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Bonnies Travel to Fordham for Mid-Week Matchup

Photo by Dan Nelligan

St. Bonaventure heads to Fordham for a brief, one-game road trip. As the calendar continues to roll towards March, each game seems to gain more importance. That will be at the forefront tonight as the Bonnies already lost once to the Rams this season and will need a win to keep pace with the jumbled Atlantic 10. A loss would put Bonas at risk of temporarily losing a first-round bye and slipping into a double-digit seed. No team wants to play Tuesday at the A10 Tournament.

The Bonnies

The Bonnies enter this evening’s game with a 14-9 overall and 5-6 conference record. As previously mentioned, the Bonnies find themselves in the middle of a tight Atlantic 10. If the tournament started today, Bonas would be the eighth seed. However, the team is a win away from a five seed but a loss away from potential double-digit seed.

Mika Adams-Woods has taken over the team lead in scoring as he has bumped his average up to an even 14.0 points per game. The Cincinnati transfer also leads the team in assists (72), made threes (40) and three-point percentage (46.0%). Additionally, Adams-Woods has tallied 20 steals which is fourth most on the squad.

Chad Venning and Charles Pride also continue to be two of Mark Schmidt’s best weapons. Venning averages 13.9 points per game to go along with 5.0 rebounds per contest. The 6-foot-10 center has also registered 45 total blocks that includes 25 straight games with a rejection. Pride averages 12.3 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game. The Bryant transfer adds 40 assists, 23 steals and 32 made threes to his stat line.

Moses Flowers and Daryl Banks III continue to be necessary offensive contributors for this team. Flowers averages 9.5 points per game while making 39 threes in 22 games. Banks averages 8.4 points per game while chipping in 58 assists and shoots a team-best 90.4% from the free throw line. Kyrell Luc also impacts the game as a guard as he scores 2.8 points per game.

Noel Brown’s 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game have been solid in relief of Venning while both Assa Essamvous and Barry Evans have been solid for the frontcourt. Assa has started all 23 games for Schmidt this season en route to a 6.7 scoring and 5.5 rebounding average. The sophomore from Gabon has also stolen the ball 24 times, assisted on 20 baskets and made 27 threes. Evans continues to be a vital sparkplug off the bench. The sophomore may only average 3.4 points per game, but he had 5.5 boards per contest to go along with 30 assists, 10 blocks and a team-high 26 steals.

The Bonnies enter tonight’s game at 73rd in the NET Rankings and 87th in the KenPom Ratings. Bonas presents Fordham with an opportunity to grab a quadrant two victory on their home court.

Projected Starting Lineup: Assa, Adams-Woods, Flowers, Pride, Venning

The Opponent

The Rams come into today’s game with a 10-13 overall record and 4-6 conference record. Fordham has lost three of the last four and five of the last seven games before tonight’s matchup. Japhet Medor leads the Rams in scoring as he averages 11.5 points per game. The 6-foot guard also chips in 58 assists, 21 steals, 36 threes and a team-high 62 made free throws.

Will Richardson and Elijah Gray are also main contributors for Keith Urgo’s team. Richardson averages 10.4 points per game along with 46 assists, 31 steals and 34 made threes. Gray averages 10.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 sophomore adds 21 assists, 14 blocks and 11 steals to his stat line.

Josh Rivera, Kyle Rose, Abdou Tsimila and Antrell Charlton all play major minutes for the Rams. Rivera averages 9.3 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds per contest. Rose scores 9.1 points and grabs 5.0 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-4 guard has tallied 50 assists and a team-high 49 steals. Tsimila averages 7.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 senior leads the team in blocks with 53 in 22 games. Charlton scores 6.6 points per game while hauling in 4.1 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-5 senior adds 35 steals and a team-high 75 assists as well.

Four other players will likely see some playing time for this Fordham team. Jahmere Tripp (4.4 PPG), Romad Dean (4.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG), Zach Riley (2.8 PPG) and Ogheneyole Akuwovo (0.9 PPG) have all appeared in most games for the Rams this season.

Fordham currently sits 188th in the NET Rankings and 207th in the Kenpom Ratings. The Rams present the Bonnies with a quadrant three opportunity this evening.

Projected Starting Lineup: Medor, Richardson, Dean, Rose, Gray

Players to Watch

Chad Venning – As long as Schmidt keeps the offense running through Venning, he will continue to be a main contributor in the lineup. The 6-foot-10 sophomore has feasted on inferior big men all season and Fordham was no exception. Venning dropped 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first meetings between these teams. I expect him to have another strong day down low.

Will Richardson – Richardson did not do much in the first meeting between these teams this season. However, the 6-foot-3 guard has been one of Fordham’s best players this season. Richardson sits second on the team with a 10.4 scoring average while adding 46 assists and 31 steals to his resume. Expect him to be all over the place on both ends of the floor tonight.

Previous Meeting

Fordham came into the Reilly Center and beat the Bonnies 80-74 back on January 13. Kyle Rose scored 19 points in the win while Medor had 16 and Gray had 10 points. The Rams shot 50.9% from the field and cashed in nine threes. The Bonnies were led by Venning’s 22 and Pride’s 18 points. Adams-Woods and Flowers were also in double figures. Bonaventure shot 40.0% from the floor and only 6/18 from deep in the loss.

Prediction and Keys to the Game

The Bonnies continue to be a major question mark overall, but especially on the road. I do simply cannot trust this team to go on the road in conference and take care of an inferior team. Bonaventure has one road win in conference which came on opening night of conference play at VCU. Since then, the Bonnies have losses at Richmond, George Mason, Duquesne and Dayton. Until the Bonnies can prove they can consistently score and beat literally anyone away from the Reilly Center, I cannot pick them to win the game. Fordham brings home the two-possession victory tonight.


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