ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y – The St. Bonaventure Bonnies took down the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in a 89 to 76 victory this Sunday, February 26th. The Bonnies were able to take advantage of a depleted Saint Joe’s roster to secure the win and break their five game losing streak. In addition, today’s win helps St. Bonaventure separate its self from a dense middle pack in the A10.
On the side Saint Joe’s added to their losing streak, making it their fourth in a row. The Hawks, who were without center Ejike Obinna and forward Kacper Klaczek, struggled to score and defend without two of their key front court starters.
St. Bonaventure Recap
For the Bonnies it was all about defense. With Saint Joe’s missing their starting center, screening and clearing out the paint was going to be a challenge for Saint Joe’s. Without Obinna, the Bonnies would force this guard-heavy offense to rely heavily on outside shots to space the floor and open up the paint. To St. Bonaventure’s credit, they did just that. The Bonnies controlled the paint, kept guys in front of them, and forced Saint Joe’s to make tough outside three’s on the road. The result? Saint Joe’s shot 31% from three, on 32 attempts. They also committed 14 turnovers to the Bonnies 13, and were out-rebound 31 to 23.
In addition to defense, St. Bonaventure was able to dismantle Saint Joe’s defense with relative ease. Bonnies guard Daryl Banks III had a career-high scoring effort, finishing the game with 36 points. He completed 10-18 from the field and 12-15 from the free throw line. Saint Bonaventure as a whole shot an impressive 56% from the field and 43% from beyond.
Saint Joe’s is Slipping
With the announcement of Ejike Obinna’s absence from this game, a win for Saint Joe’s was going to be very hard to come by. Obinna is the anchor of this team, and without him, Saint Joe’s was going to struggle to defend the paint against SBU’s Chad Venning. The two early fouls on Rasheer Fleming foretold these struggles, as the Hawks tried to double their way out of this defensive mismatch with little success.
One play that illustrated SJU’s defensive struggles came in the 11 minute mark of the second half. Erik Reynolds II had just closed the gap to within 7, after making two big free throws. On the very next possession, the Hawks put on an impressive defensive effort. Brown, and Reynolds were playing with stifling on ball defense. Both were harassing the ball handler all the way out from mid court. Saint Joe’s front court was also holding firm, not allowing any off ball cuts or blown coverage. Yet, after 20 seconds of great defense, the Hawks could not hold as St. Bonaventure’s Daryl Banks III splashed a long range three in the face of his defender. This type of possession happened earlier as well, when SJU’s Christian Winborne played over 25 seconds of tremendous on-ball defense, only to give up the basket in the final seconds of the shot clock.
Throughout the entire game this happened. Every time Saint Joe’s was able to ratchet up their defensive pressure, St. Bonaventure would respond and find a way to score.
Additionally, SJU struggled to score on offense as well. The Hawks finished the game shooting 31% from three and 44% from the field overall. Senior Cam Brown went 1-9 from beyond, and 25% from the field overall. This is his third game in the last four where he has finished with below 30% shooting percentage. A harsh scoring slump for the 1,000+ point senior; one that I know fans are eager to see him snap out of in his final few games for Saint Joe’s.
Erik Reynolds II did his best to help the Hawks, as he was able to put 33 points on the board. However, this solo performance was not enough to carry the Hawks to win on the road.
In summary, today was an opportunity for both programs to take control of their own destiny, the question was, who would take advantage? Well, I think we received a clear cut answer to that question.
Saint Joseph’s will finish their season this Wednesday as they host the Richmond Spiders. The game is set to air on ESPN+ at 7:00pm EST. St Bonaventure will end their A10 regular season with a visit to UMass this Saturday. Tip off is scheduled for 12:30pm EST for that game.