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WIN: Bonnies 70- Saint Joe’s 61

The Hawk is dead. Until we met again.

The Result:  The Bonnies tried as hard as they could to allow one of the worst shooting teams in the nation spoil a 2-0 home stand, but they had just enough offense to cover the spread (5) and beat the Hawks by nine Sunday afternoon while the rest of America watched the Seahawks lay an egg on Fox complete one of the most insane come back wins you’ve ever seen. The win moves the Bonnies to 3-2 in the A10 as they prep for a Thursday night visit to Duquesne. Not a bad spot to be in all things considered. St. Joe’s is now 1-4 in the league. The Bonnies remain in the upper portion of the standings with the win (not going into places right now because it’s too early).

Video of An “I believe the Hawk is dead” Chant: 

What You Should Know: Honestly, I’m pretty shocked we won this game after watching it and looking at the box score.  I thought Jay Adams would finally bust out of his month plus long shooting slump…he did not, as he went 2-6 from the field. I said this about SJU’s chances of winning the game on Friday:

 “If Bonas can get a 33% 3PT shooting night from the guards and get season average production from Ndoye and Wright they will win this game barring anything nuts from going on (and by nuts I mean like SJU making 8-21 three pointers).” 

Bonas shot 41% from three (very good) but coming into the contest SJU was shooting a near national worst 27% from three. All our defense did today was allow them to shoot an unconscious 9-21 from three (wow, I nearly forecasted that exact number in my nightmare scenario).  St. Joe’s hit three pointers at a rate they hadn’t all year, they grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and contained Ndoye enough to have a chance. Hawks’ wing DeAndre Bembry single-handedly kept SJU in this game with hot three point shooting (6-9) and superb defense (3 blocks) which we told you about. His 27 points were a career high.

Oddly enough with ALL of those things working against the Bonnies today they still found a way to beat the Hawks by nine points on their home floor. I think this speaks more to how bad St. Joe’s than anything else but I’m glad the boys got the win. Shooting 47% from the floor will also help you stay in and win a lot of games.

The team came out beyond sluggish in the first half needing about five minutes to make a field goal, and while SJU was hot for much of the opening frame, SBU trailed only by one point at the break thanks to a late Posley three pointer.

The second half saw a 42 point effort from SBU and the Hawks just couldn’t keep pace…exactly what I hoped would happen as the Hawks came in a very poor offensive club. On Friday I said…

“SJU does not score. 62 points a game is not difficult to top. We hold our opponents to 64.5 points, so if we split the difference SJU is looking at 63 points. The Hawks give up 65 a game, we score 69. That’s 67. That’s a four point difference overall but we’re at home so I’d expect this game to be something like a 7 point Bona win. I’m not a gambler and I don’t mean to jinxing things I don’t believe in jinxes so I’ll say it: This game has Bonas covering written all over it if the spread is under say 6. Like I said before the one thing that always concerns you going into a game is a team really burning us from deep and unless SJU pulls that type of effort out of their ass, they wont. We have a better starting five, a better team and we’re at home with the students in the bleachers. This is a game SBU should win.”

Well, SJU’s great shooting effort wasn’t enough. The Bonnies have a better team top to bottom, playing at home was helpful and Marcus Polsey once again helped carry the team to a win. This was a game where even though things didn’t go according to plan during the 40 minutes, you’ll take the result. That said, there’s a lot to clean up on the defensive end going into this week and our road trip.

You Knew It Was Over When: Hawks’ wing DeAndre Bembry missed two of his three free throws after being fouled on an attempt by Andell Cumberbatch. Once we came down with the second miss the game was finally over. Unlike most of our recent games this one came down to the final minute.

The Good:  I thought the team showed better ball movement today when they went inside to Ndoye. It was great to see him passing the ball effectively out of double teams and he was rewarded for his efforts when his teammates made shots. Ndoye finished with a team high six assists (has to be career high). We had some nice high-low action with he and Dion and got a few easy buckets off it. Posley continues to be a life preserver around this teams’ collective necks. The junior finished with 23 points on 5-10 shooting from three and 8-18 from the field. He hit some massive shots and once again provided the vast majority of the teams’ three point scoring (5 of 7 made 3PT). It was good to see the team hang in the first half while shots weren’t falling, keep it close at the break and then wear down the Hawks in the last 20. The 18 team assists today is a reflection on the better than usual offensive movement we mentioned above. The team won both these “should-win” home games and moved from 1-2 to 3-2. We limited SJU to just two fast break points.

The Bad: This teams’ inability to defend the three point line is no longer scary, but rather comical. As we stated Friday SJU couldn’t throw it in the ocean before they boarded their bus, but a 43% 3PT effort kept them in this game. I can no longer be stunned when other teams roll off the bus and shoot it from 24 feet like they’re making lay-ups. This is a flaw within the team that isn’t going away. They’ll have to find ways to win despite this issue going forward. They could have given Ndoye some more chances to work down low but all in all they did well enough involving the big man today.

The Bonnies failed to hit the boards hard enough on the defensive end allowing enough offensive boards to keep the Hawks in the game. Against a poor shooting team offensive boards are their lifeline- today Bonas threw it to them and it nearly burned us. Why our defenders didn’t go over the top of more screens with Bembry is a mystery to me. Winning while finishing -8 on the glass is an uphill battle the Bonnies won today, but they shouldn’t expect to win many games with this sort of output moving forward. Finally, the Hawks 9-0 run (I believe) to get them back into the game came with Alston/Gregg and Taqqee in the game showing our complete lack of depth. Schmidt had to get Jay and Youssou to the table immediately to stop the run. Schmidt tried to give those second team guys some run but they didn’t execute well in that period and he yanked them just in time.

Posley continues to shoot the Bonnies to wins. He’s been that dude all year long.

Bonnies’ Player of the game: Posley once again. The kid continues to score and score in big moments. His three pointers all seemed to help cut the lead or expand it in critical moments. No, he’s not a stat sheet stuffer, in fact he does little but score. That said, this team NEEDS his shooting and scoring in the worst way. He needs to take 15-20 shots a night because no one else can shoot it like him. Schmidt has given him a lot of responsibility and he continues to step up. Posley is playing his way onto an all-league team at this rate without a question. Some stats via gobonnies.com

  • Posley’s 23 points mark his eighth 20-point game this season, the most of any A-10 player.
  • Posley made five three-pointers (of 10 attempted) for the second game in a row.
  • Posley is now averaging 17.4 points per game for the season. He re-took the A-10 scoring lead over LaSalle’s Jordan Price, who is at 17.3.

Foe of the Game:  Without Bembry SJU may be one of the two worst teams in this league with Fordham. He’s a terrific player who had a career day today. He couldn’t miss from deep, even when guarded well, and had an answer for almost every run we had. His defense also made life tough on Cumberbatch and any guard who slashed into the lane thinking they had a free lay-up. Let’s hope next time we see them he doesn’t have the same shooting touch he did today. If he’s shooting a season norm percentage this is a game SBU wins by 14 instead of nine.

Good stats: 18 assists to seven turnovers is a massive win for the team. We were 76% from the line which I outlined on Friday so we made enough FT’s to help us out. Our 59% second half shooting was what we needed to overcome giving up those nine three pointers and 16 offensive rebounds. Seven team blocks. Jay Adams had a nice “steady” game with the rock- seven points, six assists, five boards and only one turnover. Excellent effort from him. Coming off a career game we did get almost all of the “good Ndoye” today with 15 points, 6 assists, 6 boards and 3 blocks, but the four turnovers were costly. We didn’t beat ourselves today which is sometimes half the battle.

Bad stats: 9-21 3PT defense(43%). 16 offensive boards against. -8 on the glass. Bembry made an NBA highlight reel on us. Our second to least used bench in the entire nation chipped in a stellar two points. Our time to first basket leaves something to be desired..this team needs to find a way to start quicker out of the gates. Better teams can bury you for a poor five 5-7 minutes like we had today.

Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Hero of the game: Gregg for his big jump shot (below) and Cumberbatch for chasing Bembry all around the floor despite not having a ton of success actually guarding him. ‘Batch used up all five of his fouls in the process.

Gegg’s lone points (and the benchs’ lone points) were huge in this one.

I was stunned when: Denzel Gregg hit a big two point jumper late in the game to keep SBU’s head above water. With the shot clock winding down Gregg canned a big bucket with a hand in his face. Did not see it coming at all, major credit to him for hitting a big shot off the bench. Maybe Schmidt gives him some more time with that confidence? Likely not.

I wasn’t stunned when: Jay Adams had his fast break dunked stuffed by the rim. As soon as he got the ball I knew he wasn’t scoring for some reason (mostly because Bembry was trailing him). You need a pump fake or pass there when you’re being trailed by a freak like Bembry who’s just salivating to swat your weak lay-up into the bleachers.

Schmidt Presser Quotes: 

“I thought we got off to a sluggish start, I thought in the first five to six minutes it was similar to George Mason, but I thought we found ourselves and finished the half. We had six to seven stops at the end of the first half and we cut the lead to one.”

“Going into halftime I thought we felt good about ourselves. We didn’t play well in the first half and we were down by one. In the second half, I thought we came out with a lot more energy. Other than Bembry, I thought we defended the rest of the team decently.”

“We didn’t rebound the way we were capable of rebounding which is something we need to improve on but I thought we found a way. Marcus hit a couple big shots, I thought Denzel hit a big shot to push the lead out. We played good enough to outscore them by ten in the second half.”

“We knew it was going to be a tough game. The Atlantic 10 is what it is and it’s always good to win. We haven’t won here since December 3rd so it’s good to make the Reilly Center something it’s supposed to be.”

“In the Atlantic 10, it’s always going to come down to the last two or three minutes, the last two or three possessions … the teams that can make the plays both offensively and defensively are going to win the game. We found a way to make those plays. We also finished the game making our foul shots which is critical.”

Checking the Keys: 

1. Bonas gets the “Good Ndoye” for a 2nd straight game. RESULT: Success. Didn’t get the rebounding but we got the passing. I’ll say more yes than no one this one. 15/6/5 is no small effort.

2. Don’t beat yourself (75% better from line, no more than 10-11 turnovers) RESULT: Success. 76% from the line and a maybe-season-low seven turnovers.

3. Limit SJU’s second chance points, offensive boards, and fast break points. Make this poor shooting team take and make jump shots. RESULT: The 16 offensive boards were a no-go but for the most part SBU did make SJU a shooting team. Problem was they mad shots. This is a Fail. 

What’s Up Next: The Bonnies travel to Pittsburgh to face rival Duquesne on Thursday. The Dukes nearly beat 17th ranked VCU at home this weekend so this isn’t going to be an easy trip for the Bonnies. With a trip to Rhode Island after that, it would be great for the team to get a third win a row against a lesser foe. Duquesne always gives SBU fits down there and I expect this game to more of the same. Let’s hope the Bonnies can find a way to get a W and move to 4-2.

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.