The score was deceptive. This was not a double digit margin walk in the park. Not by any stretch. The Bonnies were challenged. They met that challenge and responded, posting a 71-58 season opening victory over St. Francis(PA) at the Reilly Center on Monday. The numbers…
Possessions: 64- More of a grind it out affair. A pace that served Bona well last season.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 111, SFPA 91- Above average numbers on both sides for the Bonnies.
eFG Pct: St. Bona 42, SFPA 35
Ft Rate: SFPA 40 , St. Bona 34
OREB Pct: St. Bona 32, SFPA 29
TO Rate: St. Bona 11, SFPA 19- Bonnies committed only 7 turnovers while forcing St. Francis into 12. Bona enjoyed a 23-4 advantage in points off turnovers.
A game of runs. Bonnies built a double figure lead in the first half. St. Francis then went on a 12-0 run late in the half to take the lead before Bona’s Daryl Banks hit a last second jumper to send the game into intermission tied at 32.
The first four minutes. As noted here many times in the past and a favorite axiom of Bona coach Mark Schmidt, the first four minutes following half time are crucial. Chad Venning opened the second half scoring giving the Bonnies a lead they never relinquished. At the 16 minute mark the Bona lead was 40-35. They ‘won’ those first four 8-3. Not a huge difference but enough of a jump start to allow Bona to get the momentum established. A momentum they rode throughout the final twenty minutes.
Josh Cohen paced St. Francis with 21 points. Landon Moore added 15 and a game high 7 assists. Kyrell Luc, the Kenpom.com game MVP, posted a game high 23 points for the Bonnies. Luc just missed his career high of 24 set last season at Holy Cross. Banks added 14 and Barry Evans 12. Evans added eight rebounds, five on the offensive end. “Barry was active and his strengths are inside,” Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “When he is able to get on the offensive glass good things happen for us.”
Perspective. Bonnies did not have a cake walk but consider this: Wagner defeated Temple, Stetson over Florida State, Sam Houston upset Oklahoma. As Fox analyst John Fanta noted, roster overhauls and other changes during the off season indicates the (competitive) gap is closing.
Schmidt was pleased with the ‘five man by committee’. Moving forward the Bona mentor plans to utilize this approach to the center spot. He did single out Chad Venning (7 points, 6 rebounds in 15 minutes) noting “he (Venning) was a presence in the second half.”
Bona enjoyed a 44-32 edge in points in the paint, a category that Schmidt said will be a major emphasis moving forward.
St. Francis, coached by Rob Krimmel, was chosen third in the Northeast Conference pre-season poll.
Tribute was paid to the late Bob Lanier before the contest. Lanier’s life and impact on St. Bonaventure was remembered. The team is wearing number 31 patches on their uniforms in honor of Lanier. “Bob Lanier meant everything to this place and when I grew up, this was his university,” Schmidt said. “He epitomizes St. Bonaventure and it was great that we were able to honor him tonight.”
Next up for Bona- a trip to Buffalo to take on Cansius on Saturday.
“We got off to a good start, but then we started missing some shots and turning the ball over which led them to getting easy baskets. The second half we were able to get the ball into the paint.” – Bona coach Mark Schmidt