By: Nicholas Gallo
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies Men’s Basketball team (21-6, 11-4 Atlantic 10) capped off a senior night with their trio of senior guards, Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley, and Idris Taqqee with a 73-67 win over the University of Duquesne (15-13, 6-9 Atlantic 10). This Win makes it nine straight for the Bonnies, which is tied for the most wins in a row in conference since the 1969-70 season in which the Bonnies reached the Final Four.
Adams would have a night against the Dukes by scoring 24 points, dishing five assists, and stealing the ball four times. He would also shoot 7-14 from the field and would shoot a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
Up by seven with 8:46 left to play, Duquesne Freshman guard Eric Williams Jr. would score four consecutive baskets to tie the game up at 22 with 7:29 left. Both teams traded buckets and would walk into halftime with the score tied 32-32.
The Bonnies gave up nine second chance points to the Dukes and turned over the ball eight times. Ball movement was absent as only four assists were tallied in the first half.
In the second half, with 4:27 left Sophomore center Amandi Ikpeze was fouled off grabbing a defensive rebound.
After making both free throws, the Bonnies led 60-56. Things got interesting as junior guard, Tarin Smith, made a three-point shot that cut the lead to 63-65 with 2:19 left on the clock, forcing Schmidt to call a timeout with a 1:24 left. An Adams three would seal the game for the Bonnies as the Dukes never recovered.
After a celebrating fast-break finish dunk for Taqqee, the Bonnies would hold up defensively to gain the win. Head coach for the Bonnies, Mark Schmidt, expressed how tough it was to come out with a win.
“I thought tonight was our best defensive performance all year,” said Schmidt. “Despite not having a great offensive game, from the beginning to the end, we did a really good job keeping the ball above the foul line.”
He added that they did a much better job defending the ball this time around than the last time they played them. Schmidt said his team’s offense didn’t affect their defense and thought Ikepeze played a great game.
“Amandi, I thought, played his best game in his career,” Schmidt said. “I also thought Idris was another guy who is an unsung hero and Courtney would hit that clutch fall-away, and we were able to finish the game defensively.”
Ikepeze registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He would also shoot 7-7 from the free throw line and 3-6 from the field.
Adams expressed that being the last time playing in front of the student section in the Reilly Center and how their support has been huge through his career.
“It’s a crazy environment,” said Adams. “This place is special to me, I will always have a special place with the students, and the boost they give to the team is something they don’t understand because what that does to the team is a real game changer.”
The Bonnies will travel to Richmond, Virginia, as they will take on VCU on Saturday Feb 24 at 8 p.m.
“Every game right now for us is like game seven,” said Schmidt. “We got to play with a sense of urgency every game because 21 games aren’t enough, 11 wins in the Atlantic 10 isn’t enough, and our goal is to try to win them all.”