RECAP: Bonnies de-feather Hawks again!

Dion Wright totaled 15 points and helped clamp down defensively on DeAndre' Bembry during the Bonnies victory over Saint Joseph's.

Dion Wright totaled 15 points and helped clamp down defensively on DeAndre’ Bembry during the Bonnies victory over Saint Joseph’s.

The Hawk is dead again.

There was a time when St. Bonaventure couldn’t buy a victory over Saint Joseph’s – if purchasing a win (or basket) in college basketball was possible.

Now, the Bonnies have beaten the Hawks three times in the same season - the latest triumph coming 60-49 in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

The St. Joe’s players will be handing in their uniforms tomorrow morning while the Bonnies will be gearing up for a quarterfinal matchup against Dayton.

Shane was supposed to put together this postgame recap, but he got caught up in the excitement and left press row for a few minutes before returning to his duties. He asked me to step in and pinch hit this one tonight so he could make his way back to Hoboken and rest up for tomorrow night’s quarterfinal matchup.

Let’s recap this one:

The Bonnies were so putrid in the first half that the Olean Middle School co-ed team would have had the lead on them too. SBU fell behind by 10 points and trailed 28-23 at the half. Mark Schmidt’s club shot 9-27 from the field.

Luckily, the Hawks aren’t a very good team and the Bonnies actually came to play in the second half. The offensive picked up just enough, the defensive effort was the best of the season and St. Joe’s shot like the Blog staff would after slamming six Rolling Rocks.

On to the Flyers and those insufferable fans from Dayton.

Player of the game

Dion Wright has been so consistent and efficient this season that his effort has been taken for granted. It’s time to give him his due.

Wright kept the Bonnies in it when they couldn’t hit a shot in the first half and helped them pull away after halftime. Wright produced 15 points and nine rebounds and, along with Andell Cumberbatch, used his length and quickness defensively to fluster DeAndre’ Bembry.

Wright might be the most underrated, under-appreciated player in the Atlantic 10. He might be SBU’s MVP this season. This tournament could make his a household name.

Ivan Kovacevic Unsung Hero of the Game

Denzel Gregg played like a man. The way he has performed lately is what I expected from the sophomore the entire season.

Gregg logged 34 minutes and grabbed 15 rebounds, helping the Bonnies to a 48-33 edge on the glass.

His 1-6 shooting effort and ill-advise drives to the baskets are forgiven on this night.

With Jay Adams not returning anytime soon (did you see the size of his injured finger?), Gregg will have to continue to be on top of his game for the Bonnies to advance.

Why the Bonnies won

Defense. Defense. Defense.

The Bonnies played with energy and aggressiveness on the defensive end. That, combined with their length and closing speed, bothered the Hawks throughout.

Bembry, perhaps the A-10’s best player, shot 3-14 from the floor. The guard trio of Chris Wilson, Shavar Newkirk and Aaron Brown combined to shoot 0-18. The Bonnies also extended to eventually cool off Isaiah Miles, who helped St. Joe’s maintain the lead over the first 27 minutes with his outside shooting.

The last two games the Bonnies have allowed 52 and 48 points. The 48 is the fewest for an opponent this season.

Now, if only they can clamp down on Dayton, too …

Play of the game

Marcus Posley threaded a long bounce pass to a cutting Wright for a lay-up with 13:33 remaining. The bucket tied the game at 34 and helped spur a 16-3 run that gave the Bonnies the lead for good.

SBU went from down 34-27 to up 43-37 in the matter of seven minutes. The Hawks twice closed the gap to four, but that’s as close as they would get.

The assist was one of six for Posley.

Tweet of the day

Stats that weren’t so great

Posley and Youssou Ndoye turned the ball over six times apiece.

Ndoye looked frantic in the post. He needs to slow down more, like he did in the second half.

The backcourt of Posley and Cumberbatch went 2-13 on 3-pointers. They will need to shoot better against better offensive teams they may see in this tournament (Dayton, for one).

Déjà vu all over again

The Bonnies also trailed Fordham 28-23 at halftime in the regular season finale before dominating the second half for a 66-52 victory. This one followed the same script.

Reason to be optimistic about Friday

Dayton buried the Bonnies in two regular season meetings. I wasn’t looking forward to a quarterfinal matchup with the Flyers, but now I’m not so sure that UD is such a daunting task.

The Bonnies are playing their best basketball of the season right now. So is Ndoye, who powered his way to 18 points and eight rebounds and got St. Joe’s in foul trouble.

Dayton’s bench is short and the Flyers don’t have a lot of size. If Ndoye is on his game and his teammates make a willing effort to him the ball plenty, the Bonnies have a chance.

Either way, I expect this one to be close the whole way.

From the telecast

Analyst Ben Howland likes the Bonnies as a dark horse to win the tournament.

If they can get past Dayton and somehow avoid Richmond, George Washington or VCU, I give them a decent chance, too.

Thoughts from Press Row

Gregg had a career high 15 rebounds and had one of the nastiest blocks you’ll ever see tonight.

The contingent was strong as “Let’s go Bonas!” chants echoed throughout the concourse of the Barclay’s Center prior to the tip.  Murmurs of nerves ran rapid as many fans felt the worry of beating the Hawks three times in one season.

From the first whistle our boy’s struggled.  Like an unseasoned thoroughbred out of the gate; but just as shades of last years semi-final match-up began to gloom, the Brown and White turned it on.

A base-line jumper by previously scoreless Marcus Posley lit a spark underneath the Bonnies.  74 seconds later the “Sandman” knocked down a 3 ball.  Just over a minute later a sneaky Pistol Pete-like bounce pass on a breakout led to another bucket.  From then on the Bonnies never relinquished the lead. At times it was hairy, almost as if the Bonnies were trying not to go up by eight.  But as the most prolific fan section of the tournament grew louder our Bonnies found a way.

Denzel ripped down 15 boards, fan-favorite and senior Ndoye poured in 18 and the Bonnies lived to fight another day.  Bonnies fans often reference “The Run” as a lifetime favorite memory.  Let’s hope tonight is just the beginning of another “Run”.

The opponent that lies ahead is the #2 seeded Dayton Flyers; but, for some reason as I write this brief post-game, I’m unphased.  Friday night is “House Money” and my heart tells me that Marky Mark has an ace up his sleeve.

Let’s Go Bonnies!


Schmidt, Bonnies seeking another tournament run

Mark Schmidt has led the Bonnies to six Atlantic 10 tournament victories, including the title in 2012.

The Bonnies’ record in Atlantic 10 tournament games isn’t exactly exemplary.

They have participated in the tournament 30 times. They have lost their first game 18 times. They are 18-29 overall.

From 1985 to 1995, SBU lost 11 conference tournament games in a row. That futile stretch, of course, encompassed the entire DeCarli and Chapman coaching eras. Luckily for the bad news Bonnines of the mid-2000s, the A-10 ballooned to 14 teams and only accepted 12 into the tourney.

There have been a few good stretches. The Bonnies won their opening tournament game four straight years from 1982 to ’85 under Jim Satalin and Jim O’Brien. O’Brien led SBU to three wins and a title game appearance in 1984.

Jim Baron’s teams won games in 1996, ’97 and ’98 and two more in 2000 to advance to the championship game.

But no SBU coach is more accomplished in Atlantic 10 tournament games than the current one. The Bonnies have won at least one game in four of their five tourney appearances under Mark Schmidt. They are 5-1 in their last six games.

Schmidt owns a 6-4 mark in tournament games at SBU. Only O’Brien (4-3) has a winning record among school coaches. Only Schmidt has won two or more games in multiple tournaments.

There’s a good chance Schmidt adds to the win total when the Bonnies face Saint Joseph’s, a team they have beaten twice this season, on Thursday at the Barclays Center.

What’s behind Schmidt’s tournament success? His teams are tough to prepare on short notice and Schmidt does well in preparing his team on quick turnarounds. Schmidt’s teams also tend to win most games they should and hang around in others they shouldn’t come tourney time.

Jay Adams Ruled Out

Adams is still out with the broken finger.

Adams is still out with a broken finger.

In contrast to a previously published tweet/report from News Channel 9 reporter Shannon Shepherd a few weeks ago Jay Adams will not be back for the Atlantic 10 Tournament tonight in Brooklyn.

Adam’s had his finger re-evaluated on Tuesday but was not cleared to play. Shepherd tweeted back on March 3rd that “Adams will be back for A10 tourney” and all of Bona Nation hoped that she would be right. Unfortunately, the report appears to have been wrong and Adams’ finger did not heal as quickly as he and the team were hoping.

Adams was one of the Bonnies most efficient offensive players this year and was having a great all-around season, leading the league in A/TO ratio.  His steady play at the point guard position made the Bonnies a more complete and well-rounded offense. His 3PT shooting kept defenses honest and his FT shooting was often useful late in games. Swaggy Jay quickly became a fan favorite.

Unfortunately, the Bonnies will go without him the rest of the way and fans will have to wait until November to see the guard.

For the year Adams averaged 10.0 points, 4.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and shot 38% from the floor over 32.5 minutes a game. He missed being named to the A10’s all-conference team.

The Bona Blog first reported Adams would likely be out for the remainder of the season following the team’s loss to UMass back on February the 11th. Adams was a three time A10 Rookie of the Week award winner.

In recent games the Bonnies have gone with Marcus Posley at the point guard position and have played Andell Cumberbatch and Denzel Gregg on the wings.

SBU tips against St. Joe’s in the 7/10 game tonight at 6:30 PM.