In the end this goes down as a loss. Regardless, St. Bonaventure battled gamely for forty minutes yet came up short against a strong Iona team in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational. The 72-57 decision at Barclays Center was much closer than the final count hints. Bona fell to 6-4 while Rick Pitino’s Gaels improved to 6-2. Numbers and notes…
Possessions: 73- Not a surprise given Iona’s propensity to pressure and push the pace. Gaels average 71 possessions per outing. Bona averages 67 possessions and can play uptempo but not necessarily the way Iona forces the pace with constant pressure.
Offensive Efficiency: Iona 99, St. Bona 78. Looking at the season average of 98, a 99 was right on the average on the defensive side for Bona. Offensively the Bonnies struggled. That final number was partially a product of the final 5 minutes when Bona couldn’t find the mark.
Bona won the battle of the glass. They couldn’t get to the line nor keep the Gaels off it. The most glaring statistic is the turnovers. In raw numbers the Bonnies lost the ball 21 times. On their end they forced Iona into 19 miscues of their own. The final count in points off turnovers was a significant 27-17 in favor of the Gaels.
Two possessions. In a 73 possession game there are many different opportunities to pinpoint what went right or wrong. Two possessions though stand out as notable and possible game changers. Iona had a five point lead with about six minutes left. Daryl Banks missed a wide open three. The Gaels got the rebound, turned it into transition and converted. The difference was seven points in favor of the Gaels lead as opposed to Bona being within two. Just following the under four media time out, the Gaels led by six. Parker Weiss, an eight point scorer on the afternoon, buried a corner three to give Iona a three possession lead. The proverbial dagger from which the Bonnies could not recover.
Bona trailed 63-56 at the final media time out. Mark Schmidt’s group was certainly within striking distance. Over the course of the final minutes Iona scored two field goals, Weiss’ three pointer and a jump shot from the elbow by Daniss Jenkins. Bona was unable to hit a single shot and , in fact, converted one free throw representing their one point total over that final stretch. Chalk it up to facing constant full court pressure gradually wearing the Bonnies down.
Inauspicious start. First possession Iona nailed a three. Gaels then got a steal off the in bounds and converted. Iona led 5-0 with thirty seconds gone. Bona settled down and took their first lead at 24-22 with just over five minutes remaining in the half.
A game of runs. This was a game where both teams put together spurts. Bonnies had their least lead, by one, with just over seven minutes to play. In the stretch Iona had the final and deciding 13-2 run ro seal the verdict.
Settling in halfcourt, if opportunity presented itself, Bona was able to get dribble penetration . If they couldn’t finish, the ball was kicked out to the perimeter for a good look. For the game Bona hit 5 of 14 for 36% from three. Iona shot 6 of 19 (32%) from beyond the arc.
Kenpom.com MVP: Nelly Junior Joseph. Iona’s 6’4” junior led all scorers with 24 points while adding 10 rebounds. Walyer Clayton added 16 points and Daniss Jenkins 11 for the Gaels.
Daryl Banks and Chad Venning paced Bona with 14 points each. Venning added 10 boards to secure a double-double. Moses Flowers and Kytell Luc added 10 points each. In the face of that Gael pressure Luc battled yet committed a game high 9 turnovers.
Next up for Bona is a Friday evening visit by Florida Gulf Coast.
“We didn’t finish the game the way you should against a really good team. Our guys showed a lot of fight. Iona is very good. They defeated Saint Louis by 22. For 35 minutes our guys competed but couldn’t finish give them (Iona) credit for that.” – Mark Schmidt per gobonnies.com