Sunday Synopsis (S17, V12): Adams and Mobley Power Bonnies to 4th Straight W
Opening Statement: After a pair of home victories over St. Joseph’s and George Washing a week ago, the Bonnies had gotten back to a .500 record in the A10 at 4-4.
Stumbling out of the blocks to a 2-4 start wasn’t what anyone had planned after a red hot finish to the non conference schedule, but we all knew the schedule would ease up and Mark Schmidt’s club would have a chance to run off some wins.
This week’s schedule sent the Bonnies on the road, looking to continue their winning ways at George Mason and Duquesne, SBU did just that with one blow out win on Wednesday and an absolute thriller on Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
Wednesday night was the Matt Mobley and Nelson Kaptuo show as the pair single-handedly put the Patiots down, combining to score 55 points and knocking in 13 three pointers. Kaputo played his best ever game as a Bonnie draining shot after shot from deep, at one point making four straight three pointers. Kaputo displayed the value he brings to the team as another shooter on the floor, capable of forcing defenses to close out on all three guards up to 30 feet on the floor.
Schmidt, to his credit, rewarded Kaputo by keeping him in the game until the final horn sounded as the junior reserve logged 25 minutes. We then took to Twitter and said that Schmidt would troll the fanbase and would played Kaputo six minutes on Saturday vs. Duquesne
….he actually did just that, as Kaputo played just five minutes after his career night…though there was plenty of reasoning behind that decision as anyone watching the game knows.
Mobley, for the second game in a row (after scoring 24 vs.GW) showed why he’s the team’s most explosive scorer. Like Marcus Posley before him, Mobley is capable of carrying a team on his back for games on end. Sure, he will go through a cold spell, but when he’s on…forget it. That’s what GW and Mason experienced this week. They got full on cold-blooded shooter Mobley.
WARNING: Highlights contain a TON of three pointers 3️⃣👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/X77573fRIo
— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) February 1, 2018
Saturday’s game was one too be nervous about. Duquesne, under first year head coach Keith Dambrot, is much improved on both sides of the ball and the program finally seems to have some energy behind it.
Further, Bona and Duquesne always seem to play classic games that come down to the final possession; regardless of record, location or anything else that would normall matter. This year’s version in the ‘Burg was no different…expect it was on National T.V. I suppose.
It took an heroic effort from Jay Adams (40 points, 7 assists, eight three pointers) to top a Dukes team that led nearly the entire second half. The Bonnies sprinted out of the gate to take a 13 point lead but eventually found themselves down a dozen points to the upstart Dukes who entered the game with six conference wins.
But, whenever it seemed the Dukes were a bucket or two from ending the game, Jay Adams would either come up with another bucket or another terrific assist to keep the team within distance. Saturday night he was the ultimate Alpha dog.
With a chance to end the game under 30 seconds, Adams dribbled out the shot clock and drained a deep three pointer after the Dukes gave him plenty of space to pull up off a screen. Honestly, after the previous 39 and a half minutes, there was no doubt the shot was going in.
Here's the game-winning 3-pointer by Jaylen Adams (@10jadams) with 5 seconds to play.
Adams scored 40 points in St. Bonaventure' 84-81 win against Duquesne. pic.twitter.com/bdMznYsdc7
— Sarah K. Spencer (@sarah_k_spence) February 4, 2018
Adams was as locked in as he’s ever been, carrying the club on his back the entire second half. Jay set the record for an opposing player at the Palumbo Center with his 40 points. More importantly than his 40 points, was that Adams put up 21 shots. Jay is the team’s best shooter and scorer and the team has not been getting him an adequate numner of shots lately relative to his talents.
If Bona wants to keep winning it would be wise for Adams to take upwards of 20 shots per game, and for about half of those to be three pointers where he is shooting an incredible 47%. We’ve said it many times before, but this team’s best shot every single time down the floor could be a Jay Adams’ 28 footer. (Also see below from a Tweet of ours well before the end of the game…we don’t always get it right but this one we nailed…and the Kaputo one above actually)
With that said, let’s dive a bit deeper into the week that was for the Bonnies who all the sudden find themselves tied for third in the conferencce following their four straight wins with back to back home games on tap.
Where they Stand:
|RPI||KenPom||SOS||Vs. Top 100||Winning Streak|
|16-6 (6-4)||#48 (51 last week)||#73 (78 last week)||
107 (85 Last week)
Mobley and Adams Shine in Road Wins- How many times has it been said that if the Bonnies want to win big that Adams and Mobley need to shine? Well, this week the pair of senior guards could not have played any better. Mobley went for 35 on the road against Mason and Adams went for 40 including a virtual buzzer beater on Saturday. The pair knocked in 17 three pointers across the two games, Mobley grabbed 10 rebounds during his 35 point effort and Adams dished out seven helpers on Saturday. The pair showed that while it’s possible to take one of them out of the game, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate both of them. The team cannot expect to get 20 point games from Kaputo and the like very often, so these two on more nights than not, have to carry the club. This week they did just that and reminded everyone why they’re the best scoring pair in the conference when they’re right.
Kaputo Makes Impact in Another Win- After his clutch three pointers to help Bonas earn a win over St. Joe’s, Kaptuo had himself a career night at Mason scoring 20 points on 6-9 shooting from deep. On a night when Jay Adams was 0-3 from deep and just 2-5 from the field, the back up had him covered. It’s great to see Kaputo showing that he is more than capable of running the offense for Schmidt, not just for this year, but for next season as well. With Adams and Mobley gone in about six weeks (don’t cry yet), it will likely be Kaputo’s offense to run as a senior and he’s making the coaching staff and fans feel better about his ability to take over for an essential living-legend in Adams.
Let The Shooters Shoot- Hey, it doesn’t take a stat master to figure out that the Bonnies are at their best when they’re taking and making a lot of three pointers. Bonaventure ranks 27th in America in three point shooting (39.5%) but just 261st in two point shooting (47.5%). This shouldn’t come as a shock at the Bonnies have a few deadly shooters on the club with Adams (47%), Mobley (38%), Brockington (43%) and emerging Kaputo (36%).
Pair that with a paper-thin front court that finishes to score at the rim, and a bunch of poor mid-range jump shooters, it should be obvious that the team needs to let Adams, Mobley, Brockington and even Kaputo take more three pointers. Still, Bona only scores the 252nd most points from behind the arc. You cannot be a top 30 shooting team in the country but only get the 252nd most points from that area on the floor. SBU almost needs to turn themselves into a bit of a Davidson offense this year: Let it fly from deep as often as possible. It can certainly be a fickle shot, but this season it’s usually Bonas’ best one. It’s frustrating to see box scores where Taqqee and Stockard are getting up more attempts than Adams. Yes, that’s part of the defensive game plan (And Adams does a great job as a willing passer) but SBU needs to adjust to an extent and ensure their horses are getting enough looks.
Offense Coming Around- After scoring 70 in back to back wins over the Hawks and Colonials, the Bona offense woke up big time this week putting 85 on Mason and 84 on Duquesne. This was a very encouraging sign for a team that had struggled to score it a bit in league play. Don’t think that the three point makes don’t have a whole lot to do with this slump-busting week. Bona shot 13-23 from deep vs. Mason and 11-23 vs. Duquesne (24-46 for 52%). Shooting over 50% from deep isn’t going to be a norm, but the Bonnies’ offense is driven by their guards and when they’re shooting it well…it’s a whole different offense than shooting 34% from deep vs. URI and Davidson. SBU also shot 61% on two pointers vs. Mason and 49% vs. the Dukes; showing improvement in that space as well. Transition buckets are the easiest way to improve that scoring percentage.
Taqqee Comes up Big- Idris Taqqee hasn’t had the type of senior year that most fans would have hoped in terms of developing on the offensive side of the ball, but boy did Taqqee come up big on Saturday night. The senior wing pulled in seven offensive rebounds, included several late in the game to give SBU second and third scoring chances when they needed them most. Further, Taqqee played his usual solid defense on Dukes’ guards including Rene Castro-Caneddy (21 points). Give Idris credit for making the exact type of winning plays Mark Schmidt always says he makes. Adams will get all the credit and ink, and rightfully so, but Taqqee had a big hand in Saturday’s road win.
What’s with the Lay Ups?- If it seemed like the Bonnies missed about a dozen lay-ups on Saturday night it’s because they pretty much did. In fact, SBU has struggled to score at the rim this season as much as any team in the country. This shouldn’t come as a great surprise given the Bonnies’ lack of interior scoring and Jay Adams’ struggles in that space this year (Maybe ankle related, maybe not, who knows). After doing some digging we provided the stat below. Further evidence that this team needs to take a whole lot more three point attempts and rely less on scoring at the rim. Some stats from last night via Twitter on this topic…
Dukes on the Rise: While they likely won’t find themselves with a double bye in D.C. this season, things are looking up at Duquesne under Keith Dambrot. A man who coached LeBron James in high school and did great work at Akron for 12 seasons, Dambrot is already turning the Dukes around in a job that’s a tough one in the A10. Expect Duquense to experience a Schmidt-type turnaround under their new coach. How Duquesne landed Dambrot while Dayton, with all their resources and winning ways tabbed Anthony Grant still blows my mind. If Dambrot can’t get things going at Duquesne no one can.
Overractive Tweet of the Night:
Taking a Look at Advance Conference Only Advanced Statistics:
What’s Ahead: After back to back road games the Bonnies return home to the RC this week for a pair of games against St. Louis and then for homecoming and 80’s weekend vs. Richmond. SLU is currently 13-11 and 6-5 in the league. The Billikens are playing their second season under head coach Travis Ford and sport a new-like roster thanks to plenty of transfers and some impact freshman. SLU is playing very well of late, winning five of six games with their only loss in that span coming to VCU in a one point OT loss. Known for his offensive mind, Ford’s SLU team actually ranks 65th in defensive efficiency and just 224th in offensive effificeny.
Following Wednesday’s tilt the Bonnies get a Richmond team that has completely turned their season around. Richmond started the season 2-10 but has figured it out in league play, winners of six of seven, and sporting a conference record of 6-4. Richmond is just 8-14 overall and ranks outside the top 175 in both offense and defense and truly does not do any one thing well at all (nationally speaking) aside from steals (24th). U of R has won their last three road games and are led by 6-10 freshman Grant Golden, 6-4 sophomore guard De’Monte Buckingham as well as 6-4 sophomore Nick Sherod. Sir “KenPom” gives the Bonnies a 78% chance to beat SLU and predicts an eight point spread and an 86% chance to down Richmond, this time with a predicted 11 point win over the current 3rd place Spiders.
Looking for some new Bonas Hoops gear? Look no further than the Spors Locker, Olean’s number 1 sports outlet. They’ve got new for 2017 Wolf Pack shirts and a new Lady’s V-neck as well. Check them out online here or in town before your next trip to the RC!
(Photos used with permission from Steve Harrison. You can visit his website and check out his fantastic work here)