Post Game: St. Bonaventure 80 Vermont 68
The Result: St. Bonaventure came out and did what they needed to do in a solid, well rounded effort beating the Vermont Catamounts, 80-68. Before the Bonnies and their faithful at the Reilly Center could breathe easy, the game had its pivotal moments that propelled the Bonnies to 6-2 on the season.
The first half saw the Bonnies race out to a 15-5 lead with 12:48 left to play. The run was punctuated with a slick steal by Marcus Posley and a run out that was finished off by Dion Wright. Following the Wright lay-in, Vermont took a timeout to reset their game plan and it seemed to work. Vermont began to run their offense by hitting their post players and kicking to shooter Kurt Steidl for open shots to chip away at the lead. At the other end, the Bonnies matched the hot shooting with four first half 3-pointers by Jay Adams to take the Bonnies into the halftime locker room up 43-37.
The second half saw Vermont pay back the favor by racing out to tie the game at 45 with an 8-2 run. With the Bonnies playing on their heels defensively and not running quality sets at the other end, Coach Mark Schmidt wisely used one of his timeouts to regroup. After the timeout, the Bonnies used an 8-2 run of their own to take back the lead and never relinquished that lead for the rest of the game.
The Bonnies used quality defense, timely shooting from three and pestered the post with quality looks inside from Dion Wright and Denzel Gregg to send the Catamounts packing once and for all. During a four minute and 51 second stretch in the second half, the Bonnies went to their 1-3-1 zone that seemed to work well in the second half of last season, to get the Catamounts out of rhythm and essentially ended their chances to win. In that stretch, the Bonnies were able to get six straight stops on defense and at the other end, Jay Adams knocked down two more 3-pointers, Nelson Kaputo hit from behind the arc, and senior leader Dion Wright hit from inside.
The Bonnies then took the lead for good and methodically showed their class in closing down the game. Adams hit another three for a career best seven in a game and the Bonnies stayed out foul trouble to avoid any let down over the final 12 minutes of the game.
The Difference (Team): The turning point in the game was a near five minute stretch that saw the Bonnies get six consecutive defensive stops and an array three pointers from Adams and Kaputo at the other end. The Bonnies were up nine and never looked back. Possibly overlooked in the game was a small sequence with eight minutes remaining, where a missed Marcus Posley triple resulted in an offensive rebound and subsequent lay-in by a hustling Idris Taqqee to put the Bonnies up 14. Vermont called a timeout and the Bonnies played the final eight minutes like a team that knew the game was in their full control. A testament to Mark Schmidt and his teaching ability, the Bonnies finished the second half strong and didn’t let a hint of doubt creep in. More on his message about playing with a lead further in the recap.
The Difference (Player): Without a doubt, it was Jay Adams. With Marcus Posley having an off night, the sophomore point guard did what the Bona faithful had envisioned this year, and that was run the offense efficiently. In fact, so efficient that Jay Adams set a career high in points with 28 on 9 of 14 from the field including 7 of 10 from behind the arc. He also added 7 assists, 2 steals and had only one turnover in the game.
Jay Adams has now silenced his critics after one of the poorest performances of his career at UB. Since the Buffalo game, Adams has scored 50 points, made 12 three pointers and has added 13 assists all while turning the ball over just three times. This is the type of performance that can get fans thinking that this team has some fight in them as they inch toward conference play. This is also the type of performance that shows Adams’ willingness to hone his craft. After several questions surrounding his ability to carry the offense this season and even suggesting a regression in his game (for a week or so), Adams has strapped the Bonnies on his back and simply gone back to being himself with the ball and shooting the lights out. The 3-point shot is an added bonus, but the 13:3 assist to turnover figure in the past two games in the key to gauging his success. With nights like this, the Bonnies can expect to be favorites for the rest of the OOC and ride into A-1o play against Davidson with a ton of confidence.
What He Said: “We can’t allow ourselves to get leads and then relax.” -Mark Schmidt in reference to his team giving up the lead with 18:27 left to play after allowing Vermont to tie it up at 45. Schmidt called a timeout and the Bonnies responded with a 13-5 run which was a turning point in sending the Bonnies to 6-2 on the season.
What’s Next: St. Bonaventure has 10 days off to prepare for a visit by South Carolina State (4-5) on December 19th. The Bulldogs will be coming to the Reilly Center after visiting Duquesne on December 16th.