By Chuckie Maggio and Jeff Fasoldt
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies hope to end their two-game losing streak when they head to Davidson to face the Wildcats on Wednesday night at 7.
Bonaventure comes into this one at .500 (4-4) in the Atlantic 10, while Davidson comes in at 5-3. The Wildcats are 9-0 at home this season, while the Bonnies are 4-4 on the road.
Davidson’s conference title hopes seemed to take a hit when Jack Gibbs, the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer, suffered a slight meniscus tear against Richmond on Jan. 17. He has not returned to game action since.
The absence of Gibbs hasn’t significantly affected the Cats yet, as they have gone 2-1 without him, beating Dayton in the first game he missed. Will it affect them against the Bonnies on Wednesday? Here’s the full breakdown:
St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 118-117 as Bonnies coach.
Davidson- Bob McKillop. 486-296 as Wildcats coach.
Key players for Davidson:
Tyler Kalinoski- 6-4 senior guard. Kalinoski is Davidson’s most trusted player going for close to 35 minutes a game and also the leading scorer averaging 16.7 points per game. If that’s not enough, he also leads the Wildcats in rebounding at 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s second in assists with almost four assists per game. From three, Kalinoski is dangerous at 43 percent.
Peyton Aldridge- 6-7 freshman forward. Aldridge is a sharpshooter from deep with the highest percentage on the team (43.8), and he averages 11.2 points per game. Aldridge is just a freshman but may be the best player on this team besides Kalinoski. A McDonald’s All-America nominee in high school, Kalinoski has the size and three point range to sink the Bonnies.
Keys to victory for Davidson: Davidson is a team that has added great athleticism to a coaching philosophy that thrives off of passing and knock-down shooters. The key to victory for the Wildcats is stretching the Bonnies defense out. As a team they shoot close to 40 percent from beyond the arc, something that could be a nightmare for the Bonnies.
Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: First and foremost, the Bonnies need to win the rebounding battle if they are going to steal a huge road game. They’ve been out-rebounded the last two games, which is atypical for them, and Davidson is just as good a team on the glass; both teams average 37 boards a game. Secondly, they will have to defend with the kind of intensity they had against Rhode Island rather than against La Salle. After holding the Rams to 53 points and only three three-pointers, they were unable to carry that defensive intensity over to Saturday’s game, when the Explorers 66 points and nine threes. Davidson has the tenth-best offense in the nation (80 ppg) thanks in large part to its 38.9 three point shooting percentage, good for 27th in the country from behind the arc. It’s all about defense in this one.
Chuckie- Bona’s perimeter defense is just too poor to beat Davidson’s three-crazy attack. Davidson coach Bob McKillop follows the same blueprint he became known for when Steph Curry was a Wildcat- shoot early and shoot often. Like those teams, this Davidson team has big-time tourney aspirations. The Bonnies will not end their losing streak in Charlotte. 81-70 Wildcats
Jeff- There is not a worse matchup for the Bonnies than this Davidson offense. Davidson should win this one by a large-margin, and it only helps that they’re playing on their home court. However, Davidson has been extremely inconsistent this year losing to St. Josephs by five, Richmond by almost 20 and barely beating George Mason in overtime. For this reason only I’m picking the Bonnies in this one. 69-65 Bonnies.