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Bonaventure Outlasts UMass in Intense A10 Battle


St. Bonaventure defeated UMass 75-67 this afternoon. The Bonnies were led by Chad Venning’s 16 points along with three other double-digit scorers. Josh Coehn’s 18 and Rahsool Diggins’ 12 points led the Minutemen. At the end of the day, offensive rebounding won the game for the Bonnies in a thrilling back-and-forth affair. Today’s game had a tournament-like feel to it with 40 minutes of high-level basketball being played. Here’s how it went down.


After a pair of empty possessions to open the game, Charles Pride got the scoring started off a hard cut to the basket. His layup was answered quickly by Matt Cross who splashed a three just 18 seconds later. The scoring then slowed for the next few minutes as both teams got sloppy with the basketball. Assa Essamvous broke the scoreless streak as he tipped in a miss from Mika Adams-Woods. That bucket would be an outlier as the teams fell back into turnover-plagued offense. The Bonnies led 4-3 just over four minutes into the game.


The Minutemen picked up the offense following the first media timeout of the afternoon. Rahsool Diggins and Josh Cohen each cashed in quick threes as UMass had started 3/3 from deep. Moses Flowers was next to get on the board as he was fouled by Cohen down low. Flowers potted both his free throws before Jayden Ndjigue grabbed a runner on the other end. The scoring continued as Adams-Woods made his first shot of the afternoon followed by Daryl Banks III who got a midrange of his own to fall. Bonas had cut the deficit to 11-10 with over eight minutes gone.


Just as fast as the Bonnies cut into the lead, the Minutemen responded with points of their own. Jaylen Curry potted the team’s fourth three of the game before Daniel Hankins-Sanford flushed a fastbreak dunk. Admas-Woods then settled the game back down as he grabbed a layup. However, he would commit a foul on the following possession putting Keon Thompson on the free throw line. He split from the line before Chad Venning found his first points of the night. Cohen immediately countered as he grabbed his first points in the paint as UMass led by five with nine minutes to play in the first.


Venning worked his way to the free throw line on the following possession and sunk both shots before Diggins banged a triple just 20 seconds later. The teams continued to trade buckets as Venning got a fade-away to fall before Hankins-Sanford got to the rack. Flowers then potted the first Bonaventure triple of the afternoon as he cut the UMass lead to just three. Noel Brown was next to get on the board as he converted an athletic and-one. He got the free throw to fall to tie the game. The Bonnies were not done there as Pride made a layup to put his team back in front. Bonaventure led 26-24 as the first half ticked under four minutes to play.


The Minutemen got back to the line following the final media timeout of the half as Curry was fouled in the lane. He made both his free throws to put this game back into a tie. Barry Evans was next to shoot free throws as he was fouled trying to put back an offensive rebound. The sophomore split from the line as Bonaventure moved back ahead. The game continued its back-and-forth nature as Cohen got a tough hook shot to fall before Flowers splashed down an open three.


The offense remained feverish as the teams both missed shots early in the shot clock. Eventually Curry made one of the early-clock shots to knot the game at 30. The tie would once again be short lived as Venning went to the line. He split from the line before Diggins got to the cup for two. Adams-Woods was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both his free throws before Cohen struck again with a midrange.


Mark Schmidt then called his use it or lose it timeout as the clock ticked under a minute remaining.  Adams-Woods knocked down a three on his team’s final possession of the half to push Bonaventure back in front. Now it was Frank Martin’s turn to call his first timeout. The Minutemen responded on their final possession as well. Banks fouled Curry shooting a three which led to the freshman hitting two of his three shots.     


Just when the half appeared over, Venning traveled in the backcourt. UMass would inbound the ball below the Bonnie hoop with 0.9 seconds left. They got the ball into Diggins who was fouled by Venning as the half expired. Diggins hit both free throws and Venning picked up his second foul. UMass went to the locker room leading 38-36.


Diggins led all scorers at the half as his 10 points made him the only player in double figures. Curry also chipped in nine points in the first 20 minutes. Adams-Woods led the Bonnies with nine points at the break while Flowers had eight and Venning had seven points. UMass shot 13/26 (50.0%) from the floor, 5/11 (45.5%) from three and 7/9 (77.8%) from the free throw line. St. Bonaventure went 12/26 (46.2%) from the field, 3/6 (50.5%) from deep and 9/11 (81.8%) from the charity stripe. Both teams grabbed 14 rebounds in the first half while the Minutemen turned the ball over 10 times compared to Bonas’ eight.


The Minutemen struck first in the second half as Thompson went right to the hoop on his team’s first possession. However, Venning responded with an and-one layup on the other end. The layup officially made Venning a 1,000-point collegiate scorer. He converted his free throw to complete the three-point play. Choen then went right back to work on the other end with a layup of his own before Venning answered with the same on the ensuing possession. The Bonnies would move back into the lead as Pride hit a transition triple and Venning knocked in a pair of free throws. Bonaventure now led 46-42 early in the second.


Thompson momentarily stopped the bleeding for UMass as he blew by his defender for an easy layup. However, Assa would not let the Minutemen breathe for long as he drained a pullup jumper. Brown was next to score as he was fouled in the act of shooting. The 6-foot-11 redshirt junior split from the line. Curry answered the 10-2 Bonnie run by hitting a smothered midrange, but Bonas once again had an immediate answer. Brown scored in tight before Pride knocked in a two as his foot was on the line. Either way it was a 14-4 run and 53-46 lead for the Bonnies which prompted Frank Martin to call a timeout.


Both teams committed turnovers out of the UMass timeout before Curry was fouled. The freshman missed both shots, but Adams-Woods picked up his third foul. The game continued its sloppy outburst as Venning threw the ball away which led to Thompson getting a floater to fall. Once again, the Bonnies had an immediate answer as Evans got to the rim with an athletic lay. The game began to pick up again as Cohen was fouled and got the bucket to fall. He missed his free throw which held the Bonaventure lead at 55-50 with 11 minutes to play in the game.


Cohen would go back to the line on UMass’ next possession as Banks committed the foul down low. This time the 6-foot-10 senior made both his free throws and cut the lead to three. However, Cohen picked up his fourth foul just seconds later with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Flowers would drain a three on that same possession but was immediately answered by Robert Davis Jr. who did the same on the other end. The Minutemen then tied the game as Hankins-Sanford cashed in a triple of his own. The game was knotted at 58 with just eight minutes remaining.


Curry appeared to have put the Minutemen in the lead but was whistled for the offensive foul on the shot. The Bonnies took this opportunity and ran with it. Flowers would break the tie with a layup before Banks and Adams-Woods added lays of their own. The Bonnies had scored six points in less than 30 seconds which prompted Martin to call another timeout. Bonaventure led 64-58 with 6:46 to play.


The Minutemen responded out of the timeout as Hankins-Sanford flushed a put-back dunk before Diggins made a pair of free throws. Venning provided the answer the Bonnies were desperately looking for as he scored in close. UMass would keep the pressure on, however, as Venning fouled Cohen on the next possession. He made both as the Minutemen trimmed the lead back to two. UMass would tie the game as 66 as Cross hammered home a dunk. Schmidt called the time with 3:30 minutes to play.


The Bonnies would be smothered by the UMass defense out of the timeout which led to Flowers taking a shot as the shot clock expired, getting his own miss and laying it home for the lead. Bonaventure got a stop on the defensive end before executing possibly their best offensive possession of the season. Adams-Woods was blocked by Ndjigue, but Pride grabbed the loose ball. He missed a three, but Flowers grabbed the offensive board. The ball then found Assa who missed a jumper that was rebounded again by the Bonnies. Pride kicked to Adams-Woods who splashed what appeared to be the dagger triple.


After three straight empty possession, Adams-Woods was fouled with just 45.4 seconds left and his team up five. The fifth-year senior missed the front end of his one-and-one, but the Minutemen could not get anything to go offensively. That included a missed free throw by Cohen. UMass finally scored as Cohen hit the backend of his free throw. UMass brought pressure trailing by four with 36 seconds left, but the Bonnies easily broke it which led to an Assa exclamation point slam. Pride added a pair of free throws to formally push the final score to 75-67 St. Bonaventure.


Cohen led all scorers in the game with 18 points while his teammate, Diggins, totaled 12 points. Four Bonnies scored in double figures in the win as Venning led the team with 16 points. Flowers (15 points), Adams-Woods (14) and Pride (11) were the other players with more than 10 points. UMass went 23/57 (40.4%) from the floor, 7/25 (28.0%) from three and 14/22 (63.6%) from the free throw line. St. Bonaventure shot 27/57 (47.7%) from the field, 6/16 (37.5%) from deep and 15/19 (78.9%) from the charity stripe. The Bonnies outrebounded the Minutemen 36-32 while turning the ball over only 10 times compared to UMass’ 14.


Bonaventure improves to 18-10 overall and 8-7 in Atlantic 10 play while UMass drops to 17-11 overall and 8-7 in conference play. The Bonnies are back in action with a big test Tuesday as the team host Loyola Chicago for the first time ever inside the Reilly Center.

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