Why can’t St. Bonaventure ever play a game where I don’t end up pacing back and forth around my living room in an internal panic? They’re so much like my NFL favorite New York Giants, constantly making things interesting no matter the level of competition…playing just frustrating enough to cause early gray hairs on their fans’ heads before finishing strong and pulling out the win. And I don’t mean that to be a slight to the Richmond Spiders, who played pretty great tonight and have a bright future in the Atlantic 10 with a good, young squad. But let’s face it — the Bonnies were favored tonight, looked the part for the middle 20 minutes, then made the Bona faithful sweat it out. Luckily, these poor stretches haven’t been a detriment yet and the Bonnies keep winning the close ones.
Between Collin Sexton willing Alabama to the right side of the bubble, Nevada turning the Mountain West into a 2-bid league, and Middle Tennessee unfathomably blowing a bunny against Southern Miss, the bubble is rapidly shrinking and the Bonnies continue to stay afloat. This is why tonight’s win was so crucial in my eyes. After 2016, Bona’s can’t give the selection committee any reason whatsoever to hold them out in favor of a middle of the pack power five school.
As of this morning, both Joe Lunardi (ESPN) and Jerry Palm (CBSSports) have the Bonnies as a 9 seed. While this is great and deserving, I have a hard time trusting that the committee feels the same way. Probably being pessimistic, but I don’t believe the Bonnies get a single digit seed unless they win the A-10 outright. I’d guess they’re locked in as a 10 right now.
Quarterfinals vs. Richmond Thoughts
Matt Mobley — The senior shooting guard couldn’t have picked a better time to pull an MJ in the ’92 Finals. With the Bonnies ice cold out of the gate and for most of the first half and early second, Mobley took over hitting three after three to almost single-handedly balloon the Bonnies lead up to 17. Finishing with 29 points (9-13 from deep), he provided a spark that catapulted St. Bonaventure to enough of a lead where the Spiders just couldn’t get over the gap completely.
Courtney Stockard — Apparently, Stockard hurt his hamstring in the game tonight. I didn’t see anything happen personally but I’m hoping it’s not too serious. Stockard’s a tough SOB and the Bonnies really need him to provide that third scoring option, as well as his underrated rebounding ability.
Jaylen Adams — Here’s hoping Adams used his “Mulligan” tonight. As a whole, Adams just never really looked like himself tonight. Sure, he had flashes of brilliance like the beautiful fast break bounce pass to LaDarien Griffin. Luckily, in the four years I’ve watched Jaylen play, he’s always seemed to bounce back strong after lackluster performances. And if the Bonnies are forced to defeat Davidson without Stockard tomorrow, they’re gonna need Adams’ best.
Free Throw Shooting — Man, this game shouldn’t have been as close as it was. We can usually count on the Bonnies making 75+% of their FT’s but tonight they went just 12-23. Had it not been for Mobley’s otherworldly shooting performance, those 11 misses may have cost the Bonnies the game…and against a Davidson or Rhode Island, definitely would have.
Semifinals vs. Davidson Pre-Game Thoughts
Just one…please limit Peyton Aldridge. That guy absolutely kills St. Bonaventure every single time. No, I don’t have any possible ideas on how to stop him. All I can say to the Bonnies is the same thing a fed up Jerry Seinfeld said to his carpenter Conrad (Connie or Con, whichever you’d prefer): “Just do it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6E65iutAGI
I’m a little nervous for tomorrow’s game against Davidson. They looked like world-beaters and an NCAA tournament team tonight versus Saint Louis, and quite frankly for much of the last couple months. But the Bonnies are red hot, winning 13 straight. This should be a close one. Could another 117-113 triple overtime bonanza be in our future tomorrow at 3:30?