Recap: St. Bonaventure 86, Eastern Michigan 78
Bonnies Down Eagles, Win 7 of first 10
Nicholson and Thomas carry Bonnies, Combine for 35 Points
Game Summary: The Bonnies won their fourth consecutive game for the first time since the 2001-2002 season with a road victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Bonaventure came into the game with a record of 6-3 and was looking to nearly equal their win total of all of last season (8) with a victory over EMU. Despite playing a less then stellar game against St. Francis PA, the Bonnies took a home win and looked ahead to Saturday.
The Bonnies got off to a fast start against the Eagles, pushing a 19 point lead with just over a minute left to play in the first half. Maurice Thomas was one of the major reasons for the start, Thomas finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds, but collected 14 of those points in the game’s opening frame. The Bonnies used 18 points off turnovers and 12 bench points to take a 50-32 lead into halftime. In the half, the Bonnies scored 8 fast break points compared to 4 fast break points for the Eagles.
However, the second half was not nearly as smooth for the Brown and White. EMU opened the half on a 7-0 run after a Branden Harrison jumper, that cut the Bonnies lead from 18 down to 11 in just one minute and twenty seconds. Nicholson would soon answer with a layup to push the lead over double-digits, and then would score 12 of the next 14 points to stretch the lead back to 19. The Bonnies would score 12 pints over the next 2 plus minutes to extend their lead to 17 with 16:45 left. From there EMU fought hard, but never got the deficit any lower than 6 points. The freshman had made his mark on the game.
The Bonnies did not convert a field goal over the final 6:10, but still managed to come away with a victory because they knocked down their free throws in the games final minutes. Back up point guard Ray Blackburn finished with 10 points and added 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Shooting guard Chris Matthews also added some scoring punch, scoring 14 points and dishing out 6 assists.
The Eagles were lead by Brandon Bowdry, who scored a game high 21 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Justin Dobbins also scored in double figures for EMU, putting in 15 points and grabbing 5 offensive boards. EMU shot 46% from the field, while the Bonnies connected at an incredible rate of 58%.
For a different recap and full game box score, visit gobonnies.com
Player of the Night: Andrew Nicholson. Nicholson came through when the team needed him most, answering on possession after possession after possession once the Eagles started to make a run in the second half. Although he did not provide much in terms of rebounding or blocking shots, his 19 points are a career high, and in a high scoring affair like today, Nicholson came through with big buckets. It was nice to see him have a bounce back game after really being held in check by St. Francis.
Unsung Hero of the Game: Ray Blackburn whose 10 points and 7 assists and 5 boards paced the Bonnies across the board. Blackburn has now scored in double figures in four straight and five of his last six games. Blackburn has emerged as a great third or fourth scoring option for the team, and consistently gets to the free throw line. Ray is averaging 15 points during the Bonnies four game wining streak. He is also averaging 2 more minutes per contest than Eleby, who has started every game.
Impressive Bonnies Team Stats:
- Shooting the ball at a 58% clip for the game
- 3-5 from three point land tells you this team was running the floor, and getting easy buckets
- Holding EMU to 6-16 shooting from three, 37% is not terrible
- 21 assists as a team
- 24 to 27, Out rebounded the Eagles on the glass. Have now won the battle of the boards in 9 games
- 12 steals to 6 steals from EMU
- Getting to the line 36 times and connecting on 25 of those shots
Negative Bonnies Team Stats:
- 20 turnovers, 4 a piece from Eleby, Matthews and Blackburn
- Permitting 12 offensive rebounds
- 32 shots in the first half to just 18 shots in the second half
- Not scoring a basket in the 6:10 minutes was not a great way to close the game
Looking Ahead: The Bonnies will come home Tuesday, as they take on Niagara. The Purple Eagles are playing very good basketball right now, sitting at 8-2 and having won their last three games and 7 of their last 8 games. Niagara has lost to Akron and Villanova, and has beaten South Florida and Buffalo. The Eagles are lead by junior guard Tyrone Lewis who is averaging 17.8 points and is shooting 38% from three. Game time is set for 7:00. Check back with us on Tuesday night for a game preview of this great rivalry. This game will be the Bonnies toughest competition in the Non Conference, right there with Mississippi State.