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Recap: Bonnies 72 vs. La Salle 67

digvictory_item025For tonight’s game preview I chose to simply bang out some observations on the game as it went along. At the half and then again at the final whistle. Before reading those, below are my parting thoughts on the game as a whole…

What a win, just when I thought the Bonnies were going to throw another victory into the wind, they manage to get themselves together inside the final minute and ice down a much needed win. The victory snaps a 4 game losing streak, and is the first home win in 52 days. This was a great “team” win in every sense of the word. So many players really made a key contribution in tonight’s game from Nicholson right on down to Tyler Benson. Bonaventure’s 22 turnovers were too many once again, but they made up for it by playing good half court defense (held La Salle to 36.9% shooting) and some great ball movement and unselfish play (14 assists).

Malcolm Eleby- is the player of the game for my money. Eleby had 14 points and 9 rebounds, his best game of the year. Malcolm got to the rim almost at will, and connected on 6 of 8 free throws. His dribble penetration was great tonight, and his 3 assists seemed to be the biggest of the night. A well deserved quality game from the sophomore point guard. Malcolm also set a Bonaventure record by slapping hands with the school mascot twice, during the course of the game. I personally loved it, as long as we’re wining.

Andrew Nicholson-played another great game. 12 points, 8 boards and 6 blocks are all in a days work. Nicholson did this in just 22 minutes. His foul trouble keeps him next to the coaches during much of the game, but once he learns to play within himself more on the defensive end he may average a triple double…ok, he won’t do that but his numbers will be scary.

Chris Matthews-15 points, 2 assists for the junior sharp-shooter. Matthews drained some big threes late in the second half that keyed the win, and added a nice floater in the key to cap a big run. His 3 turnovers are acceptable with his 5-11 shooting.

Jonathan Hall-Another all around great game by Hall. He seems to slip between the cracks a lot because he never seems to score over 15 points. Hall had 12 points 8 boards and 7 assists tonight from the three guard spot. He consistently got to the rim and finished, grabbed huge rebounds and found guys for great open looks. Hall is a tough player who plays with a big time chip on his shoulder, we need more like him. His tip-dunk in the second half was something to see.

Tyler Benson- Sank back to back three pointers in the first half to finish with 6 points 3 boards and 2 assists. He never seems to have a negative A/TO ratio, makes a lot of very heady plays, and probably hustles more than anyone on the team. If he can find his shot in these last few weeks he will give us a nice weapon off the bench.

Maurice Thomas-8 points 4 rebounds and a team high 3 steals. Thomas only played 17 minutes but converted at a perfect 4-4 from the field when he was in. He scores a lot of garbage points, and they are welcomed. Big time hustle tonight.

D’Lancy Carter- 5 points and 4 boards in 17 minutes, Carter did a nice job spelling Nicholson when he went out due to whistles. His four turnovers were too many; he has to start catching the ball in the post with more consistency to help in the final weeks of his senior season. Like Benson, we need Carter to play his best basketball off the bench late in his senior year.

First Half Observations:

  • Great start to the game for Nicholson before being slapped with his second personal foul. In just a few minutes of work the Freshman had 6 points, 5 boards and 5 blocks. If he can learn to stay out of foul trouble he is going to have a triple double sooner than later. Just scary good.
  • To his credit, I thought Carter played fairly well in place of Andrew in the first frame. Granted he let two good passes from Malcolm Eleby go right through his hands, he also added 4 points and 3 boards off the bench.
  • Tyler Benson canned 2 of 3 deep balls in the first half, the two being on the back to back variety. People get down on Tyler very quickly, but he is a great kid, he plays his tail off, and does a lot of little things to help the team. If Tyler can find his stroke again, he can play a larger role within the team.
  • Much maligned Malcolm Eleby had a number of ugly turnovers, but, he did get to the rim for 8 points and also added 3 boards. When Malcolm turns the corner and beats his man he is at his best, he can get to the rim and dish or finish, he just needs to do it a more more often. Most of his turnovers come when he is trying to run the half court offense and pass the ball into the post. He needs to dribble to the basket, or not dribble at all.
  • La Salle’s 9 first half offense boards killed us. With a 51% shooting effort in the half, being up 7 seems to be a let down. That is due to the turnovers (I believe 13) and second chance points for La Salle. Jerrell Williams has 4 offensive grabs through 20.
  • Jonathan Hall needs to drive to the basket more, much like Eleby. Hall is big and tough to guard when going forward, he had 6 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds at the half.
  • Keys to the second half will be… taking care of the basketball, creating “1 and done” possessions for La Salle and getting to the rim and finishing. That means a big half from Nicholson, Hall and Eleby. Don’t settle for jumpers because we can get our points in the paint vs. the team, as shown in the opening frame….

Second Half Observations

  • Starting the second half Bonaventure tried to make it a point to pound the ball into the paint. However, a few errant passed and missed layups squandered some good opportunities to expand their 7 point lead. Eleby did have a nice drive to the basket to open the half, converting on the left handed layup that opened a then 9 point lead.
  • Bona doesn’t seem to have many plays to get Nicholson the play in the half court set. He scores nearly all of his points on offensive boards and dribble penetration hand offs.
  • Much like the Fordham game, Bonas extended 2-3 zone defense gave La Salle fits at times.
  • La Salle is a very athletic team, much like Bonaventure is. Both teams have had some monster blocks which were fun to see.
  • 10:16 left and the Bonnies lead by 8 thanks to two great passes from Eleby. One the first he penetrated and kicked out to Matthews who canned a big time three ball and on the next possession following a Nicholson rebound, Eleby had a great dart pass to Thomas who had an easy lay in. If every dog has his day, maybe today is Malcolm’s day. He deserves it that is for sure.
  • 6:43 to go, Bonas up 57-51 after a three pointer courtesy of Matthews three right in front of the Bonnies bench. Now its crunch time for the team, as they try to close out a game with a two possession lead and less than 7 to play. We have seen this go both ways before, hopefully tonight is goes well and brings us our third league win and first home victory in 52 days.
  • Hall had a ridiculous follow up dunk on a missed jumper. If we were Xavier, it would be on SportsCenter tonight.
  • I am really not sure why, but with 2:57 left and Bonaventure up a dozen, John Giannini watched his team let the game slip away possession after possession without calling a timeout. They are on the road and were giving up a huge run during the final minutes and the good Dr. just sat there with his hands under him. Call a TO! Or don’t, it only helped Bonaventure.
  • 1:21 to play and the Bonnies lead 68-63. Need to hold on and win this game. It would be a terrible collapse if they did not. Just two minutes ago the lead was an even dozen, thanks to a few deep threes by the Explorers that lead as been cut in half. Time to handle a press, and make some free throws…
  • 24.3 seconds to go and the Bonnies lead 70-67 after a rebound and monster flush on the other end from Nicholson. La Salle came down and scored off another offensive rebound to make it a one possession game. Let’s see if we can inbound the ball without a turnover vs. the La Salle press this time.
  • A third timeout called on an inbounds. This team has a serious inability to get the ball from the brown onto the court when needed. Come on guys figure this out.
  • Matthews to the line with under 20 ticks left on the clock…trying to extend the lead and he makes the first. Makes the second.
  • Andrew put the nail in the coffin so to speak after pulling down a rebound inside ten seconds of another La Salle miss. A 72-67 win is complete. The losing streak is over.

A win that may, may send the Bonnies to Atlantic City. They now have three wins, two more than Fordham, Charlotte and George Washington. We have games left with Charlotte and GW, so winning those will be critical to our chances. Nevertheless, tonight was a big win. Wednesday night we travel to Rhode Island to take on a very good Rams team, and a week from tonight the squad is back in the RC to take on UMass, another 3 win team.

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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.


  1. Chuck

    Wow Ian, there isn’t a need to go to the game with detailed reports like this one. I understand why you called Malcolm the MVP of the game, but it was truly a team effort (like you already stated). Things that stood out for me on individual players.

    Malcolm – did not have any trouble turning the corner on 6’5″ Rodney Green. Curious how Malcolm will do against UMass and Temple’s tall point guards. Ian is correct, a great game from Malcolm.

    Chris – looks his shooting stroke is back. It is probably just me, but it seems his entire game is improved when he is hitting his shot. More and more he is becoming comfortable at point guard.

    Andrew – his offensive post game is rapidly developing. He did not shy away from taking it to the hoop against LaSalle’s talented big men.

    Jonathan – only thing lacking in Jonathan’s game is a jump shot. He is like Kevin Houston and Rashaan Palmer in his ability to take it to the hoop. Andrew is the most talented player on the team, but right now Jonathan is the most important.

    Tyler – helps the team in many ways that do not appear in the stat sheet. His 3 point shooting could play an important role for this team.

    Grease – has another solid game and he plays just 17 minutes!!!

    This team plays solid defense, which is reflected by LaSalle shooting 36.9% from the field. Incredible how the Bonnies can force it into the paint the entire game. Just think how much better the team would be if two player’s with great stokes (Leonard Lewis and Marquise Simmons) were on the team.

  2. frasier

    Great Job. Thanks for all the work.