VCU held off a late St. Bonaventure rally to defeat the Bonnies 67-64 at Siegel Center. Friday’s nationally televised game saw VCU move to first place in the Atlantic Ten. The Rams, on a five game win streak, are now 15-4 (8-2) while the Bonnies fell to 10-3 (8-3). The numbers:
Offensive efficiency (Points per possession): VCU 102, St. Bona 97
Your pace or mine. VCU prefers a pace in the low 70 possession range which is decidedly uptempo. Bona likes to set the tempo at a more moderate mid sixty possession range. Obviously the game pace was more to Bona coach Mark Schmidt’s liking.
First four. At the 16 minute mark the Bonnies held a 4-2 lead. Those opening minutes saw VCU get several good looks that did not fall. Obviously Bona would need to tighten up and not allow those open looks. Another thing came into play. At the 16 minute mark Jared Holmes was whistled for an offensive foul. It was his second of the game forcing Schmidt to go to the bench early.
End of the half. Mike Rhoades’ Rams closed out the half on a 9-2 run to take a 33-26 lead into the break. On the Bona end it appeared the deficit would be two possessions but in the final seconds Corey Douglas converted off a loose ball situation to give the hosts a momentum boosting basket.
Battle back. Bonnies trailed by as much as 12 early second half but refused to go away. The deficit was three with 90 seconds left. Bonnies never were able to draw even. Following a Nah’Shon Hyland missed free throw there was one last attempt but Dominick Welch’s long distance attempt only drew iron.
MVP. Hyland got the Kenpom.com selection. The VCU scored a team high 22 points while adding eight rebounds from the guard spot. Jalen Adaway of St. Bonaventure paced all scorers with 23 points. Adaway came up big as the Bonnies mounted their second half comeback. Adaway also tied Osun Osunniyi for team rebounding honors with 8 each. Osunniyi also added 11 points and 5 blocks.
Bona was in foul trouble and did shoot just 68% from the charity stripe. Credit VCU for utilizing their strengths. Bona came into the game knowing they could ill afford turnovers and they had to rebound. The Rams forced Bona into an excessively high 23% turnover rate while showing a 44-29% edge in offensive rebounding percentage. In what amounted to a one possession game, these two factors were crucial.
What’s next? VCU will host Richmond on Wednesday. Bona will come back to Reilly Center to host Fordham, on a game just added Saturday, on Wednesday as well.
“Our kids really fought back and made some plays. Give VCU all the credit but we were right there. We didn’t do a good job on some block outs; we need to fix some stuff. But to be down by ten and have a chance to tie at the buzzer says a lot about the character of the team.” – Mark Schmidt per gobonnies.com.