(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)
By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
For every incredible play the St. Bonaventure Bonnies made on Saturday night, the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks had an answer.
All the way down to the last second and change of the game.
After an incredible and-one layup by junior guard Jaylen Adams gave Bona a one-point lead, the Seahawks had one last chance to answer. Denzel Ingram’s contested, off-balance jumper over Idris Taqqee fell with 1.6 seconds left and SBU was unable to get a shot off before the horn the other way. The Bonnies lost 81-80 and their record is now 6-3, with three non-conference games remaining.
Ingram’s shot was the kind of contested look Bona wanted to give him defensively, but the result was his second game-winner of the year. He also hit a buzzer-beater to defeat Evansville on Nov. 26.
After Adams’s heroic shot and subsequent free throw, the 3,976-fan strong Reilly Center was elated, the loudest it had been all season. All it took was 10 seconds for the air to be released from the arena.
“He had a big shot, a great shot. I thought we did everything we could’ve to defend it,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. “We were right there, and give him credit.”
The issue for the Bonnies was that they weren’t “right there” on many of Wilmington’s 13 three-point field goals. Most of the triples (five for Ingram, three for Chris Flemming, two each for C.J. Bryce and JaQuel Richmond and one for Jordon Talley) were uncontested, wide-open jumpers that found nothing but net.
The three-ball, which accounted for 48 percent of the Seahawks’ points, was easily one of the deciding factors of the contest.
The brown and white dominated the paint, with 38 points in the area to UNCW’s 26. But the game was lost largely on the perimeter.
“If you look at the stats, every stat, for the most part, is in our favor other than three-point shooting,” Schmidt noted. “We lose by 21 and, in essence, that’s the game.”
The Bonnies only shot 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) in the first half, needing a torrid 18-of-30 mark in the second to get to 50 percent for the game. Adams and Mobley combined for just 10 first-half points, the focus of yet another squad’s defensive effort.
“We just wanted to pressure them the whole time,” said Seahawks coach Kevin Keatts. “We wanted them to play against 40 minutes of pressure, and wear them down a little bit. It still didn’t wear them down, but we got some breaks because they didn’t make some shots that they normally make… it’s tough to play that way for 40 minutes, and we wanted to control the tempo.”
Gregg and his teammates have a week without game action, where they will certainly be working to improve defensively.
“We’ve gotta do a better job stopping dribble penetration,” Gregg said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, ball-screen defense and just play together. We don’t play together well right now, gotta work on that.
“We were just trying to figure out how to stop them and get stops and get scores. We got the scores, we just didn’t get the stops.”