By Chuckie Maggio and Jeff Fasoldt
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies and UMass Minutemen meet for the second time this season on Wednesday at 7 at the Reilly Center.
The teams met in the opening game of conference play on Jan. 3rd at the Mullins Center, a game the visiting Bonnies won in convincing fashion, 69-55. Marcus Posley played the entire game and led Bonaventure with 16 points, while Youssou Ndoye had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Cady Lalanne and Trey Davis had 12 points each for the Minutemen, but their efforts were not enough.
Both teams are coming into this game with some momentum. Everyone knows what Posley and the Bonnies have done the past two games, but UMass is on a four-game winning streak in their own right with wins over Dayton, Saint Louis, Fordham and La Salle, launching them to fifth in the Atlantic 10.
Can the Bonnies sweep the season series against their bitter rivals, or will UMass get the split? Here’s the breakdown:
St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 119-117 as Bonnies coach, 5-5 against UMass.
UMass- Derek Kellogg. 123-95 as Minutemen coach, 4-5 against St. Bonaventure.
Key players for UMass:
Maxie Esho, 6-8 senior forward. Esho was one of my key players the first time these two teams battled. He had one nice reverse alley-oop but was held in check for the rest of the game. Esho leads the team in scoring at 12 points per game but what he really brings to the table is the ability to turn games around with his momentum and some of his highlight-reel dunks.
Cady Lalanne, 6-10 senior center. Lalanne got his “you know what” handed to him the first time he battled in the post this year with Bonaventure’s Youssou Ndoye. While these two are similar size, Ndoye had a field day in the post going for 14. Lalanne did have 12 but most of those were meaningless points at the end of the game.
Keys to victory for UMass:
Derrick Gordon has to do something. Last game he took plenty of shots but struggled to finish, scoring only two points. Last game UMass was 4-21 from three-point land with 15 turnovers. Limiting turnovers and sinking some shots will certainly help the Minutemen cut the edge that the Bonnies have coming into this game.
Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: The key to the Bonnies’ road victory over the Minutemen was defense. They held UMass to 35.2 percent shooting from the floor and 18.2 percent shooting from three while winning the rebounding battle 37-30. Davis, a 38 percent shooter, was held to a 4-for-14 performance and went a career-worst 1-for-9 from three. Bona needs to keep him in check once again and Youssou Ndoye and Dion Wright need to dominate Cady Lalanne inside again to win the game. The brown and white need to capitalize on those defensive stops to get on big runs and energize the rowdy Reilly crowd, which will not be as big as the VCU game but should still be fairly packed.
Chuckie- The Bonnies matched up so well against the Minutemen last time out that they are surely capable of completing the sweep of Kellogg’s crew at home. Wright is showing an incredible level of consistency with six straight double-digit scoring outputs and would have been the player of the game against VCU before the events of the last 30 seconds. Jay Adams is showing exceptional poise for a freshman point guard, limiting turnovers and making the right pass in nearly every situation. And Posley is in a “2011 Kemba Walker” kind of zone, hitting the clutch shots and doing whatever he needs to get his team the win. UMass is on a roll, but the Bonnies are the more potent team right now, and I’ll take them at home. 67-57 Bonnies
Jeff- If the first matchup told us anything it was that UMass is not the same team they were last year. This is a team that looked lost, unorganized and completely out of rhythm. Since then, they have played much better and they’ve won their last four including a road win at Saint Louis and a win at home against the Dayton Flyers. The Bonnies are coming off a huge win against VCU, and they will win this one as well. But, don’t expect any court storming from the students after this one as this UMass team is much weaker than last years. 71-62 Bonnies