Bonnies Clip Screaming Eagles 80-66
ST. BONAVENTURE — A red-hot second half erased a quiet offensive start and allowed the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team to pull away for an 80-66 victory over visiting Southern Indiana at the Reilly Center on Tuesday night.
St. Bonaventure (3-2) remained perfect on home court, thanks in large part to connecting on 10 of its first 14 field goal tries after halftime to set the tone for a second stanza dominated by the Brown and White.
The home squad also received a major boost from redshirt sophomore Chad Venning who continued his impressive play with a career-high 21 points, adding seven rebounds and three blocks.
Kyrell Luc did a bit of everything from the point again, finishing with an all-around stat line of 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals (and even two blocks, including one on a USI layup attempt that brought the pre-Thanksgiving, student-less crowd to a full roar). He also drew seven foul calls against him with his aggressive play.
Reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week Yann Farell added 13 points and Daryl Banks III chipped in 12.
Both teams started slowly, with the Eagles failing to score for the first 4:45 of game time, though the Bonnies mustered just a six-point separation during that span.
Venning led the Bonnies during the opening half, scoring Bona’s first four and eight of their initial 16 points.
Seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes slowed the Bonnies’ efforts, and three straight trips with a trey from the Eagles gave the visitors a 20-16 edge with 6:53 left before halftime.
The first points of the day from Banks, fresh off a 34-point effort in last Saturday’s win, ignited a 10-2 run to end the first half and allow the Bonnies to take a 30-24 advantage to the locker room after 20 minutes.
Bona’s run would extend to 22-6 in the opening minutes of the second half as the hosts would extend their lead to double digits for the first time.
USI would not go quietly, however, closing to within 40-33 and still 14:45 to play.
The Bonnies came alive from beyond the arc in a big way, though, after being silent from distance for nearly the entirety of the game to that point.
Farell drilled back-to-back 3-balls before Banks one-upped his freshman teammate with three long-distance shots of his own, highlighted by a four-point play as the lead quickly went to 18.
Bona did not hit a single 3-pointer during the first half, but drained seven in the second while shooting 61% from the floor overall after intermission.
Isaiah Swope delivered 21 points off the bench to lead the Eagles (2-3).
NOTES: After a 15-point effort in last Saturday’s win, Venning has tallied back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts for the first time in his Division I career. Tuesday marked his 47th career game after two seasons at Morgan State. … Luc entered the day ranking second among all A-10 players and 24th nationally at 6.2 assists per game and now has five or more assists in every game so far as a Bonnie. … St. Bonaventure went 14 for 23 from the floor during the second half and shot at a 53% clip for the entire game. … The Bonnies held a 33-31 edge on the boards and 34-30 in paint points. … Farell has scored in double figures in three straight contests. … Bona limited a Southern Indiana offense that had averaged nearly 80 points per game over the first four contests of the year. USI shot over 50% as a team in its first four games, but settled for 38% shooting Tuesday. … Tuesday marked the first-ever meeting between the Bonnies and Screaming Eagles. Southern Indiana is in their first year as a Division I program as members of the Ohio Valley Conference after building a Division II power including 28 NCAA Tournament appearances, a national title and two national runner-up finishes.
St. Bonaventure travels to Long Island to take on Notre Dame in the Gotham Classic Showcase Game on Friday afternoon. Tip time at UBS Arena is slated for 4 p.m.
St. Bonaventure 80, S. Indiana 66
S. INDIANA (2-3)
Lakes 4-8 2-3 13, Powell 0-2 0-0 0, Henry 2-11 2-3 8, Simmons 2-4 0-0 5, Solomon 3-6 2-6 8, Swope 8-16 2-3 21, Polakovich 5-8 1-2 11, Hernandez 0-7 0-0 0, Campion 0-0 0-0 0, Mervis 0-1 0-0 0, Mielke 0-0 0-0 0, Hittle 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-63 9-17 66.
ST. BONAVENTURE (3-2)
Evans 3-5 0-0 6, Farell 4-8 2-3 13, Venning 9-15 3-4 21, Banks 3-9 4-7 12, Luc 5-9 8-8 19, Hill 0-0 0-0 0, Mellouk 2-2 0-0 4, Flowers 1-3 2-2 5. Totals 27-51 19-24 80.
Halftime–St. Bonaventure 30-24. 3-Point Goals–S. Indiana 9-28 (Lakes 3-7, Swope 3-7, Henry 2-8, Simmons 1-3, Hernandez 0-3), St. Bonaventure 7-16 (Farell 3-7, Banks 2-4, Flowers 1-2, Luc 1-3). Fouled Out–Solomon. Rebounds–S. Indiana 27 (Polakovich 9), St. Bonaventure 30 (Farell, Venning 7). Assists–S. Indiana 11 (Swope 5), St. Bonaventure 10 (Luc 6). Total Fouls–S. Indiana 20, St. Bonaventure 16. A–3,102 (5,480).