By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
When the St. Bonaventure Bonnies started slow against Abilene Christian on Monday night, coach Mark Schmidt knew adjustments had to be made. The defense looked sluggish, the offense struggled to move the ball and his team shot poorly from the field.
Like most coaches, Schmidt knew the first change had to come on defense. The man-to-man wasn’t working, so he switched to a zone, and it worked wonders for the Bonnies. Abilene Christian shot 33 percent from the field in the second half, scoring just 22 points. Bonaventure outrebounded the Wildcats 40-28.
“The zone worked perfectly,” Schmidt said. “Those are the little defensive adjustments that go a long way in the end.”
Offensively, it was all about ball movement.
“We weren’t moving the ball well in the first, but at halftime that was obviously one of the things we had to stress,” Schmidt said.
The Bonnies definitely passed the ball around better in the last 20 minutes—with 10 assists in the second half.
The Bonnies shot better, more efficient shots in the second half, and that showed since they shot 49 percent from the field after intermission.
“It was sloppy at the beginning, but once the guys cleaned it up, the shots started going in more often, and that was key,” Schmidt said.
Fouls had a major impact of the game, with 53 called in the course of the game. New hand-checking rules proved to be the main factor for the increase in whistles.
“The referees are going to call those the whole game, so we have to be aware of that,” Schmidt said. “We need to play more defense with our feet and less with our hands.”
As for Saturday’s rivalry game against the Canisius Golden Griffins, the Bonnies’ coach knows improvements must be made.
“We’re still nowhere where we need to be,” Schmidt said, repeating his oft-used mantra. “There’s a long way to go on both sides of the ball.”
After two easy games, Saturday presents the Bonnies with a first big test.