St. Bonaventure made it four in a row with a hard fought victory over Middle Tennessee State University. Wednesday’s 71-64 victory at the Reilly Center improved the Bonnies, now 4-0 at the ‘RC’, to 5-2. Middle Tennessee fell to 5-3. The numbers:
Possessions: 65- Grind it out tempo. Bonnies trailed by 11 with just over four minutes remaining in the first half. Coming back from that deficit, and not forcing the issue, in a game played at this pace was impressive and bodes very well for the poise of this young team.
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bona 109, MTSU 98- Good effort on the offensive end. The defensive metric was good but on a closer look the Blue Raiders shot 25 of 40 (63%) inside the arc. They held a 44-22 advantage in points in the paint. The Conference USA reps are not a strong three point shooting team and managed 2 of 18 for 11%. Simply, Nicholas McDevitt’s club is inside oriented. And Bona did not have an easy time handing them in that area.
eFG Pct: St. Bona 56, MTSU 48
FT rate: St. Bona 67, MTSU 31
OREB Pct: MTSU 39, St. Bona 32
TO rate: MTSU 18, St. Bona 23
Bonnies shot 22 of 45 (49%). They were 16 of 29 for 55% inside the arc while connecting on 6 of 16 from 38% from three. As previously noted, Middle Tennessee was effective inside. In retrospect, the Bonnies were clicking both inside and beyond the arc.
Bona showed improvement keeping the opposition off the charity stripe. They committed 18 personals to 22 of Middle Tennessee. Keeping an inside oriented team like the Blue Raiders off the line was no easy feat.
Rebounding. The final count saw a 31-30 edge for the visitors. They also led 14-8 in offensive boards with 6’6” Deandre Dishman hauling down six off the offensive glass. One of the reasons Bona was able to come back was their ability to win the rebounding battle the final twenty minutes.
Turnovers. Again a negative number for the Bonnies. They committed 15 to 13 of Middle Tennessee and allowed 16 points off turnovers.
Trailing by 6 at the half, Bonnies came out strong scoring six of the first eight points in the final stanza. With 16 minutes remaining there was an appreciable amount of game to play. Regardless, by closing the half strong and coming out in a similar manner the early part of the second half, Bona made a momentum altering statement.
KemPom.com MVP. Teafale Lenard, MTSU. The 6’7” sophomore paced the Blue Raiders with 16 points. Lenard also pulled down seven rebounds and rejected four shots.
No disrespect for KenPom’s choice but a number of Reilly Center faithful would cast their ballot for Kyrell Luc. The Bona sophomore scored a game high 22 points. Down the stretch, Luc was cool and collected and came up big at crunch time. He finished 6 of 8 from the line. “Tonight Kyrell showed how good of a player he can be and he has a lot of upside,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “He’s getting better every day but I don’t think he’s anywhere near where he’s going to be. He’s not afraid of the big stage or moment.”
Daryl Banks shot 3 of 6 from deep, scoring 15 points for the Bonnies. Banks also scored his 1,000th career point. Chad Venning added 13 points and Barry Evans contributed a solid 8 point, 7 rebound effort. Yann Farell led the Bonnies with 8 boards.
Finding a way. Bonnies scored two transition points. Were outscored in the paint, beaten on the offensive boards and trailed most of the contest. In the final analysis, they dug in and found the way to win. Another sign this group, still learning and growing, is showing maturity each night out.
Next up, the Bonnies face Buffalo at UB on Saturday afternoon.
“Middle Tennessee is long, athletic and very aggressive. I told the guys this would be like an Atlantic 10 game. I thought early on they got the best of us physically….We kept on fighting and it was a good victory for us.” – Bona coach Mark Schmidt