Four Mile Brewing Post Game: URI 71, Bonnies 59
By Vinny Pezzimenti
The most optimistic St. Bonaventure basketball fan will tell you the Atlantic 10 is still wide open, still up for grabs for the top handful of teams.
And, while that technically is true, the Bonnies sure feel like a longshot with 10 games still to play.
The Bonnies (13-7, 5-3) are still only one game out of first place in the muddled top of the A-10 after Saturday’s disappointing 71-59 loss at Rhode Island.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that they are winless in their three games against the five other teams at the top.
While there’s no shame in losing at URI and Richmond or at home to Dayton, the Bonnies must start ticking off wins against the top teams if they have any aspirations of repeating as Atlantic 10 (co) champions.
The Bonnies are 5-3 in the A-10, but they’ve fattened up on wins against sub-.500 teams. Of their final 10 opponents, only four are .500 or better.
So maybe there’s hope. In addition to continuing beating up on the lower half of the league, wins at home against VCU and La Salle in February are also critical.
1. Mobley goes missing
For as great as Matt Mobley was down the stretch against St. Joe’s, he was equally bad much of Saturday afternoon. A streaky shooter, Mobley was 1-10 from the floor and 1-6 on 3-pointers. Without Mobley clicking, SBU finished with its lowest point total of the season.
2. Nothing in reserve
The Bonnies bench was as thin as it’s been all season on Saturday. Coach Mark Schmidt only used eight players – and three played sparingly. Mobley logged 40 minutes, Jaylen Adams and Denzel Gregg 37, and Idris Taqqee 36. Schmidt’s lack of confident in his reserves was evident when Adams and Gregg picked up their second fouls a few minutes apart midway through the first half. Neither was off the floor for long.
3. This rally comes up short
While the loss was discouraging, we must acknowledge the Bonnies’ ability to rally. We saw it against St. Joes. We nearly saw it again against URI. SBU trailed by double digits most of the second half and by 14 when it rattled off 11 points in a row to make it a game in the final minutes. Unfortunately, the Rams are too good at home to fall behind that much and expect to overcome it.
4. Ayeni still progressing
Josh Ayeni is going to be a very good player for the Bonnies, but he had his share of problems inside against URI’s more experienced and stronger big men. Ayeni does well to position himself well on the post, but he doesn’t use his 6-9 frame and leaping ability well enough yet to finish inside consistently. That was obvious Saturday as he went 4-13 from the floor.
5. Rams frustrate Bonnies ‘O’
The Rams’ length and athleticism on defense confounded the Bonnies more than any opponent this season. Every offensive possession was a struggle. The Bonnies never got into a rhythm. They shot 18-61 from the floor, 6-19 on 3-pointers, and registered just 10 assists. Pretty sad numbers for the A-10’s most potent offense.
Moment of the game
Mobley missed an open shot in paint with 1:22 remaining that would have cut URI’s lead to four, and the Rams gathered the rebound for a fast break lay in plus the foul for Jared Terrell.
Player of the game
Hassan Martin could not be stopped inside by the tandem of SBU’s Ayeni and David Andoh. The URI big man posted 20 points, eight boards and swatted four shots.
The Bonnies try to start another winning streak as they host longtime rival Duquesne at 8 p.m. Wednesday.