The excitement in the St. Bonaventure community Wednesday night radiated with every new tweet, comment, and Facebook post circulating through social media. Led by an all-time great performance by senior guard Marcus Posley (47 points), the Bonnies beat the St. Joseph’s Hawks 98-90 in Rochester. With the win, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi tweeted out that the Bonnies would be in his “First Four In” — after sitting on the wrong side of the bubble for weeks. With all the momentum, and the idea of the Bonnies being back in the NCAA Tournament, fans seem to be popping the champagne.
However—let’s not pop the cork off the bottle just yet. Despite all the momentum, great performances and an extremely impressive 8-1 run since February, the Bonnies still have one test remaining before they head to Brooklyn for the A-10 Tournament.
That test— the St. Louis Billikens.
On paper, this game shouldn’t be close. The Billikens have had a nightmare of a season, sitting at 10-19, and 5-12 in the conference. However, last time these two teams played, the Bonnies needed a game-winning three from sophomore guard Jaylen Adams in a 65-62 narrow victory at the Reilly Center.
Now, the Billikens get the Bonnies, celebrating after an all-time performance from Posley, and national attention over a possible NCAA Tournament bid. In essence — the ultimate trap game.
Granted, the Bonnies haven’t overlooked a single opponent since a bad loss to A-10 cellar-dweller La Salle Explorers a few games ago. With that said, this season-finale at St. Louis could be dangerous.
Last time the Billikens played the Bonnies, they held them to 11-29 shooting in the first half and 2-13 from the three-point line. However, the Bonnies righted the ship in the 2nd half, shooting 5-9 from the three-point line. Still, the game against the Billikens marked one of the worst performances shooting for the Bonnies this season at 39% — and it could have been worse if Adams didn’t go perfect from the field in the 2nd half at 3-3.
With that said, the Bonnies have to know all of this. Even with the team seemingly on the right side of the bubble, I imagine St. Bonaventure Coach Mark Schmidt has stressed how important this game is. A win here, and the Bonnies likely lock up an At-Large bid, no matter what happens in Brooklyn. But a loss — all bets are off.
Still, the Bonnies motto all season has been “Sayless.” If they get it done Saturday at St. Louis — then the only thing anyone will be able to say about the Bonnies is “in the NCAA Tournament.”
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