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Bonnies Crush Rhode Island in Much-Needed Win

Photo by Dan Nelligan

St. Bonaventure defeated Rhode Island 99-64 tonight in what Mark Schmidt called “a must win spot.” Charles Pride led all scorers with 25 points while four other Bonnies were in double figures. Luis Kortright led the Rams in points with 13 while only two others were in double figures. The Bonaventure defense also re-found its form from a few games ago forcing 20 turnovers. Here’s how it all went down.

The offenses came out of the gate on fire to start tonight’s game. Chad Venning and Charles Pride grabbed layups on the first two Bonaventure possessions while Luis Kortright and Jaden House cashed triples on the first two Rhode Island possessions. Pride banged a triple next which began a quick 8-0 Bonnie run. That run was fueled by a solid defensive effort that included full-court pressure. Mika Adams-Woods and Venning potted layups while Pride hit one of two free throws to push the Bonaventure lead to 12-6.

David Fuchs grabbed his first points of the game on the following possession to stop the Bonnie run. Pride responded to that bucket with another three which pushed him up to nine points less than four minutes into the game. Both teams then found themselves in a cold spell. David Green’s layup was the only Rhode Island points in over three minutes while Pride broke the 3:13 Bonaventure drought with a bucket in the paint. A turn-around jumper from House and three from Adams-Woods would put the Bonnie lead at 19-12 at the under-12 media timeout.

The Bonnies would turn the Adams-Woods triple into a 10-0 run. Venning came out of the timeout with a layup before Pride cashed in an and-one and Venning got another bucket in close. Kortright ended the run making one of two free throw, but the Bonnies immediately responded on the other end. After a missed free throw and a Ram rebound, the Bonnies jarred the ball free which turned into an Assa Essamvous layup. Bonaventure continued the good defense and were rewarded with a three from Daryl Banks III. That shot prompted Rhode Island head coach Archie Miller to take the timeout. The Bonnies were on a 15-1 run and led 31-13.

The Rams responded out of the Miller timeout as Fuchs slipped free for the easy bucket. Bonaventure then responded immediately on the other end with Assa grabbing another bucket in close. After another strong defensive possession, Banks hit a transition three but had it immediately cancelled out by a traditional three-point play from Kortright on the next possession. Barry Evans checked into the game and came up with the steal. He was then rewarded by being on the receiving end of a lob thrown by Pride. The Bonnies led by 20 with 5:30 left in the first half.

Banks, Jeremy Foumena and Flowers all grabbed buckets in quick succession before Green hit a three. The game headed to the under-four media timeout with the Bonnies leading 42-23. Noel Brown found his first points of the game off a sweet feed from Banks before Foumena and Flowers traded twos. Evans then got in on the scoring once again but this time from beyond the arc. The half concluded with Banks cracking into double figures on the scoresheet. The 51 first-half points were the most points in a half for the Bonnies so far this season. St. Bonaventure led 51-25 at the half.

Pride led all first-half scorers with 14 points while Banks was the only other player in double figures with 10 points. Venning (8) and Kortright (7) were the only other players with more than five points. Eight Bonnies had scored in the first 20 minutes. Rhode Island shot 10/29 (34.5%) from the field, 3/11 (26.3%) from deep and 2/3 from the charity stripe. St. Bonaventure went 22/37 (59.5%) from the floor, 5/13 (38.5%) from three and 2/5 from the free throw line. The Ram outrebounded the Bonnies 20-14 in the first half while notching 13 turnovers compared to only one from the Bonaventure.

The Rams came out of the locker room with four straight points but the Bonnies put an end to any run before it could even start. Adams-Woods hit a three after a pair of offensive rebounds before Venning bullied his way into the pain for a bucket. The redshirt junior then hit a turnaround midrange before Kortright completed another traditional three-point play. Venning continued to rumble offensively with this third bucket in as many possessions. The center was up to 14 points for the game as the Bonnies pushed their lead to 28. It was 60-32 Bonaventure at the first media timeout of the second half.

After over 2:30 of scoreless basketball, Foumena flushed a dunk on one end before Brown grabbed a rebound and got a three-point play on the other end. Brown then worked his way back to the line on the next possession. He made both before the Bonnies grabbed a steal and Flowers the fast-break tomahawk to push the Bona lead to 33. Cam Estevez found the bottom of the nylon on the next possession before Brown once again worked his way to the stripe and made another pair of free throws. The lead was 69-36 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game.

The Rams then got to the line following the media timeout as Green made one of his free throws. The Bonnies eclipsed the 70-point threshold on an Adams-Woods layup before Green grabbed two more points for Rhode Island. The offense continued to run through Venning as he got to the line and made one of his two free throws before House made a pair on the other end. Pride then pulled back into the game lead for points, hitting two free throws which brought him up to 16 on the evening. A solid defensive possession led to a Banks transition three which was followed by Adams-Woods getting home for an and-one lay. His free throw pushed the Bonaventure lead to 80-41.

The whistles continued even as the Bonnie lead grew larger. Estevez worked his way to the line and knocked down a pair before Brown got to the rack once again. Rhode Island’s Connor Dubsky grabbed a pair of free throws after the media timeout before Brown found two more easy points in the paint. Zek Montgomery got on the board next for the Rams before Pride hit a deep three. After a made free throw from Green, Pride took his point total over 20 with another shot from deep. He would not be done there as he drained yet another NBA-range triple on the following possession. Green potted another pair of free throws, Kortright netted a three and Foumena threw down a dunk to put the Rams on a run as the game hit its final media timeout.

The whistles remained out as Banks went to the line as Schmidt began to empty his bench. Estevez cashed in a triple for the Rams on the other end as the game ticked under two minutes. Melian Martinez grabbed a half-lob off the Banks feed before the remainder of the Bonnie bench saw the floor. Wright and Estevez added buckets before Broek Ostrom hit a corner three to push the game to its final. The Bonnies took down the Rams 99-64.

Pride led all scorers with 25 points in tonight’s victory. Four other Bonnies were in double figures with Pride. Venning (15), Banks (14), Brown (13) and Adams-Woods (12) all scored at least 12 points. Kortright led Rhode Island with 13 points while House and Green had 11 points apiece.

Schmidt was satisfied with his team’s defense this evening. “Played consistently for 40 minutes and kept the ball above the foul line,” Schmidt said. He also liked the effort his team gave on the offensive end. “We played with enthusiasm and shared the ball well,” he said.

Schmidt then touched on the decision to take Banks out of the starting lineup. “We just wanted to take some pressure off him (Daryl) and he showed great leadership, said Schmidt, “He responded.” Banks also touched on his role in tonight’s game. “I understood it and I knew I had to be supportive,” said the fifth-year senior. Schmidt continued to praise Banks and cited how he handled this situation as why he is one of this team’s captains.

Pride explained what the team’s plan of attack was following his 25-point performance. Coach told us to attack,” said Pride, “Part of the game plan was to push the ball and get it inside which helped us get more open looks,” he said. Banks added that practice had been “intense” since Saturday’s loss and the guys had really been challenging each other. Pride finished saying the team could have played better on both ends of the ball tonight, even with the convincing win.

One final note is that Coach Schmidt said Kyrell Luc sprained his ankle and that is the reason why he did not play tonight. The Bonnies hit the road for a pair of games starting at Geroge Mason Saturday at 2:00 p.m.


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