The Kenpom.com rankings have St. Bonaventure at 120, Canisius 302. When these two meet you can throw the rankings out the window. They say the Little Three rivalry isn’t what it was. Probably so , but when these two match up on the hardwood there is pride and proverbial bragging rights at stake. Chalk the latest battle up to Canisius, an 84-80 victor over the Bonnies in overtime at their Koessler Athletic Center on Saturday . Both teams are now 1-1 on the young season.
Numbers and notes:
Possessions: 71 – Moderate given there were five extra minutes in this contest. And during those minutes the Bonnies fell behind early then forced the pace to extend the contest.
Offensive efficiency: Canisius 118, St. Bona 113- The Bona metric is good enough to win at least 90% of the time. But not when you allow a 118.
eFG Pct: Canisius 56, St. Bona 50
FT Rate: Canisius 57, St. Bona 36
OREB Pct: St. Bona 40, Canisius 31
TO Rate: Canisius 13, St. Bona 17
Free throw rate decidedly in the host Griffs’ favor. As noted, Bona fell into a deficit early in overtime and in the latter minutes were in a fouling mode to gain extra possessions.
Both teams took care of the ball as the turnover rate attests. In raw numbers Bona committed 12, Canisius 9. The latter figure was significant as Bona hoped to force more turnovers and get Canisius out of a rhythm and comfort zone, especially on the perimeter.
No surprise that Canisius led in the eFG department. Reggie Witherspoon’s Griffs shot 11 of 22 (50%) from downtown, Bona was 6 of 18 for 33%. Coming into the game Bona coach Mark Schmidt discussed the importance of limiting Canisius and containing their three point shooters. It didn’t happen.
It was especially frustrating for the Bonnies in this game of 14 lead changes and nine ties. Not only did the Griffs shoot ‘lights out’ from three but almost every time Bona hinted at getting a run that might cause separation, the hosts answered by burying a trey.
Bona coach Mark Schmidt was not only displeased with his team’s three point defense. The defense, in general, was a cause for concern. “Give Canisius credit, they shot the ball really well from three,” Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “I thought we had some breakdowns defensively, when you score 80 points you should win, but our defense wasn’t very good….We gave up 18 points in five minutes (during overtime) So we didn’t lose the game from an offensive standpoint. Canisius made some tough shots but we have to get better defensively.”
Kenpom.com MVP was Xzavier Long of Canisius. The 6’7” sophomore scored 19 points (shooting 3 of 3 from deep (while grabbing five rebounds. Teammate Jordan Henderson (19 points) tied Long for team scoring honors.
Four Bonnies hit double figures led by Daryl Banks with a game high 22 points. Kyrell Luc and Anouar Mellouk each scored 13 while Chad Venning added 11. Luc also handed out a game high 9 assists while logging 43 minutes. Barry Evans narrowly missed double digits. Bona’s 6’8” freshman scored eight while pulling down five rebounds, three on the offensive end.
Bona’s biggest lead was six with just under eight to play. On the ensuing possession, Long drained a three pointer to cut the lead in half. In effect it was a significant momentum changer in favor of the Griffs.
Bona leads Canisius 102-68 in a series dating back to 1920. Next up for the Bonnies is a meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday against South Dakota State.
Some of the Bonnies’ younger players are making progress. Still, Schmidt realizes there’s a lot of work ahead. “We have to get back in the gym,” the coach said. “We’re young, we’re going to make some mistakes and we’re going to grow. We need to learn from the mistakes today and use them to get better.”