Bonnies fall short to Vermont for second straight year

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Game notes: Bonnies host Vermont, hope to slow down Lamb

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE — Two seasons ago, in his hometown of Rochester, New York, Anthony Lamb did almost everything to beat St. Bonaventure.

At Blue Cross Arena, the then-sophomore scored 27 points for the Vermont men’s basketball team, and if it hadn’t been for a Matt Mobley buzzer beater, the Catamounts would have won.

Last December, Lamb went for 42 points in Vermont’s double-overtime win against the Bonnies at home.

Now, the teams will meet for the third year in a row, as they play Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Reilly Center.

Bona head coach Mark Schmidt knows that if his team is going to earn its first win of the season, it’s going to have to slow down Lamb.

“I’m not sure if we have an answer,” Schmidt said on Thursday. “He can shoot the ball from the perimeter, post up, and he presents a lot of problems. I guess we hope he misses.”

Schmidt pointed out the fact that Lamb has averaged nearly 35 points per game against the Bonnies the last two years.

“There’s a couple different ways we can go about (stopping Lamb),” Schmidt said. “We can let him go and try to stop the other guys, or try to stop him and put it on their other players to make baskets.

“He can’t score 42 again, so whatever we need to do, hopefully we can do a better job than last year.”

After playing two preseason exhibitions, this will be Vermont’s first regular season game of the year.

Lamb did not play in the first exhibition vs. Brown, and played just five minutes in the second, against Saint Michael’s College.

A season ago, the Catamounts went 27-7 and were America East conference champions, earning a trip to the NCAA tournament.

As a No. 13 seed, Vermont was edged by No. 4 Florida State in the first round of the tournament, 76-69.

“They’re a good team and a veteran team,” Schmidt said. “We knew when we set up the schedule that they have a great program. I’m glad we’re playing at home, but it’s going to be difficult and we need to play our best to have a chance.”

Another Vermont player to watch is junior guard Stef Smith, who averaged 12.4 points per game and scored 21 points against the Bonnies a year ago.

The Bonnies will be without sophomore forward Osun Osunniyi, a preseason all-conference selection.

Osunniyi suffered a bone bruise in his knee in SBU’s season-opening loss to Ohio, and it was reported that he could miss up to a month.

Schmidt said that while losing a player of Osunniyi’s caliber is never good, it gives another player a chance.

“We stress it all the time, that you never know when your name is going to get called,” Schmidt said. “Someone’s name is going to get called tomorrow, and hopefully they’re ready and can take advantage of the opportunity.”

SBU is searching for its first win of the season, after losing to Ohio, 65-53, on Tuesday night.

This is only the fourth-ever meeting between the two programs, as they first met in 2015.