Grading A10 Non-Conference Performances: St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies stand at 7-3 with just 1 game remaining in the non-conference slate of their schedule. Assuming that they’ll get a home victory over Niagara on Wednesday, they should be advancing to conference play at 8-3. St. Bonaventure ranks 92nd in ESPN‘s RPI rankings, meaning that it’s performed relatively well given its strength of schedule. Here’s a closer look at the Bonnies’ performance in the non-conference season.
The Bonnies notched a number of relatively solid wins over decent mid-major opponents. Though they didn’t necessarily have a great win, they had a number of solid ones that overall create a pretty decent resume. The Bonnies were able to top Canisius on the road 77-73 behind 35 points by Marcus Posley. Canisius was the slight favorite at home, so capturing a road victory was a great confidence booster for St. Bonaventure.
Another good road win came against Buffalo thanks to a late bucket by, who else, Marcus Posley. The Bonnies topped the Bulls despite shooting just 9% from three point range. Dion Wright led the way with 26 points. St. Bonaventure had its best defensive showing when it held South Carolina State to just 45 points on 28% shooting from the floor and 15% shooting from three. The Bonnies have not lost a game this season when its opponent scores fewer than 70 points; if their defense is keeping them in the game, they’ll have a good chance to compete against some of the better teams in the Atlantic 10 conference.
The Bonnies allowed Hofstra to score 52 second half points and rally to steal a win at the Reilly Center 89-83. This was a poor defensive showing as well as a foul fest as Hofstra had 33 attempts from the free throw line. While St. Bonaventure should’ve won this game, a loss is not detrimental for this team. The only other loss that very well could’ve gone St. Bonaventure’s way was the game against Siena. The Bonnies had the lead with just under 2 minutes to go, but Siena hit some key shots and free throws that gave them the win.
The only other loss that St. Bonaventure has suffered is one on the road to Syracuse. The Orange are one of the better teams in college basketball, and playing at the Carrier Dome is never easy, but the Bonnies actually led by 6 at the halftime break. Though Syracuse put them down in the second half and walked away with a 79-66 victory, St. Bonaventure showed that it has the ability to at least hang with one of the better teams in college basketball. If the Bonnies focus on defense during conference play, there’s no doubt that they have the ability to pull out some big wins.
St. Bonaventure: B
The Bonnies get a B because they basically met expectations during this non-conference season. Had they pulled out victories over Hofstra and Siena, they would’ve done as well as they possibly could. Having only 3 losses going into conference play isn’t bad for St. Bonaventure, but this team still has a lot to prove. The Bonnies will play Niagara, and should be able to win easily, before heading into conference play. Their conference opener will be a home matchup against Davidson.