For St. Bonaventure this was a gut check victory. The Bonnies built a 14 point lead before holding off a second half Davidson run to defeat the Wildcats at Belk Arena on Wednesday. The victory improved Bona to 12-3 (10-3) while Davidson fell to 11-7 (6-4). The numbers of note:
Possessions: 56. Similar to Sunday’s game at Reilly Center and very much in line with the pace both teams employ.
Offensive efficiency (points per possession): St. Bona 100, Davidson 95. Another solid defensive effort by Bona as Bob McKillop’s Wildcats are averaging 108 efficiency (second in conference play).
Back to back. Bonnies defeated Davidson on Sunday at Reilly Center. Once again Bona found the mark from beyond the arc, shooting 11 of 21 (54%) for the game. Jaren Holmes (16 points on 4 of 6 from three) and Dominick Welch (15 and 5 of 9) led the way for Bona.
Going cold. Bonnies led by 9 at intermission and 14 with just over 15 minutes to play. They then went ice cold, For the second half Bona managed just 17 points as Davidson stepped up defensively. As Bona coach Mark Schmidt said, “offense is fickle. The staples have to be defense and rebounding. That’s what we did tonight.” Bona won the battle of the boards 33-30 with Osun Osunniyi getting a game high of 8.
MVP. Kellen Grady of Davidson, a perpetual Bona nemesis, struggled scoring two points. Kenpom MVP accolades went to Carter Collins. The 6-3 senior scored a team high 16 points hitting 4 of 5 from deep and grabbing 7 rebounds.
Defense. Bonnies earned their first win at Belk Arena since 2015. Credit resiliency and defense. A Luke Brajkovic basket brought Davidson even at 53 with just over two minutes remaining. On the next possession Jalen Adaway, a 14 point scorer on the night, drained his lone three pointer to give the Bonnies a lead they would not relinquish. A last second three point attempt by Brajkovic was deflected by Osunniyi as time expired. On the night, Davidson was limited to 29% shooting from three as they went 8 for 28.
Next. Bonnies, tied with VCU at 10-3 for the A10 top spot, have a fast turnaround. They host George Washington on Friday before closing out with another home date, against Dayton on Monday. Davidson will host VCU on Saturday. Before ‘scoreboard watching’ Bonnies need to focus on the visiting Colonials on Friday. Despite losing at George Mason last night, GW did look good in their win over Rhode Island this past Saturday.
“We played well offensively the first half, struggled the second half, but it didn’t impact our defense. To hold that team to 53 points is an incredible effort.” – Mark Schmidt per gobonnies.com.