Both teams entered with seven game win streaks. Something had to give. It turned out to be visiting St. Bonaventure. Host VCU jumped out to a 21-6 lead en route to a 74-51 victory over the Bonnies at the Siegel Center on Tuesday evening. The Rams (21-7) improved to 14-3 in the A10. The Bonnies (19-8) are now 11-5 in conference play. Numbers and notes…
Possessions: 74- Faster pace forced by VCU. In Bona’s win over the Rams in January the tempo was a moderate 66 possessions.
Offensive efficiency: VCU 100, St. Bonaventure 69. Bona’s A10 average efficiency is 105, fourth in the lead. The numbers show how the Rams were dominant.
Turnover rate: St. Bonaventure 23%, VCU 27%. The Rams force turnovers and commit them on their own end. Bona, with a 16% rate (third in the A10), was forced into a rate higher than hoped for. Defensively the Bonnies did the job in the turnover category as the Rams’ number attests. Unfortunately for Bona, they did not take advantage, scoring only 12 points off VCU miscues. Rams led in points off turnovers 24-12.
The first four minutes. At the half Bona trailed 40-27. Coming out strong following the break and getting the deficit to single digits was vital. Not to be. The Rams enjoyed a 9-4 scoring advantage in those ‘first four’ , widening the gap to 18. Bona missed a layup then Abdoul Karim Coulibaly had a dunk attempt blocked by VCU’s Hason Ward. On the defensive side perimeter shooters were lost on ball reversals and the Rams’ Jayden Nunn took advantage burying two open threes, making chances of a Bona comeback more difficult.
Payback. A bad time to visit a team as VCU not at full strength. Add in the revenge factor. Bona defeated the Rams to capture the A10 Tournament Championship last March. They won handily at Reilly Center in January. Naturally, Mike Rhoades’ team was primed for payback time.
With Osun Osunniyi out with a bad ankle Coulibaly started in the middle. Coulibaly, scored 7 points while adding four rebounds, in 16 minutes limited to foul trouble. Oluwasegun Durosinmi scored 2 points and grabbed five rebounds in 22 minutes. “I thought Duro (Durosinmi) did ok,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt told gobonnies.com. “But he’s a freshman and freshmen will make mistakes. Give VCU credit they played well.”
KeShawn Curry of VCU led the game with 14 points. Bonnies were paced by Jalen Adaway with 12. VCU connected on only 24% beyond the arc but was blistering inside with a 64% performance. Bonnies had been +226 on paint points prior to this meeting. On the night Bona was -14 as VCU held a 44-30 advantage on points in the paint. Bona shot 39% inside and the answer did not come from long range. On the night Bona was 3 of 16 for 19% from three. VCU owned the boards by a 40-29 count. VCU’s Vince Williams, Adrian Baldwin and Bona’s Dominick Welch all had 7.
VCU visits Saint Louis on Saturday. The Bonnies host Richmond on Friday night. That game has huge implications. It is Senior Night when Bona faithful honor an outstanding senior class that has provided so much success on the court while representing the school in an exemplary manner. Bona also hopes to lock up a four seed and the double-bye in next week’s A10 Tournament. “It’s time to regroup and we need to win on Friday night,” Schmidt emphasized. “We have to play well and have momentum going into the tournament. Friday is a big game, it’s Senior Day and we want to bounce back.”
“We had some illness, but we don’t make excuses. We didn’t play well. I thought our effort was decent, we just missed a lot of layups and had opportunities early that we did not cash in on.” – Mark Schmidt