By Chuckie Maggio and Jeff Fasoldt
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies, winners of two straight games, head to Pittsburgh on Thursday, where they will face the Duquesne Dukes at 7 in the Palumbo Center.
Bonaventure (10-6, 3-2 in the A-10) is making its second visit to the Steel City this season, the first being the four-point loss to the Pitt Panthers. They come in with momentum after strong wins against George Mason and St. Joseph’s.
Duquesne (6-10, 1-4) has been struggling to get back into the victory column after a win against St. Joe’s. They lost close ones to Rhode Island and VCU but lost more significantly to Dayton and Saint Louis.
The two battles between these teams last year were last-minute affairs. Dukes guard Derrick Colter hit a buzzer-beating three to down the Bonnies at the Palumbo Center, while Bona center Youssou Ndoye’s layup with 33 seconds left broke the tie at the Reilly.
Will the Bonnies extend their win streak to three, or will the Dukes break their three-game losing skid? Here’s the full, properly-inflated preview.
St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 117-115 as Bonnies coach.
Duquesne- Jim Ferry. 27-49 as Dukes coach.
Key players for Duquesne:
Derrick Colter- 5-11 Junior guard. Colter comes into this game as the Dukes leading scorer at 12.5 points per game. He also has a good ability to dish it out and give his teammates some easy points as he also leads Duquesne in assists at 3.3 per game.
Micah Mason- 6-2 Junior guard. It’s no secret that Colter and Mason are the two key pieces to an average Duquesne team. Colter is averaging 28.8 minutes per game while Mason is leading the team at 29.5 minutes per game. Mason is right behind his backcourt partner in scoring at 10.6 points per game. Both guards are shooting over 45 percent on the season.
Keys to victory for Duquesne: The reality for the Dukes is that they need Mason and Colter to perform to win. They have no chance against the Bonnies if those two are not up to par. Colter is really their only best three-point shooter at 52 percent so he’s going to have to be on fire from beyond the arc for Duquesne to have a chance.
Keys to victory for Bonaventure: The Dukes are only a percentage point better than Bonaventure at defending the three-pointer, so the perimeter is going to be a focal point in this one, and the Bonnies will have to be sharp. Marcus Posley will need to continue his hot shooting from behind the arc and Jay Adams will have to break his slump, as he is one for his last 12. Defensively, contesting Colter and Mason will be top priority. Both are over 40 percent from deep.
Chuckie- Which Bonnies team will we see Thursday night? I’m going with the good Bonnies, offensively and defensively. Posley will have another 20-point game, Mason will be held in check and SBU will pick up another W before the tough stretch of their conference schedule begins. 78-73 Bonnies
Jeff- It’s always a question which Bonnies team will show up, especially on the road, but I’m going with the Bonnies in this one. They’ll be looking for revenge after last years buzzer-beating loss. 76-74 Bonnies.