Bonnies Improve To 6-1 In A-10
PITTSBURGH — St. Bonaventure has owned the recent history against rival Duquesne, winning nine of the previous 11 meetings with their regional rival entering Saturday. That stat alone doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as seven of those games were decided by six points or less.
And, just eight days ago when the teams met in the Reilly Center, the 14-point differential in a Bonnies win only scratched the surface of describing that contest.
So, another battle with the Dukes was to be expected. And, in fitting fashion with how this year’s group of Bona players have started the season, it was another hero taking center stage late in a gritty, 65-61 victory on campus at La Roche University.
“We dealt with adversity. It was a physical game; a typical hard-fought Atlantic 10 game. It wasn’t a pretty game, but we found a way to win,” St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said. “We have some tough guys who are, when the offense isn’t going well, they’re rebounding, they’re defending. That’s what you have to do to win in this league. We didn’t shoot the ball great, but we did a decent job of taking care of the basketball and made our foul shots when we needed to and the staple of any good program is defense and rebounding. That’s what we’ve been doing so far.”
The Bonnies (8-1, 6-1 A-10) started the game with Jalen Adaway out of the starting lineup for the first time this year due to the redshirt junior being under the weather. Duquesne took advantage, jumping out to a 10-4 start, but Adaway’s entrance into the game provided an immediate spark.
Bona launched a 17-0 run, holding Duquesne without a single point for 7:14 of game time as the visitors raced ahead, 21-12.
Center Osun Osunniyi missed most of the half after picking up two quick fouls, but the Bonnies picked up a lift from Jalen Shaw who provided seven points during the half as SBU pulled ahead by 10 with just over three minutes left before intermission, 29-19.
That lead quickly became a thing of the past, however, as the Dukes roared back, finishing the half on an 8-0 run including three free throws following a Bonaventure foul just as time expired to take a 32-31 edge at the break.
Duquesne (4-6, 3-5) held a narrow edge for much of the first portion of the final 20 minutes, but a 6-0 break from the Bonnies pushed them back on top, 49-45, with 8:10 to play.
It would be a show of punch and counter-punch down the stretch, though, in what was another battle between these familiar foes.
The contest was all tied, 55-55, when Adaway decided to take things over.
The redshirt junior, who was a game-time decision to even play Saturday night, scored the next eight Bonnies points. It started with a traditional three-point play with 2:13 to play to break the tie. Then he followed with a defensive board, then work on the offensive glass followed by a dunk for a five-point edge.
By that point, Adaway was everywhere.
He swatted away a jumper from Tavian Dunn-Martin. He made a free throw for a 61-55 score, then, with the lead trimmed to 61-59 with 21 seconds remaining, was sent to the line where he knocked in two more free throws.
“Jalen is a gamer. We wouldn’t have won without him,” Schmidt said. “He was questionable; he wasn’t feeling well. He showed character, he showed toughness and made those plays at the end we needed.”
A Michael Hughes layup gave the Dukes another chance down two with eight seconds to go and forced to foul, but Kyle Lofton calmly delivered both shots at the line to put the game on ice.
Adaway provided the most important 12-point effort in recent Bona memory, also hauling in 10 rebounds for his first double-double in a Bonnies uniform. Lofton paced the team with 17 points and five assists; Dominick Welch posted 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Shaw registered a season-best seven points and three rebounds along with a steal in 16 minutes.
Dunn-Martin led all scorers with 18 points for Duquesne while Hughes had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
NOTES: St. Bonaventure has matched its best start overall (8-1) since the 2000-01 season. The last time the Bonnies had a better start to a season was 1970-71 (9-1). Prior to that, the 1969-70 Final Four team opened 12-0 and the 1967-68 squad went 23-0 in the regular season. … The Bonnies also matched their best-ever Atlantic 10 start (6-1), equaling the work of the 1982-83 squad that reached the NIT. … Jaren Holmes had eight points and 10 rebounds. … Alejandro Vasquez got his first start of the year, replacing Adaway in the starting lineup. … The Bonnies shot nearly 38 percent from the floor and went 3 for 13 from deep while Duquesne shot 36 percent overall. … Bona owned a 42-35 advantage on the glass and a 38-32 margin in points in the paint. … Both the Bonnies and Dukes were coming off thrilling rallies where they each erased 15-point deficits this past Wednesday — Bona in a win over VCU and Duquesne in a win on the same floor at La Roche over Rhode Island.
NEXT: It’s an odd scheduling season and anything could change, but the Bonnies are slated to have their bye week and next play Jan. 30 at Davidson.
ST. BONAVENTURE (65)
Osunniyi 2-3 2-2 6, Holmes 3-14 2-3 8, Lofton 6-14 5-7 17, Vasquez 0-3 1-2 1, Welch 5-8 1-2 14, Adaway 4-11 4-5 12, Shaw 2-3 3-4 7. Totals 22-56 18-25 65.
Baker 1-9 2-2 4, Weathers 3-9 4-7 10, Hughes 7-11 1-2 15, Dunn-Martin 5-12 5-5 18, Okani 3-6 0-0 7, Murphy 2-7 0-0 5, Acuff 1-3 0-0 2, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Kelly 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 12-16 61.
Halftime–Duquesne 32-31. 3-Point Goals–St. Bonaventure 3-13 (Welch 3-5, Lofton 0-3, Holmes 0-5), Duquesne 5-23 (Dunn-Martin 3-6, Okani 1-3, Murphy 1-5, Acuff 0-1, Harris 0-1, Weathers 0-1, Baker 0-6). Rebounds–St. Bonaventure 38 (Holmes, Adaway 10), Duquesne 32 (Hughes 12). Assists–St. Bonaventure 14 (Lofton 5), Duquesne 10 (Hughes 3). Total Fouls–St. Bonaventure 14, Duquesne 20.