photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Justin Myers
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — This was the game Bonnies fans had been waiting to see, as the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team was back at full strength with sophomores Osun Osunniyi and Jaren English back in the rotation.
Both players returned to action to play significant roles in Tuesday night’s matchup vs. Mercer. The result of this gritty, hard fought performance was a 56-51 victory that improved the team’s record to 2-4 on the year.
Osunniyi, who returned after four games due to a knee injury, made his presence felt. The big man tallied a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“You need someone back there (Osunniyi) that cleans up mistakes,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said. “Osun does a really good job not only just blocking shots, but taking charges as well.”
English, who played in his first Division I game ever, did not lead the team in scoring, but brought the energy that the Bonnies needed off the bench.
“He’s a winner,” Schmidt said when asked about the play of English. “Just in practice, his energy, his enthusiasm, his willingness to do what is takes to win, he’s really (our) glue guy.”
The most crucial point of the game that Bonnies fans should remember is the late-game rebound that sophomore guard Dom Welch hustled for that secured their second win of the year.
“When you’re struggling offensively, it affects your defense,” said Schmidt. “This is a good win where it shows the guys that if we don’t play well offensively, but we defend and rebound, we can win games.”
The Bonnies will now travel to Boca Raton, Florida for the tournament portion of the Boca Beach Classic. St. Bonaventure plays San Diego in the opening round of the tournament on Sunday at 9 p.m.