photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu
By Anthony Goss
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — “We’re not satisfied, we’re not comfortable. We can’t stop working.”
Mark Schmidt has the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team focused on turning the page after an incredible performance on Wednesday night. SBU used a 31-point swing in the second half to calm the havoc presented by the VCU Rams, and beat them to grab sole possession of first place in the A-10.
After beating VCU, the Bonnies were slated for a prime-time showdown with nationally ranked Saint Louis, but for the second time this week, their opponent has changed due to COVID-19. Instead of the Billikens, the Bonnies get a rematch with Duquesne.
In their first matchup, the Bonnies navigated an ugly first half to pull away from the Dukes in a 62-48 win at the Reilly Center just a week ago. With the rematch arriving sooner than expected, both squads will have a fresh memory of last week’s game.
“We know what they present,” said Schmidt, SBU’s head coach. “Now it’s, ‘Can we defend what they’re gonna do against us.’”
Duquesne will be coming off its own dramatic comeback win, as the Dukes overcame a 17-point deficit against Rhode Island on Wednesday night. In a season overshadowed by unusual circumstances, Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot has kept the Dukes competitive despite unexpected departures and the lack of having their home gym at the moment.
“I’ve got all the respect in the world for him,” Schmidt said. “They are competitive guys and (Dambrot) is getting the most out of them and we are expecting a really difficult game.”
The challenge starts inside for St. Bonaventure. Duquesne senior forward Marcus Weathers remains the main threat down low, putting up 12 points and nine rebounds in his first game against Bona this season. Senior center Michael Hughes led the Dukes in scoring in the fist game with 14 points.
“They present a lot of problems with their inside game,” Schmidt said. “Weathers and Hughes are horses inside.”
Senior guard Tavian Dunn-Martin had a quiet outing last week against St. Bonaventure, but exploded for 25 points at home last season against the Bonnies. Dunn-Martin hit seven threes in an 83-80 loss for the Dukes in a game that was played at Robert Morris last February.
“Every time we play down there, it seems like he has career night,” Schmidt said.
The Bonnies had a rough shooting night in the previous matchup, including a dismal 2-16 from three, but dominated the Dukes at the foul line by going 20-27 compared to 3-9 from Duquesne.
“I’m proud of what we’ve done so far,” Schmidt said. “But we’ve got a long way to go.”
The game, which will be played at La Roche University, will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be shown on ESPN+.