Bonnies face Broncos, looking for strong start in Charleston

photo courtesy of gobonnies.com

By: Anthony Goss

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team heads south this week for the Shriner Children’s Charleston Classic after they survived an upset scare from Canisius on Sunday evening. 

“We know what we’re up against, tremendous coaches, tremendous teams, programs,” said Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt. 

The Bonnies head south this week for the Shriner Children’s Charleston Classic after they survived an upset scare from Canisius on Sunday evening. 

The Bonnies started slow at the Reilly Center against Canisius and Siena but managed to win both games. Schmidt knows his team cannot afford a similar start at TD Arena. 

“At home sometimes you can get behind, you can catch up. On the road it’s that much more difficult,” Schmidt said. “We like to make teams adjust to us.”

Despite the excitement surrounding their participation, the Bonnies remain focused on Boise State, their first opponent in the tournament.

“Coach Rice, he’s a tremendous coach, runs good stuff, plays good defense. He’s successful for a reason,” Schmidt said. “All respect in the world to Boise State. They’ve done it for a number of years.”

The Bonnies, heralded for their experience, face an opponent with a similar makeup in the Broncos. Boise State touts a starting lineup of all seniors, including Marcus Shaver Jr. and Devonaire Doutrive, who both average 14 points per game. 

“Overall just really really talented,” Schmidt said. “They’re long, athletic, aggressive.”

Boise State comes off a home loss to UC Irvine, 58-50, a game where they shot 14% from three. Just like the Broncos, the Bonnies have struggled behind the three-point arc this season. Both teams sit well under 25% through two games. 

Since the Bonnies have had their own offensive problems to start, they could rely on their defense in this matchup. They have allowed 54 points per game through two games and have a defensive effective field goal percentage of 38.8%. 

“You win by playing defense especially early in the season,” Schmidt said. “Offense is usually behind the defense on every team.”

The Bonnies now enter a stretch of three games in four days, all against quality competition. Schmidt knows other contributors besides the five seniors will need to step up. 

“We’re gonna need to have our bench come in for us and be productive,” Schmidt said. “Playing three games in four days is a lot to ask our five seniors. There’ll be an opportunity and hopefully, our young guys can come through.”

In this stretch of games, the Bonnies have a chance to earn even more respect on a national stage. 

“For the guys that came before us and the guys on the team now they deserve to play in a tournament like this,” Schmidt said. “It’s a tremendous thing for our program to be on ESPN and get some national recognition.”

Tip off is at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

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