For twenty minutes VCU was in control. Following the halftime break their fortunes reversed. To borrow a line used several times, ‘it was a tale of two halves and what the Dickens happened’ ? St. Bonaventure defeated VCU 70-54 at Reilly Center on Wednesday. The win put the Bonnies on top of the A10 at 5-1 while the visiting Rams fell to 3-2. The numbers:
Possessions: 67-more in line with the Bona tempo as they play in a mid sixty possession pace while VCU averages 74 possessions with the fastest tempo in the conference.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 104, VCU 81
The Rams took a 40-25 lead into intermission. Mike Rhoades’ club was pounding the boards, forcing turnovers and blocking shots. It appeared the Bonnies were in for a long night. Following the break the Bonnies came out strong and never let up. They held VCU to 14 second half points en route to victory. Little surprise Bona coach Mark Schmidt called it the best half the Bonnies played during his 14 years at the school.
Dominic Welch found the stroke from long range. Welch shot 5 of 6 from downtown pacing the Bonnies with 19 points. The 6-5 swingman also added 5 boards in 38 minutes of action. Game MVP per kenpom.com was Jared Holmes. The Bonnie junior scored 18 points, grabbing 9 rebounds (4 offensive), while handing out 3 assists and not committing a turnover. Kyle Lofton, the Bonnies’ third double digit scorer, added a dozen points and 3 assists in a full 40 minutes.
The Rams owned a 46-40% edge in offensive rebounding percentage. That final figure is a bit deceptive. The Ram difference was established largely due to the first half. The opening stanza saw the Rams grab 13 offensive boards en route to 14 second chance points. Following the half the Bonnies enjoyed a 22-14 rebounding edge not allowing one second chance point.
VCU blocked 9 shots (Mason Ward led with 3) , 7 that first half. Bonnies came out and continued to attack the basket posting a 24-4 second half difference on points in the paint.
Taste of their own medicine. The Rams came into Reilly Center owning an A10 high 27% defensive TO rate. Bonnies were forced into a 22% rate on their offensive end. On defense they turned the tables disrupting the VCU offense into a 28% TO rate.
Nah’Shon Hyland paced VCU with 16 points. Hyland actually shot better from deep than inside the arc. The sophomore guard was 1 of 7 from two point range while going 4 of 7 from long distance.
What’s next? VCU is 10-4 overall and will host Dayton on Saturday. Flyers have won three straight and are far from an easy out. Bonnies, at 7-1, were set to travel to Saint Louis. The Billikens are not ready to resume so a schedule alteration will bring them to Western Pennsylvania to face Duquesne. Last Friday the Bonnies defeated the Dukes at the Reilly Center. Little time for Bona to savor VCU. Preparation for the next one is vital as Keith Dambrot’s Dukes always provide a formidable test. Mark Schmidt and company are looking at a tough road test.