By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt
Without a doubt, the Bonnie faithful showed up in masses to cheer on their St. Bonaventure Bonnies in their first battle of a quest for an Atlantic-10 title.
However, most of them were holding their breath at halftime as the Bonnies trailed by five (28-23) and were shooting about 21 percent. The deficit had been as many as nine points in the first half and you could feel the energy being sucked out of the building.
Fortunately, despite a poor shooting night from three throughout—as the Bonnies went just 2-14 (14.4 percent), they were able to hold off the Hawks in the second half and force the issue to secure the win and set up an intriguing matchup against the Dayton Flyers at 6:30 tomorrow.
“Our offense has to be better if we’re going to have any success tomorrow,” said Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt.
Youssou Ndoye picked up a technical in the first half after a small scuffle that resulted in two converted foul shots and the ball. But, when it looked like his head may have been somewhere else other than the court, he stepped up and led the Bonnies in scoring at 18 points. He also gathered eight rebounds and did most of his damage at the free throw line going 8-12.
But, perhaps the most impressive effort of the night came from Denzel Gregg, who used his pure athleticism to gather 15 rebounds—including five on the offensive end. Gregg, who doesn’t score much, just 1-6 from the field, brought tremendous energy to the court on the glass.
“To get 15 rebounds in 34 minutes is tremendous,” said Schmidt. “That was one of the reasons we were successful, especially in the second half.”
Marcus Posley, the Bonnies leading scorer this season, struggled in the first half and never really found his touch throughout the game. The Bonnies count on him for three point shooting and after a 1-7 performance from three for him tonight, you have to wonder if the Bonnies could survive tomorrow night against a Dayton team that shoots lights out from three.
For St. Josephs, DeAndre’ Bembry, an NBA prospect, struggled mightily going just 3-12 from the field for 12 points in 40 minutes of play.
“We made sure we would make someone else beat us,” said Schmidt.
The Hawks season ends at 13-18, a disappointment for St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli after winning the A-10 tournament last year.
“It’s the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” said Martelli.