In a game featuring three ties and six lead changes and not for the faint of heart, St. Bonaventure held on for a 54-52 victory over Saint Joseph’s at Hagan Arena on Saturday. The win was the Bonnies’ seventh straight while the Hawks dropped their sixth straight. The Bonnies (19-7) improved to 11-4 in conference. Saint Joseph’s (10-17) fell to 4-12 in the A10.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bonaventure 82, Saint Joseph;s 79
The Four Factors:
eFG%: Saint Joseph’s 46%, St. Bonaventure 40%
FT rate: Saint Joseph’s 17%, St. Bonaventure 13%
OREB%- Saint Joseph’s 24, St. Bonaventure 20
TO rate: St. Bonaventure 14, Saint Joseph’s 26
Let’s start by saying the tape of this game is not headed to Springfield. It was far from artistic. The Four Factors (which begged to be broken down in this one) devised by Dean Oliver, bear this out. Neither team shot very well nor got to the line with frequency. Saint Joseph’s struggled with turnovers. Rebounding was almost even on the offensive side with the Hawks showing a 41-37 aggregate edge.
Three versus two. The Bonnies shot 11% from three and 50% inside the arc. Saint Joseph’s hit at a 41% rate from three and 31% from two. The Hawks took 27 of their 53 attempts from long range. The Bonnies enjoyed a 30-10 superiority on points in the paint.
Perspective. If you are a fan subscribing to the ‘Hawk will never die’ mantra, you were hit with a heartbreaker of a loss. Ahead eight with under 12 to play in a game where points were at a premium, had the home team in good shape. If you are a passionate Bona fanatic who understands ‘Unfurl’ you look at it more than just a one possession win against a team in the A10 bottom four. Rather, it was a tough, grind it out character win, testing the team’s resolve and resilience. “We gutted it out,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “We found a way to win. It wasn’t pretty but some games are going to be like this, especially on the road…we found a way and this time of year it’s about winning games. It doesn’t matter how it looks.”
Taylor Funk led all scorers with 19 points, including 5 of 10 from long distance. Schmidt admitted the Bona defense was not sharp against the three and Funk took advantage. Jalen Adaway paced Bona with 14 points, 7 boards. Kyle Lofton added 12 and Dominick Welch 11.
Next man up. Osun Osunniyi exited with just over eight minutes left with an ankle injury. Abdoul Karim Coulibaly answered the call. In the stretch Coulibaly made several big plays. “Karim gave us toughness, rebounding and post defense,” Schmidt praised. “That’s what guys have to do when someone goes down. It’s next man up, and that’s what he did.”
In the final minutes, leads were changed several times. In the final seconds Bona came up big with two key plays. Coulibaly blocked an attempt by Erik Reynolds. The ball went out of bounds to the Hawks. On the final play Jaren Holmes tipped the inbounds pass that was secured by Lofton as time ran out.
Next game for Bona entails a visit to VCU, winners of seven straight and 10 of their last 11, on Tuesday. Saint Joseph’s visits La Salle, an upset winner over Dayton also on Saturday, Wednesday evening.
Bona fans wish the year’s shortest month was a little longer. Bonnies are 42-14 in February since 2016.