Postgame: Jackson State (W, 79-71)
The Result: The Bonnies fended off lowly Jackson State for a 79-71 victory. Let us say it again: a win is a win. The Bonnies (3-1) will take it. But as Mark Schmidt said: “We’ve got to get better.”
The Rundown: Jackson State (1-4) is probably better than its record indicates. Still, this one was much too close for comfort. After leading 41-34 at the half, the Bonnies trailed at a couple different junctures with less than 10 minutes to play.
What it means for the Bonnies: This win shows that the Bonnies are still very much a work in progress. I thought this team might possibly fight for 19-20 wins. Winning 15 will be an accomplishment. And, if they’re struggling this much at home against inferior foes, how much trouble will they have against better opponents on the road? We will find out soon enough.
The good news: Jordan Gathers and Denzel Gregg are (hopefully) on their way back, and Jay Adams is getting better every game.
Player of the game: Speaking of Adams, he pushed the Bonnies to victory in the second half. The freshman netted 19 points, 11 coming after intermission. He hit 4-8 from the field (all 3-pointers) and was 7-8 from the foul line. Adams only had one assist, though. We would like to see more. It’s also important to note that Adams played 37 minutes while Iakeem Alston was a DNP.
Play of the game: Youssou Ndoye took a lob pass from Andell Cumberbatch and dunked it home in the final minutes. At the time, the Bonnies were holding onto to a perilous 68-65 lead. It was Ndoye’s only field goal.
Good stats: The Bonnies hammered the boards, outrebounding the smaller Tigers 42-26. Dion Wright led the way with a career best 13 rebounds and Ndoye added 10.
Bad stats: The Bonnies were sloppy. They committed 18 turnovers and only had 12 assists. Even after SBU regained the lead late, it let Jackson hang around by virtue of giveaways. As good as Adams was, Schmidt noted that he has to take better care of the ball.
What we liked: Not much. The Bonnies let a Jackson State team playing its second road game in three days hang around way too long. At least it was nice to see the team regroup and put the game away late.
What we didn’t like: Ndoye and backup Chris Dees played a combined 26 minutes and committed 10 fouls. That’s bad news in any game. It’s worse news against a team that doesn’t have a great front line. By the way, JSU big man Treshawn Bolden was shooting 11-31 from the field coming into the contest. He hit 4-7 against the Bonnies and scored 16 points.
Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Hero of the game: We might have to start calling this the Dion Wright Unsung Hero of the game. The junior played 40 minutes again and contributed 14 points in addition to his 13 rebounds. Seven of Wright’s rebounds were offensive. With Ndoye a continued no-show on the offensive end, the Bonnies will need Wright to continue to play well.
Anthony Solomon Head Scratching Moment of the game: Ndoye had an open 15-foot jumper from the baseline in the second half, but the big man chose to pump fake and drive to the basket instead. The move resulted in Ndoye’s fourth foul and a seat on the bench.
Matthias “Runs” of the game: The Bonnies trailed by two points with just under eight minutes remaining. That is when they embarked on a 13-3 run to finally take the lead for good. Jay Adams netted seven points during the run, including a key 3-pointer.
What Mark Schmidt was thinking, but didn’t say afterward: “Thank God we didn’t play Tougaloo.” For context, Tougaloo beat Jackson State 88-67 in an exhibition game this year.
Prediction records: Everybody was correct. Ian remains perfect at 4-0 while Vinny and Shane improve to 3-1.
What’s next: The Bonnies play Niagara at the First Niagara Center on Saturday. Rumor has it the teams will be wearing old Buffalo Braves uniforms. Hopefully everybody has safe travels to and from Buffalo.