Four Mile Brewing Pre-Game: @ Duquesne (9-13, 2-7)
By: Jonathan May
Quickly: The St. Bonaventure Bonnies head to Pittsburgh to face the Duquesne Dukes at the Palumbo Center Wednesday night. The Bonnies and Dukes both come into the game looking for something to positive to help right their respective ships. The Dukes have lost seven of their last eight but have been playing well offensively by scoring at will; something we’ve obviously seen before from them. The Bonnies on the other hand, have played 73 bad minutes of basketball the past two games and were fortunate to escape with a win over St. Joe’s at home after trailing by 18 in the second half. The Bonnies failed to find any rhythm offensively against Rhode Island last Saturday and desperately need to find some answers before this week ends with a huge home tilt against VCU. Duquesne has long been a team that the Bonnies gotten fat against in terms of scoring the ball, so maybe SBU is playing Jim Ferry’s club at just the right time.
The Skinny on the Dukes: We reached out to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Reporter Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) who is the University of Pittsburgh Beat Reporter and has covered the Duquesne Dukes in the past. He has since given up the Dukes beat, but has some really detailed insight into the Dukes this season as he still follows the program. Also, any person that goes out their way to tell us he got married in a church named after St. Bonaventure will always be respected by us. The entire Q and A is posted below. We can’t thank him enough for his time.
Brian Batko: Fun fact, I got married in July at the St. Bonaventure church here in the Pittsburgh area, so I feel some sense of kinship with your squad. Hopefully these answers are what you’re looking for:
So yeah, now they’ve dropped seven of eight after losing a shootout to Richmond. There’s certainly a chance, if not a likelihood, that Ferry is coaching for his job this season. All the equity built up by beating crosstown basketball big brother Pitt earlier this season didn’t erase four previous years of disappointment, nor did it help the Dukes gain much momentum going forward in this season; after all, they went out and lost to crosstown basketball little brother Robert Morris. Ferry doesn’t deny this is a rebuilding year with a relatively inexperienced team, and he does have some promising freshman pieces in Isiaha Mike Lewis II (that’s the moniker I just came up with for forward Isiaha Mike and combo guard Mike Lewis II) but at some point, you’ve gotta win more games than this staff has — that point comes up even quicker when you’ve got a second-year AD in Dave Harper.
3 Things To Watch:
- Will the offense get back on track? It’s pretty simple, for the Bonnies to win Adams and Mobley have to lead the way. The Bonnies are most effective when those two are scoring because secondary scoring options are more open and can be found in rhythm. Gregg, Ayeni and Taqqee are at their best when the opposing team essentially “forgets” about them and leaves them due the focus on the guards. That didn’t happen at Rhode Island and the Bonnies will need to score to keep with a Dukes offense that can score. SBU has had to win many a shootout in Duquesne before and if they are going to again Adams and Mobley are likely to lead the way.
- The Bonnies need to keep the Dukes from finding their rhythm. Against Rhode Island, this observer wasn’t as down on the defensive effort as some fans were on Twitter. Yes, the Bonnies got beat by double digits, but lost in the outcome was the fact that the Bonnies battled back on the defensive end and got some shots to drop to cut the lead to four under four minutes to play with the ball. Mobley’s out of control runner rimmed out and the Rams hit on a traditional three point play and that five point swing was the dagger. To get back into the game, the Bonnies hit the boards and contested every shot to scratch and claw back in. That sort of desperation is not reasonable to play over the course of 40 minutes but maybe they can build off of that and start making a concerted effort to pressure the ball throughout the game, not just down by double digits. SBU has seldom put together 40 minutes of quality defense but it would be great to see that Wednesday night.
- It’s been said in many columns, stories and podcasts: Mark Schmidt never gets beat the same way twice in a row. Expect the Bonnies to come out and play a disciplined game on the offensive end for sure. Also, the fouls away from the basket that the Bonnies have been committing will be shored up to ensure their best rotation stays on the floor.
Extra Reading: Brian was also very generous in sending along a link that details the first ever televised college basketball game that originated from Pittsburgh. That game featured Duquesne and our very own Bonnies. It’s a great trip back in time to when these small, private institutions were power houses in college athletics before the advent of the Power 5 Conferences and massive TV deals. Click here
Twitter Length Closing Take: The Bonnies figure it out on the offensive end, and find their rhythm by beating Duquesne in tune up for their big match-up with VCU on Saturday.
Prediction: St. Bonaventure 82, Duquesne 76