5 Takeaways from Buffalo Win
Mark Schmidt’s Bonnies earned their forth win of the season on Wednesday in what could only be described as a flat out ugly contest. The game saw the Bonnies turn the ball over 16 times, make just two of 21 three point tries, commit 22 fouls and send Buffalo to the line 32 times. Still, despite all that and managing to score just once (Posley’s jumper with seven ticks left) inside of the last six minutes SBU moved to 4-2. Here are the takeways.
Thank God for Dion Wright- Wright scored a career high 26 points on 12-17 shooting in 35 minutes. The five minutes he wasn’t on the floor the Bonnies looked lost. Everything ran through Dion when he was on the floor (as I called for in the pregame post) and SBU used their forward to exploit Buffalo’s interior. When Dion wasn’t on the floor the ball seemed to go from one Bonnie to another who was unable to create their own shot or set up a teammate. I’ve heard all season long from “experts” and TV guys that Posley is our best player…nonsense. This team would be nothing without Dion Wright and tonight proved as much. Without the senior SBU loses this game without a doubt. There is no more consistent player in the A10 than Dion Wright.
Recognize the “Cold”- When this team isn’t shooting well from deep, they REALLY aren’t shooting well from deep. 2-21 tonight, 6-23 vs. Hofstra, 5-18 vs. Canisius and 4-19 vs. Binghamton. I’ve said since the summer SBU needed to shoot well to win for many reasons we don’t need to dissect here but what’s most disappointing isn’t the poor shooting thus far (30% from 3PT, 267th nationally). It’s the inability to adjust mid-game and score other ways. On a night when Posley shot 1-8 from three, Adams shot 0-3 and Kaputo shot 1-6 SBU got to the line nine times! When you’re having a bad night shooting the ball you have to attack the paint and the rim (much like UB did) and score via higher percentage shots. This is something that can be fixed as they go but the sooner they make this adjustment the better. Settling for deep jumpers when you’re mired in a slump is not the best way to run your offense.
Depth is Going to be an Issue- With the 22 fouls came many Bonnies landing in foul trouble. 6th man Denzel Gregg came off the bench to foul out in ten minutes. Derrick Woods had four fouls, Jay Adams had four, LaDarien Griffin had three in five minutes! Maybe the Bonnies get Jordan Tyson back in the next few weeks, and that would be a huge lift. But either way, this team needs to play better individual and team defense in order to limit these kind of nights. Blame the refs if you want but the bottom line is Bonas will not get away with this play in the A10. If this happened vs. a top half A10 club on the road they’d have lost by 25. The defense needs to get better…and smarter by January.
Defense Travels- One of the reasons I picked URI to win the A10 this year is because I firmly believe in the statement that “defense travels”. It’s true in the NFL and in hoops. Shooting nights come and go. Good defensive teams bring it each night. Tonight, you do have to credit the Bonnies for playing enough defense to earn an ugly as-all-hell win. They forced 21 turnovers (30% of UB’s possessions), held UB to 1-13 shooting from deep and got enough stops to win down the stretch. On nights when your offense isn’t there you’ve got to defend and credit Schmidt’s kids for doing it tonight…as tough as it was to watch as a fan.
Take the Win, Get on the Bus- In college hoops survive and advance is the mantra in March; but it applies all year on the road. Last night was an ugly win, but you take every win you can get. They all feel great on the bus ride back. Hopefully, the streaky shooting Bonnies will be more hot than cold on Saturday. As we’ve seen Posley and Jay Adams can follow a horrid game with a stellar one so Saturday is another chance to get hot. Have a short memory and come out ready to score vs. Ohio on Saturday. My money is on a big effort from our guards in the RC.
Bonus- I was thinking tonight that Jay Adams’ game seems to have “regressed” a bit thus far. I wanted to see if the numbers would prove or disprove my thinking. According to various KenPom metrics, Adams is playing “worse” than last year. His offensive rating is down nearly 8% (that’s significant), he’s shooting more, turning it over more, stealing it less, and is shooting 6% worse from three. Small sample size to be sure, but let’s monitor a potential sophomore slump. Surely playing without Youssou Ndoye is a big adjustment to make and the difference in rosters is significant. However, his 18 turnovers to 26 assists mark has to improve. On a team that needs to value the rock Jay has to lead by example.
Did You Know? Derrick Woods is 12-18 (66%) on two point shots and is 8-10 from the line?