By Cameron Hurst @CameronNHurst
Propelled by the return of standout junior guard Jaylen Adams, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies rolled to a 72-51 road victory over the Saint Louis Billikens on Tuesday night, at Chaifetz Arena.
Adams, who rolled his ankle during the Bonnies 82-72 victory over the George Mason Patriots on Jan. 7 and had missed the last two games, contributed 13 points and a season-high 14 assists in 36 minutes on the court.
The Bonnies got off to a hot start early, opening the game with a 10-5 lead, primarily thanks to two three-pointers from Idris Taqqee. The junior guard finished 3-5 from beyond the arc, totaling 9 points. From there, nine points from Adams helped spark a 21-3 run giving the Bonnies a 28-8 lead with 7:44 left in the first half.
St. Bonaventure’s dominance didn’t stop there. A trey by Matt Mobley, with 18 seconds left finished an 18-7 stretch over the next 7 minutes to give the Bonnies a 46-15 lead, heading into halftime.
The Billikens attempted to rally in the second half, narrowing the Bonnies lead to 14 with 7:10 left in the game after a lay-up by Davell Roby. However, a free throw by Adams and another clutch three by Mobley helped get the Bonnies back on track, helping to outscore Saint Louis 11-9 over the final 5 minutes of play.
Tuesday night’s game showcased solid play all around from the St. Bonaventure role players, notably the aforementioned Taqqee and LaDarien Griffin, who finished with six points, four rebounds, and a career high five steals. Griffin’s solid defense placed pressure on a Billikens offense that committed a total of 13 turnovers, with 10 of them coming in the first half.
The youthful Billikens, now under former Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford, received impressive play from Roby, who finished with 17 points on 6-7 from the field. The Billikens fall to 5-13 and 1-5 in the A-10 as they head to Dayton to face off against the first place Flyers on Sunday at 1 p.m., at UD Arena.
The Bonnies, who have outscored their last two opponents by 39 points, return home to the Reilly Center on Jan. 24, taking a week break prior to their 7 p.m. home matchup against St. Joseph’s.
St. Bonaventure will need a solid performance against the Hawks next week to prove their legitimacy as one of the conference’s top teams. If indeed Adams is 100%, there should be no difficulty in the Bonnies notching a third-straight win to close out January.