By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
After a tough loss to Dayton on Thursday night, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies hope to regroup against the Richmond Spiders on Sunday at 3 in the Robins Center.
Both teams are 1-1 in Atlantic 10 play. The Spiders, who come into this one at 8-7 overall, lost by 14 at Davidson last Saturday before defeating George Mason 75-65 at home Thursday night.
The Bonnies and Spiders split their home-and-home last year. SBU won by double-digits at home, but lost a two-point heartbreak in Richmond’s house.
Who will win the 19th meeting between these schools? Here’s the breakdown:
St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 115-114 as Bonnies coach, 3-7 against Richmond.
Richmond- Chris Mooney. 174-139 as Spiders coach, 9-5 against Bonaventure.
Key players for Richmond:
Kendall Anthony- 5-8 senior guard. Anthony is one of the smallest point guards in Division I, but he’s also one of the best. At just 5-8, 140 pounds, he’s not an intimidating presence, but his quickness and athleticism make him a special ballplayer. He has scored 15.7 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the floor, with a 37 percent mark from three. Since Cedrick Lindsay graduated last spring, Anthony shouldered the lead scoring responsibilities and has done a fantastic job. He had 28 in the win over the Bonnies last season, including the game-winning jumper with five seconds on the clock. The Spiders go as Anthony goes.
Terry Allen- 6-8 junior forward. Allen will have to use his all-around repertoire against the Bona big men. He leads Richmond in rebounding at 5.5 boards per game and is second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points per game on 51.2 percent shooting. He gets the job done on both sides of the floor and has been on a hot streak lately, with double-digit points in the last three games.
Alonzo Nelson-Ododa- 6-9 junior forward. Ododa is the defensive-minded big man of this Spider team, with 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game to go with 6.1 points a contest. He struggled mightily against Bona last year, going 3-16 from the floor over those two games. The matchup with Youssou Ndoye is going to be a real challenge for him, and his performance may be the difference between a win and a loss.
Keys to victory for Richmond: The Spiders are not going to win this contest if they lose the rebounding battle the way they have in nearly every game this season. They are the fifth-worst rebounding team in the nation, while Bonaventure is 46th-best behind Youssou Ndoye, a top-five rebounder in the country. Being better on the glass is top priority. If they aren’t, the gameplan is simple: shoot lights-out from behind the arc like every successful team has against the Bonnies. That’s your only hope if you don’t rebound the basketball.
Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: You don’t need Dick Vitale or Jay Bilas to tell you what the Bonnies need to fix right now; perimeter defense is an obvious Achilles’ heel. Dayton, who came in to Thursday’s game shooting a pedestrian 33 percent from three, went 14-24 from behind the arc against the Bonnies. They looked like the San Antonio Spurs, passing the ball around the perimeter and taking advantage of Bonaventure’s slow defensive rotation to bury open shots. If the Bonnies are going to win on Sunday, they cannot allow the Spiders to have the same three-point shootout. Richmond is shooting at a 32 percent clip from outside, but Anthony, T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones are legitimate threats. Clamping down on them by rotating quickly is vital to victory.
Prediction: Predicting a Bonaventure basketball game has become an unenviable and unpredictable task. On paper, the Bonnies should win this game. The rebounding advantage is squarely in their favor, and Richmond has not had an impressive win yet. Bonaventure also showed they can bounce back from a loss in a road environment when they beat UMass, and I think they bounce back again. It won’t be easy on the road (it almost never is), but SBU will get back on track. 77-72 Bonnies