Seven of the previous eleven meetings were decided by six points or less. Little surprise St. Bonaventure and Duquesne would be locked in another battle. On Saturday evening the Bonnies edged Duquesne 65-61. Bonnies have now won 10 of the last 12 in a series that has been extremely competitive, game to game, despite Mark Schmidt’s club holding the upper hand. The tempo free numbers of note from the contest played at La Roche University in Pittsburgh.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 97, Duquesne 91- another strong defensive performance by the Bonnies.
TO rate- Duquesne 18%, St. Bona 22%- Keith Dambrot’s Dukes did a creditable (under the 20% cutoff number) job caring for the ball. Bonnies were forced into an unacceptable rate by the Duke defense.
Touches. When Bona defeated Duquesne at Reilly Center eight days ago, Kyle Lofton had the ball in his hands a great deal during crunch time. Lofton had a game high 35 touches in 40 minutes. Touches being measured by FGA + FTA + A + TO. Entering Saturday’s game the question begged answering, would Dambrot do anything differently or what would he do to try to neutralize Lofton’s effectiveness. Following is a rundown of Bona individual ‘touches’ for those logging 10 or more minutes:
Lofton 29 35
Adaway 29 36
Welch 28 40
Holmes 27 35
Osunniyi 14 24
Shaw 13 16
Vasquez 5 14
Distribution a little more even than a week ago when Jaren Holmes’ 21 touches were next in line after Lofton’s 35. Lofton did put those opportunities to good use Saturday, scoring 17 points and distributing 5 assists, both team leading numbers.
The difference maker. Jalen Adaway proved to be the difference maker for Bona. The 6-5 junior was listed as doubtful pre-game, logged 36 minutes, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 boards for his first Bona double-double. With the game knotted at 55, Adaway scored the next eight Bona points while blocking two shots in the stretch. As Schmidt noted, “Jalen (Adaway) is a gamer. We wouldn’t have won without him…He showed toughness and made those plays at the end we needed.”
Duquesne, now 3-5 (4-6 overall), was led by Tavlan Dunn-Martin with 18 points (3 of 6 from long range). Micheal Hughes with his 6-9 size added 15 points and a game high 12 rebounds, four on the offensive glass. Hughes’ inside play was a factor in limiting Bona’s Osun Osunniyi (24 minutes) due to foul trouble.
What’s next. Dukes visit Fordham on Wednesday and host Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. First time out Duquesne narrowly defeated the Rams at home. Fordham owns a home win over Dayton but is in the midst of a five game losing streak. Saint Joseph’s has yet to capture an A10 contest. Billy Lange’s Hawks have been hit by injuries most notably to Ryan Daly. The Hawks continue to work hard under Lange and lost heartbreaking overtime games at Rhode Island and George Mason (2 OT) to date. Neither team will be an easy out for Duquesne which has lost three of their last four.
Bona at 6-1 is off to their best conference start since 1983 when Jim O’Brien (a Boston College alum as is Schmidt) roamed the sidelines. The Bonnies are 8-1 overall and visit Davidson on Friday. The Wildcats are coming off a nice win at UMass on and own a four game win streak. They are led by senior guard Kellen Grady (17.4 ppg). Always a tough matchup for the Bonnies, Bob McKillop’s Wildcats play at a similar pace as the Bonnies’ mid sixty possession range. The pace is deceptive as McKillop will run the break. Difference is if the break doesn’t materialize they will spread you out and utilize a number of passes before settling on a shot. They will take the three and have several options from long range. Another tough test who will enter Belk Arena riding on a wave of momentum.