photo by Erin Lanahan/The Intrepid
By Matt Stasiw
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — With the amazing crowd presence in the Reilly Center on Friday night, every fan could already tell that a rematch between the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team and Vermont would be a battle until the end.
The Bonnies have played Vermont each of the last three years in exciting non-conference duels.
This year, Vermont was too much for the Bonnies, as the Catamounts edged SBU, 61-59.
A year ago, then-junior Anthony Lamb, who averaged 21 points per game for the Catamounts, scored 41 against the Bonnies.
On Friday night, Bona’s original game plan seemed to be any possible way to keep Lamb out of the picture.
The Bonnies started of playing extremely hard with Amadi Ikpeze winning the tip off right away for the Bonnies and scoring the first basket just 29 Seconds into the game.
Ikepeze proved to be the biggest offensive threat for the Bonnies, scoring 11 points and shooting 5-of-9 on field goals for the game.
Unnecessary fouls, however, seemed to hold the Bonnies back early, with eight team fouls in the first nine minutes of play.
Despite these early mistakes, the Bonnies, after being down 14-10 with 11:08 left, went on a 10-0 run in four minutes, capping it when a crazy basket by Bobby Plantutis that still managed to go in.
Vermont answered right back, going on a 14-4 run to close out the first half, giving them a 28-24 lead heading into the locker room.
The Bonnies held Anthony Lamb to just 9 points in the first half, keeping their game plan and motivation high going into the second half.
Bobby Planutis scored the first points 30 seconds into the second half.
The game kept roaring back and forth with the Bonnies finally going up 40-39 with 11:07 left in the game.
However, the game plan seemed to fall apart when the Catamounts went on a 12-0 run over four minutes.
Then, an unlikely source of motivation led the Bonnies to come charging back into the game.
Freshman Justin Winston used his aggressive play to snatch defensive rebounds and get to the line.
Winston, who had 10 points on the night, helped the Bonnies to bring the deficit within five points, trailing 56-51 with 3:36 left to play.
The Bonnies had many chances to come back, but unfortunately some late fouls and poor shooting held their efforts short, shooting 4-of-27 from three-point range for the game.
“I thought we played extremely hard,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said. “If somebody told me that Anthony Lamb was going to score 15 points and go 0-for-7 from threes, I would have thought that we would’ve won.”
“We got to plat smarter and knock down shots,” Schmidt said when asked what his team’s biggest struggles were during the game.
The Bonnies hope to improve to 1-2 on the season next Tuesday, as they travel to Siena for their first road contest of the year.