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St. Bonaventure Looks to Keep Rolling at Home Against Duquesne

Photo by Dan Nelligan

The Bonnies are back in action inside the Reilly Center against Duquesne this afternoon. Bonas will look for revenge following an ugly road loss in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Bonaventure has climbed the Atlantic 10 standings over the past few weeks and are now atop a packed group of teams and currently hold the fifth seed. The Dukes have been playing better basketball recently but still sit near the bottom of the conference. The numbers once again are trending in Bonaventure’s favor as Duquesne is 5-15 all-time inside the RC.

The Bonnies

Mark Schmidt’s team enters today’s game with a 14-8 overall and 5-5 conference record. The Bonnies also carry a 9-2 home record into this afternoon. Chad Venning continues to prove his worth to this team as he leads Bonaventure in scoring average with 14.0 points per game. The redshirt junior also hauls in 4.9 rebounds per game while his 43 blocks lead the team. Venning has recorded a block in 24 straight games.

Mika Adams-Woods finally worked his way back into the starting five against UMass and continues to boost his scoring average. The Cincinnati transfer scores 13.7 points per game to go along with 37 threes, 19 steals and a team-high 71 assists. Charles Pride also continues to be a horse for this team. The Bryant transfer averages 11.7 points and a Bonnies best 6.7 rebounds per game. Additionally, Pride chips in 22 steals, 39 assists and 32 threes.

Moses Flowers is the fourth and final Bonnie averaging double figures. The redshirt senior scored an even 10.0 points per contest while leading the team in made threes with 39. Daryl Banks continues to play good basketball since his breakout game last week. The undoubted leader of this Bonaventure team scores 8.5 points per game while also dishing pit 54 assists and leading the team in free throw percentage at 90.0%.

Assa Essamvous continues to play the role of the unsung hero as his play might not be the most eye-popping from a scoring standpoint. The sophomore from Gabon scores 6.8 points but grabs a valuable 5.6 rebounds per game. Assa also adds 24 steals and stellar defense to his game. Speaking of stellar defense, Barry Evans keeps improving every time he touches the court. The sophomore may only average 3.5 points per game, but he also grabs 5.4 boards per game. Evans also adds 29 assists, 10 blocks and a team-high 26 steals to his stat line. Noel Brown also continues to play as the backup center for Venning where he averages 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

The Bonnies currently sit 68th in the NET Rankings and 76th in the KenPom Ratings. Bonaventure presents Duquesne with an opportunity to grab a quadrant one win this afternoon.

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

The Opponent

Keith Dambrot’s squad comes into this game 13-9 overall but only 3-6 in conference play. The Dukes had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 72-59 loss at Davidson int heir mid-week game. While Duquesne plays a nine- or ten-man rotation, Dambrot leans heavily on his top two players.

Dae Dae Grant and Jimmy Clark III are the clear best players on this team. Grant averages 17.6 points per game along with a 3.8 rebounds per game average. The 6-foot-2 senior guard also adds 42 assists to his card while being one of the primary three-point shooters. Grant has made 52 of his 153 attempted shots (34.0%) while also being a stellar 98/103 (95.1%) from the free throw line. Grant did not play in the first meeting between these two teams. Clark averages 14.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-3 senior guard chips in a team-high 77 assists and 49 steals. Clark is the other shooter for this team as he enters today 36/119 (30.3%) from deep but only 63/93 (67.7%) from the line.

After those two players, the Dukes have a slew of mediocrity. Fousseyni Drame and David Dixon are both big men. Drame averages 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while Dixon scores 6.9 points and adds 4.7 boards per contest. Dixon also leads the team in blocks with an impressive 41. Kareem Rozier and Andrei Savrasov are the other players averaging more than six points per game thus far. Both players sit with 6.6 scoring averages entering this afternoon’s matchup.

Other players you could expect to see tonight are Jake DiMichelle, Dusan Mahorcic, Tre Williams, Hassan Drame, Halil Barre and Matus Hronsky. These players averages between 2.0 and 6.6 points per game with no players grabbing more than 3.9 rebounds per contest.

Duquesne currently sits 105th in the NET Rankings and 113th in the KenPom Ratings. The Dukes present the Bonnies with a quadrant three opportunity this afternoon.

Projected Starting Five: Mahorcic, Clark III, Grant, Williams, DiMichele

Players to Watch

Mika Adams-Woods – Adams-Woods did not play in the first matchup between these teams, and he was sorely missed. The argument could be made that if he played in the game, the Bonnies win it wit relative ease. Kyrell Luc started in his place and only had four points. Adams-Woods should be able to blow any guard on the Duquesne team off the ball and find a good number of easy buckets in close today. Don’t be surprised to see a 20+ point game from Mika.

Jimmy Clark III – Even though he only scored nine points in the first matchup between these teams, you could see Clark was clearly the best player in Duquesne in the game. He can score from pretty much anywhere and is not afraid to shoot the basketball. However, Clark’s weakness is the free throw line where he shoots just under 68% on the season. Either way, the Bonnies need to guard Clark tight once again.

Previous Matchup

The Bonnies dropped a stinker at Duquesne back on January 23. Bonaventure only tallied 15 points at halftime and lost the game 54-50. Pride led all scorers in the game with 14 while Assa totaled 12. The Dukes won the game without having a scorer in double figures. Clark led the way with nine while DiMichele and Rozier had seven points each. Venning, Banks and Luc were a combined 2/26 from the field as the Bonnies went 16/59 (27.1%) from the floor and 2/13 (15.4%) from three. Duquesne was not much better shooting 15/49 (30.6%) from the field and 7/21 (33.3%) from deep. The Dukes also struggled from the line shooting 17/30 (56.7%) in the win.

Predictions and Keys to the Game

I cannot see this Bonaventure team having another abysmal shooting day against this Duquesne team, especially at home. The Bonnies are simply the better and more talented team. Venning will likely get doubled down low which will leave the guards open to wreak havoc on the rest of the floor. I see this game starting slow with a close game for about five-to-seven minutes but Bonas opening a decent lead midway through the first half. After that it will be cruise control of Schmidt’s team who grab a 15+ point win inside a sold-out Reilly Center.


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