On Friday night St. Bonaventure put the A10 back on notice. The Bonnies posted a resounding 73-53 victory over VCU at the Reilly Center. A few points to consider:
- Bona was coming off an overtime victory at LaSalle on Tuesday. The Explorers are not in the conference’s upper echelon and the Bonnies had to make a comeback simply to force OT.
- It’s a victory. Bona has struggled at Tom Gola Arena in recent seasons. The facility has been a virtual ‘house of horrors’ for coach Mark Schmidt and co, to pull this out following a lengthy layoff was significant.
- Prior to LaSalle the last Bona game was the 84-49 loss to Virginia Tech in Charlotte on December 17th. That’s twenty five days between games. COVID cancelled a meeting at Northeastern and postponed games against George Washington, Dayton, Fordham and Saint Louis. One can say those days off could be put to good use- rest for a starting five logging significant minutes each night out. The long time off could also result in a bit of ‘rust’ being away from game competition.
- There was ‘rust’ against LaSalle. Not so versus VCU as the Bonnies operated like a well oiled machine. The numbers:
Possessions: 66- Good pace for the Bonnies. If the tempo hits 70 or more possessions that would mean VCU is forcing turnovers and turning them into transition opportunities.
Offensive efficiency: St. Bona 111, VCU 80- For Bona, both marks are outstanding. A 111 on offense and limiting the Rams (102 average in A10) to just 80.
eFG %: St. Bona 49, VCU 45- Bonnies shot 53% from two point range while limiting the Rams to 41% from the same area.
OREB PCT: St. Bona 26, VCU 12- Dominick Welch with 3 offensive boards nearly matched VCU’s total of 4.
TO Rate: St. Bona 17%, VCU 20%- This one was huge. VCU has a 23% defensive turnover rate in conference play. A big part of coach Mike Rhoades’ attack is forcing turnovers and turning them into easy baskets. Schmidt naturally was well aware of this and prioritized ball security as a point of emphasis. Bona responded, turning the ball over only 11 times.
Throughout the contest Bona did a nice job closing out on shooters, running an efficient offense and making that extra pass- especially after a drive and kick out to the perimeter. It was a performance reminiscent of Charleston not Charlotte.
Jalen Adaway of Bona led all scorers, garnering Kenpom MVP honors, with 25 points. Adaway added a game high 8 boards and was a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe. The senior forward was instrumental in last January;s win over VCU. In that game Bona trailed by 15 at the half. Early in the second half Adaway drove baseline and three down a thunderous dunk that ignited the Bonnies en route to a 70-54 victory.
Jaren Holmes added 17 and was perfect from the line as well going 8 of 8.
Kyle Lofton scored 13 points. Lofton logged 38 minutes and committed a team high 3 turnovers. The senior guard more than compensated for those miscues with 6 assists and 5 steals (both game highs).
VCU was paced by Marcus Tsohonis with 14 points. Vince Williams as the Rams other double figure scorer with 12. Adrian Baldwin was limited to seven points and guilty of a game-high four turnovers.
Bona excelled at getting in the interior of the defense and drawing fouls while keeping VCU off the charity stripe. Bona shot 23 of 27 (85%) – VCU was 6 of 8 for 75%.
VCU had a seven game win streak snapped. Their ;last loss was an overtime game against UConn on November 26 in the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Rams are now 10-5 (3-1 A10) and host Davidson on Tuesday.
The Bonnies improved to 10-3 (2-0 A10). A three game swing away from the friendly confines of Reilly Center begins with a visit to Dayton on Tuesday. The Flyers’ lone conference loss in three outings was to VCU. They lead the A10 in defensive efficiency (90) closely followed by VCU (92) and Bona (93). Similar to VCU, Anthony Grant’s Flyers force opponents into a 23% TO rate. Taking care of the ball will once again be a point of emphasis for the Bonnies.