By Sean Lynch
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies (2-1) won in dominant fashion against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks (1-3) 96-48 in the Reilly Center behind a powerful push from the underclassmen on the bench and strong performances from the starting five.
At the first media timeout, the Bonnies and Hawks were tied 9-9. After the break, the Bonnies pulled away with a 22-5 run to close out the first half of the game. Bonaventure went into halftime with a 49-27 lead with Nelson Kaputo and Matt Mobley leading the charge for the Bonnies with 15 points each in the first half.
Freshman Tshiefu Ngalakulondi finished with a game high 21 points and shot 8-11 from the field with 4-6 coming from three-point range. The Bonnies were extremely effective from three-point range, shooting 58.3% for the game. Ngalakulondi also had three steals and a block.
Another Freshman, Izaiah Brockington had a career performance off the bench with 18 points and 5 assists.
Bonnies Head coach Mark Schmidt explained the importance of the performances of Ngalakulondi and Izaiah Brockington off the bench.
“This is the type of game especially in the second half where you can put them in there and they can gain some confidence, and this will go a long way in their development,” Schmidt said.
Ngalakulondi talked about his confidence moving forward after this game.
“It definitely boosted my confidence,” Ngalakulondi said. “Just go out there and play as hard as we can because I’m just waiting for my name to be called.”
Ngalakulondi also shared the bond he has with his teammate and fellow freshman Izaiah Brockington.
“It was a lot of fun playing with him out there,” he said. “He’s my roommate as well so we have that bond, so it’s fun playing with him out there.”
The Bonnies forced 16 steals with 5 coming from Nelson Kaputo, 4 from Brockington and 3 each from Ndene Guyene and Matt Mobley
“We played really hard,” Schmidt said. “When you have those deflections and us running around the way we did, you get a lot of stuff off our defense.”
Schmidt looked forward to the next step in the Emerald Coast Classic and the challenges that face the team.
“You wish everyone was healthy. You wish everyone was 100%, but that’s just not how it is,” said Schmidt. “We got our work cut out for us, but we’re going to go down there and see how good we are.”
The Bonnies will take on Maryland next on Nov. 24 at 9:30 p.m. EST as a part of the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Florida.