By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt
Tonight, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies will look to rebound after a tough last second buzzer-beater loss at Duquesne last Saturday. The Bonnies will take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen for what promises to be the second tough battle against their conference foe this year.
The first battle took place at the William D. Mullins Center in Massachusetts. The Bonnies, who were up more than 10 points during parts of that game, ended up falling just short, and the Minutemen hit a few key shots near the end to clinch the victory.
Some key contributors for the Bonnies in their first match against UMass: G Charlon Kloof who had 15 points, C Youssou Ndoye who had 11 points, and G Jordan Gathers who added 11 points off the bench. As a team the Bonnies shot very well from the field—over 50 percent.
Both teams struggled from 3-point range (Bonnies 2-9, Minutemen 3-13). The leading scorer for the Minutemen was F Raphiael Putney who had 17, and right behind him was C Cady Lalanne who had 16. The Bonnies held Chaz Williams, who has become quite the star for UMass this year, to eight points in a good defensive effort.
This time around, Kloof and the rest of the Bonnies will be looking for revenge.
Bonaventure has struggled on the road against ranked teams. They’ve lost both battles against the two ranked teams that they’ve played — UMass and St. Louis. However, this time around they’re at the Reilly Center where they already have a win against a tough La Salle team. The student section clearly got into the heads of the La Salle players, something that will have to happen again against the Minutemen.
Mark Schmidt (100-103 as Bonnies coach)
Derek Kellogg (102-79 as Minutemen coach)
Chaz Williams: Williams actually considered going to the NBA before this season. He is a very talented guard that was kept quiet the first game. The Bonnies will have to keep him silent again if they want to win.
Raphiael Putney: Ndoye, Marquise Simmons and Dion Wright will have to keep Putney off the glass, and from getting easy buckets. Putney has great length.
Charlon Kloof: Kloof has proven himself the leader of this team time and time again. He went off against the Minutemen last time out, and I predict he will again. He also should try to hit some threes as he did against Duquesne last game.
Youssou Ndoye: Ndoye at seven-feet tall, is a coaches dream, and an opposing coaches nightmare. He has looked better lately, and is calling for the ball in the post, which shows a sign of confidence. He will have to have a huge game both offensively and defensively if the Bonnies want to win.
The Bonnies are 12-8 overall, 2-4 in the A-10. The Minutemen have impressed basketball analysts everywhere as they are 17-2, 4-1 in the A-10. They come in as the No. 21 ranked team in the country, and that is a ranking they surely deserve. If the Bonnies want to win, they will have to ride the momentum of the students and fans, but they will also have to hit some threes!
My prediction: This game will be close. While UMass won at home, Bonaventure will win this game 67-66. The lead will change many times, and both teams will go on runs, but neither team has quit and honestly they are pretty evenly matched.
The game tips off at 7 tonight. It should be a sell out.