Wednesday, December 7, 2016

St Bonaventure Rallies Late and Defeats Hofstra 81-75

Last night in Hempstead, St Bonaventure, down four points, 72-68 with 5:15 left, outscored Hofstra 13-3 the rest of the way to win the game 81-75.  The Bonnies' win broke a three game winning streak for the Pride, while the Bonnies won their fifth game in the row.  It also avenged a home loss last season to the Pride up in Oleana, New York.

We're going to do a new segment here breaking down games on the College Hardwood.   It's called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".

The Good - For St. Bonaventure, the dynamic duo of Jaylen Adams (31 points) and Matt Mobley (23 points) combined for fifty four points, twenty rebounds and shot seven of thirteen from beyond the arc.  This is a nightly occurrence for the two players, who both average over twenty points per game.  The Bonnies also out-rebounded the Pride 32-22.

For Hofstra, it was the return of Rokas Gustys' offensive game.  Gustys just missed a double double with twenty points and nine rebounds on nine of fourteen shooting from the field.  It was the most field goal attempts he had all season and only the third time this season where he had ten or more field goal attempts.   For someone who shot sixty six percent from the field last season and fifty one percent this season, that's just simply not enough field goal attempts for the big man.

Other than Gustys, freshman Eli Pemberton continues to impress, scoring fifteen points, his eighth double figure scoring game of the season.  Deron Powers had six assists and only two turnovers.  Also, Hofstra did a good job in the second half on defense, holding St Bonaventure to thirty three points and forcing sixteen turnovers the whole game.   However, see "The Ugly".

The Bad - For St Bonaventure, sixteen turnovers, compared to Hofstra only having eight, eliminated any advantage they had on the boards.  Consequently the Pride had seven more field goal attempts.  The Bonnies also had significant foul trouble last night with three players having four fouls, including their two starting front court players, Denzel Gregg and Josh Ayeni,  Fortunately, David Andoh gave St. Bonaventure good minutes off the bench, plus eleven points and five rebounds, along with the two starting guards Mobley and Adams combining for twenty boards.

For Hofstra, where to begin.  First, any time your assist-to-turnover ratio is 2-1 on the night, seventeen assists to eight turnovers, you should win the game.  Alas, the Pride went scoreless over the last five minutes and fifteen seconds of the game to negate that.

And it was easy to see why.  Shot selection. After Ty Greer's tip in made it 72-68 Hofstra with 5:15 left, the Pride were one of ten from the field to end the game.   Their next three shots were three point attempts, with Bernardi hitting one of them.  After that, it was either Deron Powers throwing up bad layup attempts (3 of 13 from the field) or the Pride taking three point attempts or outside jumpers.

After Rokas Gustys scored on a tip in with 6:44 left in the game, he touched the ball on offense only once the rest of the game, getting fouled on a put back attempt with less than a minute left in the game.  He missed both free throws, more on that later, but that's not the point.

This was eerily similar to the 2016 CAA Championship Game between Hofstra and UNCW.  In that game, with 12:30 left, Gustys made a layup to put Hofstra up 56-48.  It was his eighth field goal in only ten attempts at the time.  It was also his last field goal attempt of the second half and he didn't even get fouled and go to the foul line those last twelve and half minutes!  To me, that was the main reason why Hofstra lost in overtime to UNCW (Gustys would hit his only field goal attempt in overtime to finish with eighteen points in the championship game).

To be perfectly blunt, if you cannot get the ball to your leading scorer, a fifty percent plus field goal shooter, in the last six plus minutes of a close game, you deserve to lose.

The Ugly -  For the seventh time in ten games, Hofstra gave up eighty or more points.  It looked like it was going to be another ninety points plus allowed, as St. Bonaventure had forty eight at the half. Amazingly in these seven games, they are 3-4.  But given their record, that also means they are undefeated, 3-0, when they give up less than eighty points.  Simply put, you cannot win consistently night in and night out when seventy percent of the time you are giving up eighty plus points per game.

As aforementioned, I've been saying how Hofstra must get the ball in the hands of Gustys more.  Consequently, he needs to shoot MUCH better from the free throw line.   He has been simply awful, shooting eighteen percent from the charity stripe this season compared to forty three percent last season.  Gustys needs to get to at least shooting fifty percent from the line, otherwise he won't get the ball more down the stretch. 

St Bonaventure will give #CAAHoops folks a chance to compare the two teams from the 2016 CAA championship game, as they next host UNCW on Saturday.  As for Hofstra, they get Kentucky in the Barclays Center on Sunday.  

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