photo courtesy of gobonnies.com
By: Anthony Goss
Through nine games, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team has shown a consistent storyline when it takes the court: a sluggish first half followed by a dominant second half.
Wednesday night’s matchup with Loyola Maryland at the Reilly Center proved no different. The Bonnies trailed by three after a lackluster first half but adjusted and blitzed the Greyhounds in the second half.
The Bonnies improved to 8-1, standing alone atop the Atlantic 10. Despite the win, the team showed displeasure with it’s performance.
“When we play without energy we’re just an average team. We gotta bring it all the time,” head coach Mark Schmidt said. “It’s great that we’re 8-1, but we gotta get better. The schedule’s gonna get more difficult.”
The Bonnies started hot from beyond the three-point arc. The first five makes for the Bonnies came from distance. However, the defense remained an issue throughout the first half. The Greyhounds made eight threes in the first half and shot 56% from the field in the first half, grabbing a 41-38 lead at halftime.
“That’s not how we play defense,” senior guard Jaren Holmes said. “In order for us to get back to the top of where we need to be and to be that top tier team, we’re gonna have to defend much better.”
The Bonnies asserted themselves in the second half. Though the Greyhounds hung around, three Jaren Holmes free throws off a foul on a three-point attempt put the Bonnies in the lead the rest of the game.
With Lofton out for the second consecutive game, Holmes shined as a facilitator and helped the scoring attack as well, producing a final stat line of 22 points and nine assists.
“When your leader is out, other guys have to step up,” Schmidt said. “Jaren has done a tremendous job of playing out of position.”
Holmes noted his teammates’ role in his success in a different position.
“I’m thankful for the guys though, they trust me,” Holmes said. “I’m just trying to make them better because when they’re better, we’re better.”
Senior guard Jalen Adaway added 22 points himself, building off a strong performance against Buffalo on Saturday. Adaway found his spots with ease and Loyola had no answer for his 9-14 shooting.
“I think my teammates give me the ball in the right position and I just try to do what I can to contribute to our team’s success,” Adaway said.
Redshirt freshman guard Quadry Adams gave the Bonnies a boost filling in for Lofton once again. Adams finished with 12 points on 6-7 shooting. Adams brought energy defensively that led to several fast-break chances and found gaps in the Loyola defense in the halfcourt.
“A game like this should give him confidence,” Schmidt said. “He needs to know what his strength is and I think he’s figuring that out.”
The Bonnies pulled away for a 84-71 win. Despite the win, team sensed the need to improve as the season continues.
“I have so much faith and trust in this team, that I know we’re gonna get better, and this is just the beginning of a long road,” Holmes said.
The Bonnies turn now to a much anticipated game on Saturday. They head to Newark to face No. 15 UConn in the Never Forget Tribute Classic
“We’re a long way from a finished product,” Schmidt said. “We gotta continue to work.”