On a night when the Bona defense was good, the offense sputtered. The result, Northern Iowa got past St. Bonaventure 62-52 at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Wednesday’s game improved UNI to 5-7 while the Bonnies dropped their fourth straight and fell below .500 at 6-7. The numbers and notes…
Possessions: 63. Another slower paced, grind it out tempo.
Offensive Efficiency: UNI 98, St. Bona 83. Ben Jacobson’s Panthers average 100 in offensive efficiency. Obviously Bona did the job on the defensive end. Bonnies also average 100 OE and on this night came up quite short in their average and ultimately the final score.
“When you hold a team (averaging 71 points per game) to 62 points you give yourself a legitimate chance to win,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “We just couldn’t score tonight.”
Last year the Panthers were lethal from three in their win at Reilly Center. Tonight the damage was done inside. UNI held a 34-14 advantage in points in the paint. Bona attempted 30 of their 57 field goal attempts from deep. On the night they hit 52% from two and 23% from beyond the arc. UNI was 55% inside the arc and 36% beyond it. Only 14 of their 45 field goal attempts were from long range. Those numbers go a long way in explaining the free throw rates and why Bona attempted just 6 free throws to 19 by the hosts. In simple terms, it’s difficult to draw fouls shooting three pointers.
Finishing. Bona had several dry spells but with under eight minutes left trailed by one possession. At that point the Panthers, defending Missouri Valley Conference regular season Champions, went on their final game clinching run. As noted previously, finishing has been a nagging and recurring problem for Bona and cost them a few games during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Kenpom.com MVP: Tytan Anderson. UNI’s 6’6” sophomore scored a game high 25 points and contributed largely to the Panthers’ differential in points in the paint. Anderson added a game high 10 boards and was instrumental in the Panthers’ stretch run. Bowen Born was UNI’s other double figure scorer with 14 points.
Bonnies were led by Kyrell Luc and Chad Venning with 12 each. Yann Farell added 11 and Daryl Banks 10 for Bona. Farrell added a team high 8 rebounds despite being limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Venning also battled foul issues for Bona but did log 35 minutes. Having both Farell and Venning in foul trouble did not help Bona’s interior defensive effort.
Game was originally scheduled for Thursday but was moved up a day due to a winter storm due to hit the region.
Last time the Bonnies were under .500 in conference play was 2018-19 when they went to the A10 Championship Game.
Bona is on a week plus break and will return to action as A10 play starts. Bonnies will host UMass on New year’s eve to start the conference schedule.
“As I’ve said from the very beginning, we’re going to take two steps forward , one step back and we’re going to look good at times, and we’re not going to look good at times. That’s just how it is. We’ve got a young team that’s still trying to figure out what their identity is. So We’ve just got to continue to work at it.” – Mark Schmidt