Freshmen Lead Bonnies into Semi-Finals
Courtney Stockard managed only 6 points, LaDarien Griffin was 3-11 from the field, they collected 9 fewer rebounds than the Patriots, and substitutes played only 17 minutes combined on Friday afternoon. But, the Bonnies still beat George Mason 68-57 and are moving on to face the eight seed Rhode Island Rams on Saturday.
Dom Welch has his best game yet
The freshman from Buffalo who was injured early in the season, and struggled upon his return, had the best game of his young career under the bright lights of the Barclays Center. Welch played all forty minutes, went 6-12 from the field for 20 points, and collected five boards. When asked about his performance, he simply said, “I just felt comfortable out there.” This seems to be the reason for his improved performance in recent games. While he looked scared in earlier games this season, he seemed confident and composed today. In his last nine games, he’s shooting 43% from behind the arc and is averaging over five rebounds. Mark Schmidt has said that Welch is the Bonnies secret weapon, but after his recent performances, Schmidt shouldn’t expect teams to forget about Dom any longer.
Weather the storm
Every time the Patriots gained momentum, or cut into their deficit, the Bonnies were able to come up with a response. With a minute left in the first half, George Mason had cut the Bonnies lead down to 7, Dom Welch responded with a triple to take the lead back to double-digits. When George Mason took the Bonnies 15 point lead down to 7 in the second half, the Bonnies answered with yet another Dom Welch three-pointer and an emphatic slam by Courtney Stockard.
And then, to put the nail in the coffin, Osun Osunniyi squashed any remaining hope of a Patriot comeback by swishing two free throws to increase the Bonnies lead to nine points with only 1:39 remaining in the contest.
Bonnies win without offensive production from seniors
Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffin combined to score only 16 points today on 6-17 shooting. Much of the Bonnies recent success can be attributed to the production of these two seniors. However, today they managed to win without the seniors playing their A-game. This is good news for the Bonnies and their fans for two reasons. First, it proves they are capable of winning this season without Stockard carrying the bulk of the offensive load. Second, it gives the Bona faithful even more reason to be excited about the future. Can you imagine how impactful these freshmen will be three years from now?