For St. Bonaventure it was a split at the Legends Classic. The two day event, last Thursday and Friday, at Barclays Center saw the Bonnies defeat Oklahoma State 66-64 in the semifinals before dropping a 77-60 decision to Auburn in the championship. Following is a numbers breakdown and notes on each contest.
Semi Final: St. Bona 66 Oklahoma State 64
|St. Bona||Ok. State|
A key factor in the win over the Cowboys came in the turnover department. “They (Oklahoma State) live off turnovers,” Bona mentor Mark Schmidt told Gobonnies.com. “We won 12-5 in points off turnovers and that was big.”
Bona also won the battle of the boards 32-31. The Cowboys did enjoy a 32-22 advantage in points in the paint.
Barry Evans came up big. The 6’8” sophomore came off the bench. Evans logged 23 minutes with a seven rebound, two assist, three rebound outing. In addition, he did a number of intangibles not measured in the box score.
In a game of runs featuring 5 ties and 10 lead changes, Bonnies showed resilience battling back on a number of occasions. “We didn’t get off to a good start in either half,” Schmidt said. “But we fought our way back and showed grit…Our guys learned from the Canisius game. We’re learning and growing.”
With Moses Flowers and Kyrell Luc sidelined with ankle injuries, Mika Adams-Woods came up big for the Bonnies. The 6’3” senior scored a game high 17 points. Eric Dailey led Oklahoma State with 15.
Championship: Auburn 77 St. Bona 60
Hot shooting Tigers. Auburn connected on 55% of their field goal attempts over the first twenty minutes. The SEC representatives rode the hot hand to a 20 point halftime lead. The latter part of the half when Bruce Pearl’s club was on fire, the Bonnies were struggling through a 1 of 10 stretch from the floor.“Their speed and athleticism,” Schmidt said. “Got us in the last five minutes of the first half.”
Cold shooting Bonnies. The final percentages saw Bona shooting 40% from the floor including 13% (3 of 24) beyond the arc. Daryl Banks III scored 14 in the semifinals. In the championship the senior guard scored four on one of nine shooting from the floor.
Charles Pride also struggled in the finals with four points on 1 of 7 shooting from the floor.
Foul trouble. For the second straight night Chad Venning was saddled with foul trouble. The Bona big man did finish with a team-high 14 points. Venning was limited to 18 minutes on a night he was needed for at least 30 to battle Auburn’s size inside.
Turnovers. Bona battled Auburn on the boards. The Tigers held a slight 34-32 rebounding edge and the Bonnies led 12-11 in offensive boards. Difference was the turnovers. Unlike the night before when Bona cared for the ball, they were guilty of 16 turnovers resulting in Auburn posting 24 p;oints off turnovers.
Mika Adams-Woods scored 11, hitting his 1.000th career point in the process. He joined Jaylin Williams (Auburn), Javon Small (Ok. State), Markus Burton (Notre Dame) and Johni Broome (Auburn) on the All-Tournament team. Broome scored a game-high 18 points in the championship and was named tournament MVP.
Loss to Auburn snapped a nine game win streak for Bona in multi-team events dating back to 2019. Bona has also earned the ‘W’ in seven of the last eleven matchups with Power 6 opponents.
Off the bench, Barry Evans gave solid contributions on both nights.
Venning still has foul trouble issues. The 6’10” junior struggled with fouls last season and both games in the Legends. A solid performer on both ends, Venning needs to stay on the floor by avoiding those early fouls.
Bona’s win over Oklahoma State snapped a three game slide at Barclays Center. The Cowboys’ Javon Small had a last second three point attempt that looked good before rimming and falling out. Interestingly the Bona streak started in the 2019 A10 championship against Saint Louis when a last second potential game winner by Bona just missed the mark.
Notre Dame had trouble in the semis being handled to an 83-59 count by Auburn. Irish bounced back in the consolation game grabbing a 66-64 overtime victory over Oklahoma State.
Resilience. The word was used many times in reference to the two Bona games at the Legends Classic. Several times they battled back before defeating Oklahoma State. In the finals they were down 20 to Auburn at intermission. A concerted defensive effort in the final half saw Bona trim the lead to 11 with just under four minutes left before Auburn closed it out.“Our guys didn’t give up, which is a positive,” Schmidt said following the Auburn game. “We just have to get better.”
Bonnies, now 2-2, host Bucknell on Wednesday.