Back in the win column. Following the loss at Saint Louis on Saturday, St. Bonaventure rebounded with an 86-73 victory over LaSalle at the Reilly Center. Tuesday’s victory improved the Bonnies to 10-2 (8-2 conference) while the visiting Explorers fell to 8-12 (5-8). The numbers:
Possessions: 62 – a little more in line with the Bonnies’ tempo. LaSalle likes to get put at a near 70 possession pace. An eight possession pace does not seem significant. In the context and course of the game it is. The Bonnies controlled tempo in this one.
Offensive efficiency (points per possession) St. Bona 139, LaSalle 118.
Not an easy out. LaSalle entered Reilly Center following a loss at Fordham on Saturday. Bona mentor Mark Schmidt expected anything but an easy contest. Schmidt pointed out that LaSalle owned victories over Saint Louis, Richmond and Dayton, “three of the better teams in the league,” per Schmidt. There was also concern over the Explorer offense which could spread the floor and fire up a number of threes. Closeouts on the perimeter would be a concern for Bona, especially since they were an issue in the loss at Saint Louis.
Battle back. Bonnies fell behind by nine midway through the first half. They closed strong to take a tem point lead into the locker room at the break. The Bona lead was built to 18 with just over six minutes left. LaSalle made a late run and the Bonnies answered to close it out.
Hitting threes. A major reason Ashley Howard’s Explorers posted an outstanding offensive efficiency was due to their proficiency from deep. LaSalle shot 12 of 31 for 39% from deep. Bonnies however, found the range from beyond the arc as well. The Bona percentage was a white hot 64% thanks to a 9 of 14 performance. 25 of 64
Despite the Explorers’ hot shooting from three, Schmidt felt Bona did a good job on defense overall. “They (LaSalle) spread you out and create problems,” he said. “We gave up more than we wanted on the perimeter but out goal is to keep teams to an under 40% shooting from the floor which we did.” On the evening LaSalle was 25 of 64 for 39% from the field. Schmidt did add the rebounding on the Bona end was poor the first half but improved a bit after the break.
MVP. In a balanced attack Bona put the starting five in double digits. The kenpom.com MVP was Jalen Adaway with a team high 20 points, 8 rebounds. Kyle Lofton had another strong performance scoring 18 points, handing out 8 assists and committing just 2 turnovers in 40 minutes.
LaSalle was paced by Sherif Kenney (4 of 5 from three) with a game high 21 points. Christian Ray scored 9 points but the 6-6 LaSalle soph had 11 boards, 6 offensive-one more than the combined total for Bona.
What’s next? LaSalle returns to Tom Gola arena to host George Washington on Saturday. The Bonnies have a crucial contest at VCU on Friday evening. Schmidt has been using a 6 or 7 man rotation for a good part of the campaign. Staying out of foul trouble is a must. LaSalle owned a 40-28% edge in offensive rebounding percentage on Tuesday. That’s something to address as Bona prepares to face a VCU team coming off a nice win at Dayton on Tuesday.