St. Bonaventure snapped a four game slide in resounding fashion. They defeated UMass 83-64 at the Reilly Center on Saturday. The game was the A10 opener for both teams. UMass is now 9-4 (0-1) while the Bonnies improved to .500 overall at 7-7 (1-0). Numbers and notes…
Possessions: 68. Not a completely grind it out tempo. At this number you are on the cusp of uptempo, utilizing opportunity transition, but not forcing an all out pace.
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bona 122, UMass 94. Excellent showing by Bona on both ends. The offense was revitalized as the efficiency bears out. Same thing for the defense, another outstanding number as UMass is averaging 100 on the season in offensive efficiency.
Number that jumps off the page is Bona’s 60% eFG percentage. Bonnies were 17 of 30 (57%) from two and 13 for 31 (42%) from three. They attempted just over half of their shots from downtown. With these numbers who can argue shot selection?
UMass, a physical team, won the battle of the boards on offense and in raw number totals 36-29 overall. Bona compensated by forcing the Minutemen into a very high turnover rate. Those turnovers were expensive as Bona scored 22 points off the UMass miscues.
Interesting disparity in free throw rate. On the day Bona was whistled for 22 fouls to 12 by the visitors. UMass did get hit with two technical fouls however. Bonnies did not get to the line a great deal but took advantage shooting 10 of 11 (91%).
Meet the challenge. Bona was on a four game losing streak and not in the win column since December 7. The offense was struggling. The season opener saw a much improved UMass team under the direction of Frank Martin in his first year at Amherst entering Reilly Center. It was definitely gut check time and a challenge as Bona hoped to get back on a winning track and off to a good start in conference play. Mission accomplished.
“It was a reset,” Daryl Banks told gobonnies.com when referencing the holiday break. “Everybody got back from Christmas and got back to work. Everybody was in the gym this week and worked hard in practice. We came out today and executed.”
Banks, the quintessential leader at Saint Peter’s last season especially during their Elite Eight run, is showing that leadership at Bona. On the floor he executed. Banks had been struggling of late but on Saturday led all scorers with 31 points, hitting 6 of 12 from three and a perfect 7 for 7 from the charity stripe. He was clearly the Kenpom.com MVP.
Bona also benefited from a 22 point, 10 rebound outing from Yann Farell. Moses Flowers had a nine point, seven rebound and seven assist outing. UMass was led by Noah Fernandes with 13 points. Fernandes was limited to 24 minutes due to foul trouble. Isaac Kante tied Farell for rebounding honors with 10 while adding 12 points for the Minutemen.
Response and resiliency. Bona’s offensive output led to a 43-28 lead at the half. Early in the second half UMass cut the deficit to 11. Bona coach Mark Schmidt always preaches the fact that teams will make runs and you must be ready to respond. The Bonnies did. Two minutes after UMass was starting to make that run, the Bona lead was back to 19 largely due to the shooting touch of Farell. “Our guys met the challenge,” Schmidt praised. “UMass is a tough, physical team. We executed really, really well.”
Bona captured its eighth A10 opener in the last ten tries. Dating back to 2016 Bona has now won 10 straight over UMass.
Bona’s 13 three pointers were a season high.
Next up for the Bonnies is a home date on Wednesday against George Mason. The Patriots opened their portion of A10 play with a 62-58 home win over defending A10 Tournament Champions Richmond. Coach Kim English’s Patriots are 9-5 on the season.
“It was a team victory. We played hard, we executed and we defended. That’s how you win in the Atlantic 10.” – Mark Schmidt