Bonnies made it four straight with an 83-71 victory over UMass at Reilly Center on Wednesday. In the midst of a four game home stand, Bona used a strong second half to emerge victorious in a game featuring six ties and 11 lead changes. Bona (16-7) is now 8-4 in A10 play. UMass (11-15) dropped to 4-8.
Possessions: 68- closer to Bona’s tempo than the 70 possession pace of the Minutemen who lead the A10 in that category.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 122, UMass 104- outstanding offense for Bona highlighted by 25 assists on 31 field goals.
2P FG Pct: St. Bona 58, UMass 38
3P FG Pct: St. Bona 50, UMass 49
TO rate: St. Bona 12%, Umass 22%. Outstanding number for the Bonnies, who have had problems with turnovers in some recent games. UMass miscues were costly as Bona led 16-7 in points off turnovers.
UMass started fast getting out to a six point lead the first six minutes of the game. To no surprise, Matt McCall’s Minutemen were relying on long distance shooting. The Minutemen led by one at intermission. The Bonnies opened the second half with a 15-2 run building a lead the visitors challenged but could not get closer than two possessions.
Kyle Lofton earned Kenpom.com MVP honors for his performance. So well deserved and appropriate. The Bona senior handed out a school record 17 assists. Lofton scored 11 points and came up with five steals. On the night Lofton committed three turnovers in another 40 minute effort. He became the 15th player in program history to surpass 1,500 points.
“I didn’t know I had 17 assists until I went into the locker room after the game,” Lofton told gobonnies.com. “We have preached having fun and it feels good to win. We got the ball to the open spot against their zone and they (teammates) made the shots when I got the ball to them.”
Bona placed five in double figures. Dominick Welch led the way with a game-high 23 points (7 of 9 from three) and 10 rebound double-double. Jalen Adaway added 16, Osun Osunniyi 14, Jaren Holmes 13 and Lofton 11.
Ty Weeks canned 5 of 9 from deep en route to a 19 point effort that led the Minutemen. Noah Fernandes and Rich Kelly added 14 each.
A shootout. UMass attempted 58% of their field goals from three point land. Bona attempted 36% from beyond the arc. As noted, Bona shot the ball well from three (50%, a percentage point better than UMass) while hitting on 58% of their attempts inside the arc. UMass struggled inside shooting just 38%.
UMass won the rebound battle 32-26 while the Bonnies had an overwhelming 38-18 edge in points in the paint.
Perspective. Forget the records, it was a tough matchup for the host Bonnies. McCall came into Reilly Center with four three point threats in Weeks, Noah Fernandes, Rich Kelly and Trent Buttrick. The Umass coach knew the Bonnies were susceptible to the three, and if his club got hot from the outside and could sustain, there would be a chance for an upset.
On the other side Bona mentor Mark Schmidt realized, as well, the Minutemen’s strength from the perimeter and how there were multiple threats needing to be stopped. Despite their record, UMass has victories over Saint Louis and at Rhode Island. Coming off a tough two game series with Saint Louis and one day prep, the Bonnies had a tougher task than the won-lost records might assume. It’s February, a good month for Bona in recent seasons, and they rose to the occasion.
Next up, UMass heads home to entertain La Salle on Saturday. Bonnies continue their home stand with a game against Duquesne, also on Saturday, and Rhode Island Tuesday.