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Bucknell-Bona Preview

The Game: Bonas travels to Bucknell to face a 3-8 Bison team that has struggled mightily so far this year.  Bucknell has squeaked out its three wins with close victories over a decent Old Dominion team, a Binghamton team that also beat Rutgers in the RAC, and a decent Drexel team.  They have some very bad losses as well, as they lost by 26 to Marist and have been beaten by fellow A10 teams Lasalle and Richmond.  This team is not good.

Under first year Coach Dave Paulsen, the Bison are led by 6-8 junior Patrick Behan, who is averaging 12.8 ppg and 6.2 reb/g.  Bucknell has five players averaging 8 or more points, with three averaging in double figures.  This team is neither deep nor good, as their bench contributes minimally.  They will only run 8 players out there tonight most likely, and have three other freshman that see minimal minutes. 

This game fits right into Bonaventure’s hands.  Bonaventure’s pressing style and uptempo offense should create great opportunities for the Bonnies.  No predictions tonight from this guy, last time I did that we got stomped by Niagara.  All I am going to say is that this is a game that Bonaventure should win.

How St. Bonaventure Wins Tonight: Run Run Run baby.  This Bucknell team is not athletic enough to hang with the Bonnies.  If the Bonnies are dragged into a half court game, then the Bison have a shot.  But this should be anything but a half court game.  Coach Schmidt should have the full court press on all game, and should feature Ray Blackburn and Jonathan Hall driving that ball up the court and creating chaos on the defensive end.  If this becomes a full court game, Bonas has a shot to really hand it to the Bison.

Bonaventure has a real advantage in the paint as well.  They must do a better job of exploiting that advantage in this game than they did against Niagara.  Our post men need to start passing the ball better out of double teams on the block as well, as we are not making that extra pass to create open jump shots on the perimeter.  Bucknell’s tallest big men who play significant minutes are 6’8″, so this game has potential for Andrew Nicholson to put up another double double.

Finally, St. Bonaventure must take care of the basketball. Bonas has been dreadful with turnovers lately, with having basically a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio in their last two games.  A win here ties the Bonnies for third place in the A10, and while we have not reached conference play yet, third place at any time is not a bad spot to be in.  But first, they must take care of business better and come out and beat the Bison. 

Next Up For Bonnies: The Bonnies will take on Central Arkansas next on January 3rd at 1:00PM.  For those of you who do not remember, Central Arkansas was our opening night opponent during the final year of the Solomon Era, where the Bonnies took them down in an overtime thriller.  Central Arkansas is 6-4, coming off  a 67-65 win versus Bowling Green.  Another beatable opponent for the Bonnies.  Check back for the preview (and I promise it will be up earlier). 

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.