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Offensive Woes Plague Bonnies in Loss to George Mason

George Mason defeated St. Bonaventure 69-60 this afternoon. The Patriots were led by Amari Kelly and Keyshawn Hall who tallied 13 points each. The Bonnies were led by Chad Vinning’s 17 points and Mika Adams-Woods’ 14 points. Bonas was plagued by multiple five-plus-minute scoring droughts and a sub-40% shooting percentage which directly contributed to this afternoon’s road loss. Here’s how it went down in Fairfax, Virginia today.

Chad Venning and the Bonnies won the tip and did not have much going on the game’s first possession until Mika Adams-Woods was fouled with just one second remaining on the shot clock. The graduate transfer sank both his free throws which opened the scoring this afternoon. The Patriots responded with five straight that included a Ronald Polite three pointer and an Amari Kelly floater over Venning. The Bonnies remained without a field goal as Venning worked his way to the line and grabbed one of his two free throws.

Assa Essamvous found the first Bonaventure field goal with a floater high off the glass 3:45 into the game. The Patriots responded to the bucket immediately with Darius Maddox sinking a long two before Keyshawn Hall was awarded the layup due to a goaltending call. George Mason led 9-5 at the first media timeout with the Bonnies looking sluggish on the offensive end of the floor.

The Patriots continued to attack on the other end of the media timeout as Kelly added a layup. Bonas continued to look sloppy with the basketball as the turnovers and missed shots continued. Essamvous ended the Bonaventure drought of nearly three minutes with a shot down in close. George Mason once again immediately responded to the Bonnie bucker as Baraka Okojie got to the line and knocked down one of his two free throws. The Patriots continued to push as Jared Billups got to the hole to extend the lead. The game went to another media timeout with George Mason leading 14-7.

The Patriots continued to dominate the game following the under-12 timeout as Woody Newton blocked a Charles Pride shot which led to a Maddox transition layup. Hall then worked his way to the free throw line as the Bonaventure scoring drought eclipsed 3:30. Hall made both his shots to push the Mason lead to 11. The 6-foot-7 sophomore then found himself with an easy offensive rebound and put-back layup on the next possession.

The Bonnies finally began to show some fight as Adams-Woods made the team’s first three of the afternoon. The bucket snapped a nearly 4.5-minute scoreless drought. The Patriots continued to get east buckets as Okojie grabbed an open jumper. The offense then began to pick up on both sides as Adams-Woods got to the cup and Austin Ball got on the scoresheet. Venning followed that drawing a foul on the inside. He made both his one-and-one free throws to cut the George Mason lead to 10 with 7:21 remaining in the first half.

The bad shooting continued for the Bonnies through a combination of bad shot selections and bad misses that were fired off the backboard or back iron. Venning broke through in the paint with the fifth Bonaventure field goal in 23 tries but was answered by a three by Ball on the other end. Banks then attempted to give the Bonnies a spark off the bench with a three. However, Ball answered for the second straight possession with a triple of his own. Now it was Barry Evans’ turn to try and spark the offense with a put-back slam off a Venning miss. Ball got the heat check on the other end but missed the shot. Venning went inside and drew the shooting foul following the miss as the game hit the final media break of the first half.

Venning hit both his free throws to cut the George Mason lead to seven with just over three minutes left in the first half. The Bonnies locked up on following the made free throws which led to an Evans fast-break slam and the Patriot lead was suddenly down to five. Just as quickly as the Bonnies cut the lead, George Mason built it back up. Kelly missed a shot, grabbed his own rebound and was fouled on the follow up. He made the layup and his free throw to push the lead back to eight. After Schmidt took his “use it or lose it” timeout, Adams-Woods chucked up a desperation three at the end of the shot clock. Luckily for the Bonnies, Venning was able to corral the offensive rebound and put back the layup. George Mason missed their shot to end the first half and took a 33-27 lead into the locker room.

Venning led all scorers in the first half with nine points while Ball led the Patriots with eight points. Both Adams-Woods and Kelly tallied seven points in the first half while Hall had grabbed six in the first 20 minutes. George Mason was 13/29 (44.8%) from the field, 3/14 (21.4%) from deep and 4/6 from the charity stripe. St. Bonaventure shot only 9/32 (28.1%) from the field, 2/11 (18.2%) from three and 7/8 from the free throw line. The Patriots grabbed 21 rebounds compared to 17 from the Bonnies while Boans only turned the ball over four times with Mason committing seven turnovers.

Both teams came out of the locker room sloppy with Venning hitting the bottom of the rim with a layup and both teams committing avoidable turnovers. The Patriots struck first with a corner triple from Polite before Hall made a reverse layup to push the lead back to 11 in short order. However, the Bonnies showed some life as Admas-Woods got to the hole and Pride cashed in a deep three to cut the deficit back to six. Venning then worked his way inside and scored to trim the Mason lead down to four. However, Hall responded for the Patriots with a huge three to end the run and push the lead back to seven.

Mark Schmidt’s team continued to scratch and claw to keep themselves in the ball game. Now it was Venning going to work in the paint against the double team. He scored before Evans forced the turnover and Flowers hit a transition three ball. Tony Skinn used the timeout as the Bonnies had cut the George Mason lead down to two. The Bonnies once again played constricting defense and cashed in on the other end with Venning banking in a fade-away jumper to tie the game. Bonaventure then forced a five-second violation on the Patriot inbound before Adams-Woods got to the bucket and gave the team their first lead since 2-0.

Schmidt’s team was not done there. The Bonnie defense forced a shot clock violation and Evans tipped in a Flowers miss to put the team on an 11-0 run. Newton ended the run on the other end with a foul-line jumper before Flowers banged a straight-away triple. Kelly settled the game down with a layup as the game hit the under-12 media timeout. The Bonnies were on a 21-7 run and now led 48-45.

Bonaventure kept working following the timeout as Flowers earned a trip to the free throw line and knocked down both his shots. Tre’ Wood answered for George Mason with a pull-up jumper as the game remained tight. Noel Brown would grab his first points of the game as he hauled in an offensive rebound and threw it back up for the easy two. The Patriots responded with a layup by Kelly as the game continued its shift into what had been set up to be a back-and-forth finish. Mason was not done there as Pride committed a foul on the perimeter and Hall hit both free throws. The Bonnies led 52-51 with 6:18 to go in the game.

George Mason retook the lead and put themselves on a 7-0 run with a Maddox three. The Bonnies were unable to respond on the follow possession which resulted in Bullups driving to the hole for the and-one layup. Pride picked up his fourth foul but Billups missed his free throw. Adams-Woods then had his pocket picked and fouled Kelly in transition. He made both his free throws and the Patriots led by six on an 11-0 run. Venning worked his way to the free throw line as the game entered its final media timeout and a much-needed breather for Bonaventure.

Venning cashed in on both his free throws on the other side of the break to cut the George Mason lead to 58-54. Flowers was whistled for the foul quickly on the other end which led to Billups cashing only one of his two free throws. The Bonnies would not capitalize with a sloppy possession and were now without a field goal in more than five minutes. Maddux made the Bonnies pay on the other end with what seemed to be the dagger of a three. The Patriots led 62-54 with 2:37 remaining.

Adams-Woods would not go away quietly with a three of his own following Schmidt’s timeout. The Bonnies appeared to have a stop on the following possession, but Evans was whistled for the mystery foul. Billups would miss both free throws, however, but it would not matter as the Bonnies committed a shot clock violation with a chance to trim the lead to one possession. Okojie was then fouled and went one of two at the line to push the lead back to six.

The Bonnies would once again come up empty as Banks opted to pass on the wide-open layup for an Adams-Woods look at three. He would miss the attempt and Billups went back to the line. The junior made both his free throws to push the Patriot lead to three possessions and essentially put an end to this one. Essamvous cashed in a triple to cut the lead to five with 19 seconds left before the Bonnies fouled Okojie. He made both shots to push the Mason lead back to three possessions. Another Bonaventure turnover resulted in two more free throws from Okojie and brought the final score to 69-60 George Mason.

Venning led all scorers with 17 points while Adams-Woods followed close behind with 14 of his own. Kelly and Hall were tied for the scoring lead for the Patriots with 13 apiece while Maddox’s 10 was the only other in double figures for the game. George Mason shot 23/49 (49.6%) from the floor, 7/21 (33.3%) from three and 16/23 (69/6%) from the free throw line. St. Bonaventure went 21/59 (35.6%) from the field, 7/25 (28/0%) from deep and 11/12 (91.7%) from the charity stripe. The Patriots outrebounded the Bonnies 34-31 while also turning the ball over 14 times compared to Bonas’ 12 turnovers.

The Bonnies drop to 11-6 over and 2-3 in Atlantic 10 play while George Mason improves to 14-5 and 3-3 in conference play. St Bonaventure will be back in action Tuesday night in Pittsburgh to take on the Duquesne Dukes who are 0-4 in A10 play thus far.


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