Photo by Dan Nelligan
The Bonnies (7-2) welcome the Siena Saints (2-7) to the Reilly Center as the teams will battle for the Franciscan Cup. The Bonnies are 9-5 against Siena since the teams began playing each other in 2000. The home team has won each of the last four head-to-head meetings between these two schools, as well. This is everything you need to know about this afternoon’s game.
The Bonnies dominated Niagara Saturday in a 34-point road victory. St. Bonaventure continues to be led by graduate transfer Mika Adams-Woods. The guard leads the team as he is averaging 15.1 points per game through the first eight games of the season. Adams-Woods set a new career high in points Saturday with 25. Chad Venning has also been a valuable asset for head coach Mark Schmidt. The redshirt junior is averaging 13.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Daryl Banks III and Moses Flowers have both found their stride over the past few games. Banks has brought his season average up to 9.8 points per game while Flowers is now averaging 8.6. Assa Essamvous has also been solid this season as he has started all eight games while averaging 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. Noel Brown and Barry Evans cannot be forgotten as they have been solid off the bench. Brown averages 6.3 points per game while Evans has grabbed 6.0 rebounds per contest.
Charles Pride and Kyrell Luc have both missed multiple games with ankle injuries. Pride has been one of Schmidt’s best players this season. The Bryant transfer has averaged 12.8 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game in his six games played. After the win last weekend, the Bonnies jumped to 82nd in the Kenpom Rankings and 78th in the NET Rankings.
Projected Starting Five: Evans, Assa, Adams-Woods, Banks, Venning
Head coach Carm Maciarello’s team comes into tonight’s game with a 2-7 record. Out of 362 teams, the Saints are ranked 359th in Kenpom and 362nd in the NET Rankings. Siena’s only wins have come against Holy Cross (73-71) and Rider (67-65) while some notable losses have come to Richmond, Bryant and Central Michigan.
The Saints lost three double-digit scorers and a fourth who averaged 8.1 points per game last season. Javian McCollum (15.9 PPG), Jackson Stormo (12.5 PPG and 5.4 RPG), Andrew Platek (10.4 PPG) and Jared Billups (8.1 PPG) all left the program this summer.
Michael Eley leads the 2022-23 Siena team in scoring as he averages 14.7 points per game. The 6-foot-4 sophomore has also grabbed 6.3 rebounds per game which is second on the team. Giovanni Emejuru and Zek Tekin have also been solid for the Saints this season. Emejuru, the 6-foot-11 redshirt sophomore, averages 12.1 points and 6.0 rebound per game while Tekin, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, averages 12.0 point per game.
Other notable players for Maciarello’s team include Michael Evbagharu’s 8.6 points and team-high 6.8 rebounds per game, Bralyn Smith’s 6.6 points per game and Killian Gribben’s 5.8 points per game. This Saints team does not have much depth outside their top few scorers.
Projected Starting Five: Tekin, Smith, Emejuru, Gribben, Evbagharu
Players to Watch
Daryl Banks III – Banks is heating up after his sluggish start to the 2023-24 season. After only registering four points in three of his first five games, the redshirt senior has scored in double digits in three straight games. Even with his uptick in production, Banks has not had that signature game where he appears unstoppable from beyond the arc. A bad Sienna teams seems to be the perfect place for Banks to filly breakout.
Giovanni Emejuru – Emejuru stands at 6-foot-11 and weighs in at 265 pounds. The redshirt sophomore averages 12.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per game so far this season. Emejuru should provide Venning with solid battle down low as both centers stand at least 6-foot-10 and weigh a minimum of 255 pounds. If the Bonnies win the battle in the paint, this game will not be close.
Last Season’s Matchup
Siena took down the Bonnies last season 76-70. Javian McCollum led the Saints with 23 points while Jackson Stormo tallied 14 along with grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Andrew Platek and Michael Eley were also in double figures. Eley is the only of those four players that remain on the team this season. Flowers led the Bonnies in scoring in last season’s matchup as he tallied 14 points. Assa, Venning, Banks and Luc were also all in double figures in the loss.
Predictions and Keys to the Game
The Bonnies will win this game based on their dominant guard-play alone. Siena will have absolutely no answer for the combination of Adams-Woods, Banks, Flowers and Assa. At least one of those players will get hot from deep while another consistently gets to the hoop. If Venning wins the battle down low, the Bonnies might win by 40 points. Realistically, I see the Bonnies winning this afternoon by around 25 points.