By Chuckie Maggio, @ChuckieMaggio
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Duquesne Dukes by a score of 71-67 at the Reilly Center on Wednesday night. Here are some quick hitters from the game:
Matty Ice- Matthew Wright said on Tuesday that he wanted to be the one who had the ball in his hands with the game on the line. He got his wish on Wednesday, and he made the most of the opportunity with some clutch shots down the stretch. After a quiet first half, he went off after the break, with 16 second-half points.
He continues to be the best free-throw shooter in the Atlantic 10 at 86.7 percent, missing only one of his last 25 attempts from the line. Another very underrated aspect to his game tonight was that he played all 40 minutes, refusing to come out even after another blow to the face in the second half shook him up. If there’s one player who could possibly take over games and put the Bonnies on his back in March, it’s Wright.
Youssou comes up big- The criticism of Youssou Ndoye’s game has simmered tremendously in the second half of the season, mostly because he’s played at an incredibly high level. Tonight, Ndoye had a big block of Duquesne forward Ovie Soko with the game tied and two minutes on the clock and had the eventual game-winning layup with 30 seconds to play. Youssou has a flair for the dramatic, and if he keeps making clutch plays this could be a scary team in the A-10 Tournament.
Gathers Sets the Tone- Jordan Gathers has been a team player all year, accepting a move to the bench and making the most of his opportunity when his name is called. Tonight, he came in and scored 15 first-half points, his season high for first-half scoring. Coaches, teammates, media and fans alike all have a lot of admiration for the way Gathers carries himself and plays the game. He’s as unselfish as they come, and you can’t help but respect a student-athlete like that.
Shutting down Soko- Dukes star Ovie Soko was held to just 12 points in tonight’s game, with only three in the entire first half. That shutdown wasn’t expected coming into this one, but Ndoye and Marquise Simmons did an excellent job throwing the big man off his game. Duquesne goes as Soko goes: the Dukes are now 1-7 this season when he scores less than 15 points, 10-7 when he scores at least 15. That’s a real problem when you consider that Duquesne only has one other player averaging double-digit points this year in Micah Mason, who is a three-point shooter without much of a second dimension.
Schmidt: “We found a way to win. Matthew was terrific the whole game making clutch shots, and we defended well in the last few minutes.”
Schmidt continued: “One of the strengths of our team has been our bench. Tonight, Jordan Gathers and Dion Wright had some big baskets.”
Gathers: “It’s a team effort. I have to be a team player, and tonight I just focused on knocking down shots.”
Matt Wright: “When we’re able to create separation we have to work to keep expanding the lead. Against Fordham and Mason we were able to do it earlier, but today they kept it close.”
Gathers: “We definitely need to keep the ball rolling. Today was a big momentum boost for us and we need to keep it going the rest of the way.”