoon. The Spiders recently lost center Alonzo Nelson-Odouda for an indefinite time due to a facial injury; he was the team’s top shot-blocker and second leading rebounder and also was averaging 9.6 points per game. Richmond is 1-9 on the road this season.
• Even though the stands just 5-8, Kendall Anthony is Richmond’s engine. He leads the Spiders in scoring at 16.8 points per game, shooting 44 percent from the field (38 percent from three-point range) and 81 percent at the free throw line.
• The Spiders have two other capable guards who compliment Anthony, junior Trey Davis and sophomore ShawnDre Jones. Power forward Terry Allen is the second-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game and leads the Spiders in rebounding at 5.7 per game.