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Recap: Bonnies 68, Central Arkansas 58

Bonnies Win “Ugly”, Fly Into League Play with 9 Wins

St. Bonaventure used solid defense and scoring from a number of different players to earn their ninth win of the year, and to improve to 5-0 on the road this season. Juniors Ray Blackburn and Jon Hall each scored 14 points on the day, and Blackburn (7) and Hall (10) also helped to pace the Bonnies on the glass. For Hall, the double-double was the first ever in his career.

The Bonnies lead by just five point at the break, and shot 34% in the first half from the field. Had it not been for equally poor shooting from UCA, 34%, the Bonnies could easily had been trailing at the half. Bonaventure crushed the Bears on the glass, winning the battle of the boards 45-31. Fresh off his second suspension of the season for violation team rules, junior Mo Thomas grabbed 7 rebounds and scored 6 points. Freshman Andrew Nicholson, coming off his best ever game as a Bonnie, was plagued by foul trouble, scoring just 4 points and grabbing 5 boards to go along with 3 blocks in just 19 minutes of work.

In the second half the Bonnies would eventually open up a 17 point lead with 3:47 to play, Bona never trailed in the contest. St. Bonaventure outscored UCA 34-22 in the paint, and doubled up the UCA bench, outscoring their second squad 28-14. The Bonaventure bench continues to be strong, today getting solid efforts from freshman Michael Davenport (8 points), and D’Lancy Carter ( 6 points, 5 boards).

Free throws which were of major concern to the Bona faithful early, were not an issue today. Bona knocked down 20-24 from the line today, good for 83%. In other shooting news, Chris Matthews was 1-4 from three, finishing with 7 points. As a team, the Bonnies were 2-9 from deep.

With the win, the Bonnies move to 9-4 on the year, and are 5-0 on the road. In my four years with the team, we won a grand total of 6 road games, so to say I am shocked that this team is 5-0 on the road would be a great understatement. Now it is time to turn our attention to league play, and more specifically to the Fordham Rams on Wednesday night.

For a much more professional recap and boxscore, visit gobonnies.com

For more reasons than I can count, Wednesday night’s game at Rose Hill Gym in the biggest game this team has played in a long time. Let me count the reasons.

1. We are 9-4, and the Rams are sporting a 2-10 record, and are going nowhere this year.

2. We have the chance to start league play 1-0, and have a road win in our pockets.

3. Generally, 5 wins gets you into the Atlantic 10 tournament. Win @ Fordham, then just win 4 more the rest of the way and you are probably going to AC. Since we are lucky enough to play the Rams twice, we can get 2 of those 5 wins against this one team.

4. Mentally. What will our team be thinking if we have a great NC campaign, and then lay an egg vs. the worst team in the league in the opening game? I think, it could set the team back a bit mentally. Right now they are a confident bunch, and to beat the likes of St. Joseph’s and Dayton, you need to know that you can beat the Fordhams of the world.

5.Fordham graduated five good seniors last year, has a freshman point guard (Although he is good) and no one, I mean no one, down on the blocks who should be able to stop Nicholson, Thomas, Carter and even Hall. If any of you have seen Luke Devine play, you know what I’m talking about.

So we will get the preview up for Tuesday, and I will make the hour and 20 minute drive from the Jersey Shore to the Bronx, to hopefully see this Bona team take the first step towards punching their ticket to Atlantic City in March….

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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.