By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
Slow start: The Bonnies trailed 34-31 at the half, only shooting 22 percent in the first. For UMass-Lowell, it was the first halftime lead against a Division-I team in program history.
Simmons factor: Part of the reason for the Bonnies’ resurgence in the second half was the leadership of Marquise Simmons. Simmons led all scorers with 19 points—12 of which came in the second half. The senior forward also had 11 rebounds and was 7-8 from the field.
Wright gets it done from the line: Matthew Wright struggled from the field (3-13), but was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw stripe. His teammates responded in kind, making 82 percent of their freebies. It was a pleasant surprise for a team that missed 11 free throws in the loss to Louisiana Tech.
Rebounding domination: The Bonnies outrebounded the Riverhawks 46-30, holding a 22-10 advantage in the second half.
Block party: Bonaventure was stout when protecting the interior, with eight rejections on the night. Youssou Ndoye had two, as did Charlon Kloof who chased down Akeem Williams and swatted a layup early in the game.
Hard to stop in the paint: The Bonnies mustered up 36 points in the painted area, while the Riverhawks only managed 12. The size advantage worked in the Brown and White’s favor, especially in the second half.
Gathers’ groin: Jordan Gathers didn’t suit up for the game due to an injured groin. Coach Mark Schmidt said he is listed as “day-to-day,” and didn’t have much information beyond that.
Attendance: Pretty low attendance for this one, as only 2,860 fans attended. Once finals and winter break are over, the students should be able to show up in droves again for the start of the Atlantic-10 conference schedule.
Key Postgame quotes:
Coach Schmidt: “We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. Their guards can shoot from anywhere so we had trouble with that.”
Coach Schmidt: “They played Michigan and Rhode Island tough, so we told our guys not to under-estimate them.”
Coach Schmidt: “”We didn’t play our A-game, but every season there’s a game like this. We’ve lost plenty of games where we struggled in the first half in the past, but we found a way to win this time.”
Marquise Simmons: “We know we have to play better defense than we did in the first half to win games.”