The first semi-final is over in Brooklyn and SBU triumphed over URI 68-51. It’s a quick turnaround to next game, so I’ll keep this brief, but here are my takeaways from the matchup:
Bonnie Freshman are legit: The trio of Kyle Lofton, Osun Osunniyi and Dominik Welch have been the engine of the Bonnies the entire tournament. The young guns led the way yesterday and did the same today. For much of the first half, they were literally the only offense until Courtney Stockard hit a pair of free throws with 2:18 left in the first half. Kyle Lofton has been the go-to guy all tournament, and had a huge game today with 23 points on 7-15 shooting. Osunniyi pitched in 10 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks and Welch added 13 points on 3-6 shooting from deep and 3 blocks. It’s gonna be a scary three more years for the rest of the league
The Double Bye effect was strong: After giving up a 13-0 run to end the first half, Rhode Island just didn’t have the legs to keep up with the Bonnies in the second half after dominating much of the first. Rhody shot 28 percent in the second half while Bona shot 54 percent. After 2 exhausting games, the Rams just didn’t have enough in the tank to get themselves to the finals. This doesn’t bode well for SLU next game.
St. Bonaventure’s veterans need to contribute if they want to win: Bona’s freshmen played great pretty much the whole game, but LaDarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard were absolute non-factors in the first half. However, they were able to pick it up in the second half. Stockard had 9 points (albeit on 1-11 shooting) and Griffin had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Griffin in particular was a spark for the Bonnies with a highlight reel dunk that brought the house down. Clearly, they don’t need to carry the team, but they need to carry their weight on the court tomorrow if they’re going dancing.