Post Game: Pittsburgh
The Result: The Bonnies lost 58-54 to Pittsburgh on Saturday snapping their five game winning streak. SBU tried to become only the 4th non-conference team to ever beat the Panthers at the Pearson Evens but fell short due to some late game miscues and Pitt doing a good job closing out the game at the line. Jay Adams had a chance to tie the game at the line with five seconds left but missed a free throw and that was all she wrote.
The Rundown: If you would have told me going into the game that the Bonnies were going to turn the ball over 15 times, shoot only 36% I would have assumed they wouldn’t have been in the game down the stretch, but they were. Jay Adams had a chance to tie the game and likely send it into OT when he was fouled on a three pointer with five seconds left but he made just 2/3 shots, the Bonnies fouled, Pitt made some FTs and then Dion Wright threw away the inbound pass with a chance to tie the game. It was a cruel ending in a game where you hoped the Bonnies would have a shot at the end to tie it. Turned out, Jay’s free throws were that chance.
Honestly, this is a game where we played would I would call a C+ game and still almost beat Pitt.
That gives me a lot of hope. We did defend and rebound (and I thought we would) but we faltered offensively and our turnovers simply killed us. 15 turnovers is a potential 45 missed points. Combine that with our 13-19 free throws and one could say the Bonnies gave Pitt 51 points on the tip. It’s almost impossible to beat ACC teams on the road with those numbers on the stat sheet at the end of the day. We got another nice effort out of Posley (17 points, 6-13) but really didn’t get a whole lot from anyone else on the offensive side of the ball. Ndoye scored just eight points on 2-8 shooting and his four turnovers really hurt the team. He looked like a freshman at times today and that does worry me a bit. For as good as he can look, he looks equally raw in other games and for a senior, that’s not good. We’re going to have to get used to the good/bad Ndoye I think going forward. Pitt really did a nice job defending us inside (they had seven blocks) and made Dion and Youssou’s day rough more often than not. Their interior defense to me, was the difference in the game. We said going into the game to win this game SBU would likely need to complete the trifecta as Schmidt says (Defend, rebound, limit turnovers) and even then, we could lose. Today we did 2/3 and lost a close one.
What it means for the Bonnies: It means that this is a good team; really. Like I said, we played C+ hoops in my opinion and almost beat Pitt. We defended well. We rebounded well. We showed grit and fight. If we play that way every night and get a more efficient offensive effort we will compete with any team in the league. Executing down the stretch of games will have to improve as well. It also means that we should now expect a nine win non-conference record. The next three games must be wins.
The good news: We can compete with a really good team on the road. Posley looks more for real each game. Our defense holds everyone and their mother to 40% shooting. We rebounded well too. Team defense will likely be this team’s calling card as it’s there night after night. If we can just get the offense to click a bit more in terms of turnovers and making some more shots inside, this team could play for a post-season berth of some kind of another.
The bad news: Ndoye doesn’t look like a player who can be depended on every single night out from an offensive standpoint. His passing and turnovers really hurt today. Jay Adams needs to cut down on the turnovers in a major way as well; he’s our point guard and he too had four tonight. Our bench continues to give this team close to nothing on a daily basis. Argue that you feel comfortable when these guys come in all you want, this team is not really deep. Go look at the box score of tonight’s game or almost any game of the year. Our bench players need to be better.
Player of the game: Posley. Kept his team in the game at times, made big shots and continues to get better and better at getting to the rim. He’s not just a shooter anymore. This is a good development. He’s done a great job replacing Matt Wright thus far.
Good stats: +4 on the glass, 40% shooting defense, 30% 3PT defense, Ndyoe and Dion each had at least ten rebounds.
Bad stats: 15 turnovers, had seven shots blocked, shot just 36% from the field, Ndoye was only 2-8 as was Cumberbatch. The bench produced five points, six fouls, eight rebounds and two steals.
Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Hero of the game: I’m not going to give this to any one player but instead give it to the team for showing a lot of fight and grit in this game. There were moments in the 2nd half they could have folded up but they didn’t. They dug deep and had a chance to tie the game under 10 seconds left. That’s something to feel good about; especially for a young team.
What’s Up Next: The Bonnies have off all week and travel to play hapless Binghamton next Saturday. Let’s hope this is the first of at least three straight wins for SBU leading into A10 play. You’d feel great about a nine win NC slate.