Good thing Bonnies have fared well on road because RC advantage is no more
The Reilly Center still carries a reputation for being one of the more challenging venues in the Atlantic 10 for an opponent to conquer. I’m not sure why.
Perhaps it is because the students are almost literally on top of the court, chiding the opposition face-to-face. The old arena still shakes with enthusiasm and excitement – not to mention noise – when St. Bonaventure is playing well. Such an atmosphere can prove daunting, yet also motivational for visitors.
Perhaps it is because past glory is difficult to forget or let die. There were many times when the Bonnies were unbeatable on their home court. The Rowdies put fear into the likes of Boeheim, Calipari and Chaney, among others.
Jay Bilas once called the RC one of the five most hostile arenas in the country. The SBU home has also received props from Dick Vitale, Joe Lunardi and countless others.
In reality, the Reilly Center has become just another arena in the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies are 31-31 in A-10 home games since Mark Schmidt took over in 2007.
They are 9-13 over the last three seasons, including 2-4 this year. They actually have won more road conference wins over that time. Since Schmidt has been coach, SBU is 21-42 in A-10 road games – not a bad mark considering the team was underdog in at least 75 percent of those contests.
Saturday’s overtime victory at Saint Joseph’s moved the Bonnies to 4-3 in A-10 road games this season. They are in the thick of the middle of the conference because they have found ways to win away from the Reilly Center.
I’m not sure why Schmidt’s teams don’t win more at home and play relatively well on the road. Maybe the coach and the team feel less pressure to win when playing on the road. Maybe they play more freely. Maybe they are motivated to succeed by opposing fans.
The Bonnies have more four more regular season games – two at home, two on the road. All of them are winnable. All are losable.
Something about the wide ups and downs of this season tell me the Bonnies will split the final four games. I could see them winning at George Washington Wednesday and coming home to an alumni weekend crowd and losing to Duquesne. That is how unpredictable this team has been.
Give the guy a break
Since Malcolm Eleby, I’m not sure there has been a SBU player that has taken more heat on the Tweet machine and message boards than Andell Cumberbrick, ahem, Cumberbatch.
Some of the criticism has been warranted. Cumberbatch has been more inconsistent than his team this season, if that’s possible.
This tweet came during Cumberbatch’s best game of his SBU careeer:
The Bonnies surely wouldn’t have defeated St. Joe’s without @SmooveAce.
The senior tallied 15 points, canned four of the SBU’s six 3-pointers (on 5 attempts), grabbed seven rebounds and guarded the A-10’s best player the entire game – meaning Cumberbatch and DeAndre’ Bembry went at each other for 45 minutes and the matchup was essentially a wash.
Here’s hoping Smoove ignores the Twitter bashers and rides the momentum of Saturday’s performance to a strong end to his senior year.