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Turning a Corner: A Review of Bonas-Richmond

Turning a Corner

Bonas 71 Richmond 67

The Game: This was a game of runs, as there were many lead changes and tied scores throughout this game.  Bonas started the game on a 14-4 run, with Richmond storming right back to take a 27-18 lead.  Bonas then went on another large run, this time a 16-2 run, to take a 34-29 lead.  Richmond then went on a 6-0 run, going into the half with a 35-34 lead.  The second half was filled with more ups and downs.  The Bonnies came out of the half on a 10-5 run, taking a 44-40 lead.  Then Richmond went on another 16-3 run, taking a 9 point lead at 56-47.  The Bonnies came back to tie the game at 58, with clutch play from Maurice Thomas.  Richmond then took a 67-60 lead with 2:54 left, and this game looked to be all but over.  However, as our preview described, Richmond has trouble finishing games, and this was no more evident than it was in this game.  Richmond failed to score over the last 2:54, and the Bonnies went on an 11-0 run to win this game.  A key old fashioned 3 point play gave the Bonnies the lead, with Chris Matthews hitting two key free throws down the stretch to seal the win for the Bonnies. 

Player of the Game: This one is a no-brainer.  Maurice Thomas dominated this game.  Finishing at the tin, hitting most of his free throws, and playing great defense.  Thomas finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 11 of his 14 free throws.  What a game from Maurice.  Him and Andrew form a great interior combo in the paint. 

What I Liked About Our Gameplan: This was one of the better game plans made by Coach Schmidt.  Whatever problems we had guarding the back door cuts against Duquesne were clearly solved before this game.  We gave up one backdoor cut the entire game, and that was to David Gonzalvez.  Seeing the changing defenses reminded me of the way Jim Baron used to rotate his defenses during a given game.  The rotating of defenses is a good fit for this team.  We could have contested shots better, but our defensive gameplan was very solid. 

Our offensive gameplan was ingenious as well.  We limited the ballhandling we did on the offensive end, as not to expose our weakness at point guard without Blackburn.  Malcolm Eleby played a great game, managing the game as a quarterback does in football.  We pounded the softer Richmond team inside, as Maurice Thomas, Andrew Nicholson, and Jonathan Hall bullied the Richmond defenders in the paint.  What a game for the Bonnies. 

Three Things I Liked: 1) Our Composure: We battled and battled and battled.  What a great win this is.  This win shows what the Bonnies can do.  This could be a defining win for our season.  Richmond is a good team, and this was an excellent win.  There was no panic when Richmond would go on a big run, we would just fight and fight and fight.  This team bounced back after their back-to-back losses and showed what it is capable of. 

2) Maurice Thomas:  Maurice showed maturity in this game that I have not seen from him in any game yet to date.  He played with incredible desire, and consistently wanted it more than the Richmond defenders.  A truly dominant performance. 

3) The Bonnie Faithful: To those of you who were there, that was awesome.  The Bona fans were consistently louder than the Richmond fans, and had some great one-liners directed towards the pathetic support that Richmond fans gave their team.  This is why I am so thankful I have been raised a Bonas fan and went to undergrad there, because it is truly a much better experience than schools like Richmond which lack tradition can offer.  I also want to thank the other Richmond law students who helped me cheer for the Bonnies as well.  They deserve some props. 

Things I Did Not Like: Usually this section is comprised of three things, but the Bonnies yesterday played such a great game that I am going to limit what I say.  The turnover situation can be improved again, as we had 19 turnovers.  This really needs to be addressed, because if we turn it over 19 times against Xavier, well lose by 30.  The Bonnies can also contest shots better, as Richmond was getting some open looks in the second half.  This enable some of the runs that Richmond was able to go on.  But overall, a great performance.

Parting Thoughts: Personally, this was one of the more rewarding games that I have watched.  You can just see the excitement in the alumni at attendance in the game.  The passion of Bonnies fans is truly what makes college basketball the greatest sport in the world, and it was great to see it again on the road.  If this team can keep progressing as is, and use this win to catapult their individual games, their is no telling what this team can do in the Atlantic 10.  Richmond has a lot of talent, but tonight, the Bonnies won with their hearts.  A top 6 finish in the Atlantic 10 is not out of the realm of possibility with more performances like this one.

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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.

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