The Result: The Bonnies dropped an absolutely unforgivable game tonight to UMES by a score of 82-80 and lost their third game of the year against seven wins. UMES entered the game at 5-8 and was ranked a bottom 50-60 team in the country. They shot the ball 7-12 from three in the first half, forced the Bonnies into eight first half turnovers and built a 12 point lead at the break. This will go down with the Central Arkansas loss from 2012 as Mark Schmidt’s worst home loss. If you were banking on the Bonnies beating Delaware on the 30th you certainly have a lot less faith in that outcome now. I have to say this loss is stunning and really makes me re-think the team’s ceiling for sure. For all those folks who say I’m a little slow to jump on the “Bandwagon” and annoint this team: this is the reason why I’m generally cautious with my predictions. Having said that, maybe this loss was some bad karma for me trashing Binghamton last week……nah, that stuff isn’t real.
The Rundown: I’ve watched almost every game of this team since 2004 and speaking from 2007 on when Schmidt took over, this may have been the worst opening half I’d ever seen. UMES honestly looked like a top 25 team. Offensive rebounds. Banging threes all over the place. Turning us over left and right. We shot 63% at the break and were DOWN 12 points! That’s mindblowing. I think our players were more stunned than anything else. Also, not having the students in the RC is a freaking nightmare…place was morgue until our second half run….
You knew the second half would see a regression to the norm if you will but it wasn’t enough for the Bonnies who were done in by an ill-timed three pointer from freshman Jay Adams when they had a chance to seal a walk-off-win. It was another case of Adams’ stones if you will, getting the better of his basketball brain. Listen you have to love the kids stones there to want to be the hero, but that shot wasn’t his to take IMO. He’ll learn from these things. I believe he took a very similar shot in the Siena game as well.
Posley had put the team on his back the entire game it seemed, but Adams took a wing three point try with 11 seconds left in the game…it never had a chance. UMES got the board, it should have been a jump ball, instead they called a phantom reach-in on Gregg I believe, it was a few FTs, and then a turnover to end the game, such is life.
The Bonnies certainly played better offensively in the last 20 minutes but were nearly just as bad on defense as UMES finished the game 10-17 from three, 14-20 from the line and shot 54% overall. The Bonnies’ defense had been their hallmark this season but the Hawks absolutely lit SBU up tonight.
I thought in the first half Schmidt took a little too long to switch into a new defense. UMES could not miss but we didn’t really give them a pressure or press look in the opening frame. In the second half we went to a 1-3-1 but I thought Dion had a really hard time keeping their point guard #2 Pitt in front of him. Once Pitt turned the corner and got into the lane, it was kick out time for some opening threes for guys like Adino and Devon Martin who combined to shoot 8-13 from three point land. Yes, UMES had a lot of lucky rolls and a few banked three balls tonight…but the Bonnies’ defense was largely to blame for this result.
SBU roared back with energy in the second half but as my brother predicted at halftime, it was a case of another “Almost great Bonaventure comeback” that I’ve seen too many times. I should have left at intermission knowing the ending.
What it means for the Bonnies: “They are what we thought they were!” As someone once said. The Bonnies were going for nine non-conference wins….No more. UMES entered the game a “very poor” team to put it lightly and they took it to our guys. It means we still have a ton of growing to do. It means Mark Schmidt may need to rethink some things for Delaware and he may want to begin with pulling Andel Cumberbatch from the starting lineup (4 points, 4 assists, 1-3 from the field, 3 fouls). Listen I like A.C. and all but I think this team would be better off giving Gregg, or God forbid Jalen Adams some time. I’m starting to grow concerned over Schmidt’s lack of time for Adams as I fear a player with his ceiling could vault…that’s for another post I guess though…. It means if you thought the Bonnies were cruising to 18-20 wins you may want to think about that too.
The Good News: Posley is an absolute machine most night (26 points, 9-19), our bigs had a monster night on offense: Dion had 16 points and Youssou had 18 points, 12 boards and four blocks. We showed a lot of fight in the second half but honestly, I’m a little tired of giving credit for fighting back in games…that should be a given. Also, Mark Schmidt looks like a god dammed beast on the sidelines running with a blown up Achilles. Do our players see this man?! What a freaking warrior Schmidty is. The guy has an Achilles that’s been torn apart and he’s out there running around, no crutch. Props.
The Bad news: Ugh. I don’t know where to begin. This loss will KILL our RPI if you’re into that kinda thing. It means we can’t go rolling into UMass on a hot steak, we won’t win nine non-conference games and we need to examine our expectations for this team just a bit. Our bench also continues to be bad news generally speaking. Finally, bad news for any future home game we play minus the students. If you wanted the fancy 20 win total this game really throws cold water on that ambition.
Player of the game: Posley. Kid went off again. Fifth game over 20 points. Shot the hell out of the ball in big spots and put the team on his back. He’s a really good player and we’re beyond lucky to have nabbed him. I don’t know where this offense would be without his shooting and improving slashing abilities. He’s stepped in from day one and been our best weapon. Credit the staff for landing this immediate impact transfer.
Good stats: Shot 54%, out-rebounded them, had 16 team assists. Ndoye/Posley’s stat lines were very nice to see. I had about four holiday themed adult beverages during the game and my dog got and ate seven milk bones (he gets one for each made three ball).
Bad stats: Defense was asleep at the wheel tonight. 54% for the game, 58% in the first half. We only caused 12 turnovers for a team that was turning it over 27% of their possessions coming into the game. We turned it over eight times in the first 20. 10-17 from three point line shows we have not resolved our issue of defending the three point line yet and league play is just a game away. This was supposed to be a team we terrorized on defense, instead they came at us all night long and just kept making shots.
Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Hero of the game: Dion Wright. Wright had some big buckets and offensive boards down the stretch of this game to keep us close. His effort was there all night though I though Schmidt allowed him to be exposed some atop the 1-3-1 tonight to much quicker guards who went around him.
What’s Up Next: @ Delaware on the 30th. I’d say we should win, but I don’t know right now.