RECAP: Bonnies de-feather Hawks again!
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.