Recon: @ St. Louis, Saturday 8 PM

By: Mike Morgan

Game Info: 

Date & Time: 3/5/16 8:00 PM

Records: St. Louis 10-19 (5-12), St. Bonaventure 21-7 (13-4)

Venue: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, MO

 The Opponent: St. Louis closes their ’15-’16 regular season hosting St. Bonaventure, in a game that is as important a game to the Bonnies as the last couple have been; if not more so now that the pressure has mounted and there’s a potential share of the A10 title on the table.  The Billikens enter the game on a three-game losing streak and will look to play spoiler on senior night.  Jim Crews’ team is averaging 65 points per game and are sitting in a tie for 10th place in the Atlantic 10.  SLU is 7-10 at home this season and are coming off road losses at St. Joe’s and La Salle. Their young roster has hard a hard time scoring all season long and that trend has continued in league play. 

Last Time: It took a Jaylen Adams three point at the buzzer to secure the victory but a win is a win and the Bonnies prevailed 65-62 in Olean just one month ago on Super Bowl Sunday.  The win was the third straight in the series for SBU.  The Bonnies were down by as much as 8 in the second half before charging back.  Adams led the Bonnies with 19 and Marcus Posley chipped in 15.  SLU was led by Jermaine Bishop, who had 17 in the losing effort. It was an ugly win for SBU, but they earned the W on the heels on their quality defense that day shutting down SLU holding them to 21% shooting from deep and crushing them on the glass by 11.

The Skinny on St. Louis:  SLU is not a team that has improved since that game at the Reilly Center as they’ve lost 5 of 7 since.  They have had a few close calls but have not found much success aside from downing Mason and Fordham.  The Billikens were able to hang in with the Bonnies due to 16 SBU turnovers and 31% shooting from distance, but they were crushed on the glass and second chance points were a difference in the game.  St. Louis is not a good shooting team but on that day they shot better than Bonas (51% inside) and that is why they were able to hang in for so long (coupled in with SBU’s awful play generally speaking on the offensive end). They have also put up some poor scoring performances of 53, 52, 49 and 63 points over that 7 game stretch; it’s no secret they struggle to score the ball.  The team is young and will only lose one senior on Saturday, Ash Yacoubou who is averaging 11.3 PPG for the Billikens.  The fact that this game is at home and could be seen as a “trap game,” (again) gives plenty of SBU fans reasons to worry. The hope is that this team is different, understands what’s on the line and takes full advantage of the great opportunity in front of them Saturday night.

Stats and Players:

The Keys to Victory: The last time these two teams played, SBU was coming off a huge victory in Philadelphia against St. Joe’s.  We used this space to make a point that the Bonnies cannot ride so high off that win and let the Billikens hang around.  Unfortunately, they did just that and only pulled out the win at the very end.  The 3 point margin of victory was the only time Bonaventure was ahead the entire game.  Now, SBU just knocked off St. Joseph’s again and everyone is excited about what transpired but believe it or not, the pressure is higher now than ever; including before Wednesday night in Rochester. SBU can literally taste an at-large berth and most folks believe a win this weekend and the Bonnies will punch their ticket. There’s a ton on the line and the players and and staff have to feel the pressure.

The main key isn’t going to be the performance of Posley, Adams, Wright, etc.  It’s the mental aspect of the game.  We know the Bonnies are more talented, experienced and battle tested.  We know they have strong guard play and have the capability to score and score quickly.  We know SLU is a weaker opponent and Bonnies have had their number in recent years.  They cannot look past this team.  They cannot let the factor of travel to the middle of the country and a different time zone affect them. SBU is literally looking right at an NCAA berth, likely with this win, and needs to come out fighting for their lives against an SLU team who look to ruin our bubble chances. It will be on the Bonnies to bring their own energy into this game, something they were unable to do at La Salle. If this team is to make the NCAA field they likely need one more win. This club knows what is at stake and must now show that urgency in St. Louis. I expect them to play for their lives in this game, the challenge will be making sure that playing hard doesn’t led to committing fouls, making too many extra passes, feeling tight, etc. It’s important the team has a balance of knowing what’s on the line but playing loose all at once.

The Gut Feeling: I do think SBU will pull this game off.  Emotions will be high because of Senior Day and SLU will want to play spoiler in the worst way, but this is a team that knows what is on the line and they’ve come so far to rebuild their resume since La Salle. They appear to be a team on a mission. The Bonnies will be focused and ready.  A share of the conference title is at stake.  A 2 seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament is at stake.  An at-large berth is at stake. This is unchartered territory for sure.  SBU is aware of the ramifications of these 40 minutes in Missouri. They won’t be looking to Brooklyn (hopefully).  It will be close, but Bonas will pull it out.

Prediction: Bonnies 81 St. Louis 75

Categories: Editorial


  1. Bill - If the score is in the 70s Bonas will win easily. The way I see it is we have to dictate pace. SBU likes a higher scoring uptempo game and if we can make SLU speed up they won’t be able to score with the Bonnies. As you pointed out last time Bonas had 16 turnovers if we cut that number in half thats 9 points more for the Bonnies based on Kenpom’s efficiency number for the Bonnies.

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