Visiting teams are usually the ones who fall apart in the Reilly Center. Not so Tuesday. St. Bonaventure disintegrated in the late going and saw its five-game winning streak end with a 73-60 loss to Kent.
The Bonnies didn't have a field goal in the final 10 1/2 minutes as Kent closed the game with a 25-5 run.
"This was probably one of the ugliest displays I've been a part of," admitted senior point guard Tim Winn, who was 2 for 11 from the field with five turnovers. "You can put your head down and sulk about it or you can just lace 'em up a little tighter."
Tight describes how Bona (6-2) played in crunch time as it tried to post its first six-game winning streak since 1983.
After trailing at halftime, 39-31, the Bonnies roared from the gate in the second half. Working the ball inside with regularity, Bona exploded on a 20-3 run to produce a 51-42 lead with 12:59 to go.
But Kent didn't wither, befitting the billing of a team that was 23-7 and went to the NCAA Tournament last year after winning the Mid-American Conference tournament.
The Golden Flashes (5-1) blew out the Bonnies the rest of the way, 31-9. They did it largely by cutting off Bona's low post play and ruining the hosts' offensive sets with aggressive traps on the perimeter.
Bona took a 55-48 lead on Caswell Cyrus' layup off a Winn feed with 10:23 to play and never found the net again, missing its last 10 shots. Kent reserve forward Geoffrey Vaughn then scored six of his eight points to spark a 19-2 outburst that left a crowd of 4,840 to sullenly head for the exits.
"They forced us to do a lot of uncharacteristic things tonight," Winn said. "We got a little bit frustrated and lost our focus."
"We've got to be a little more poised," coach Jim Baron said. "You need to be aggressive but you need to be under control. "You have to make good decisions."
Bona didn't make many in the second half, when it committed 10 of its 19 turnovers and hit only 10 of 31 from the field. Winn was just 1 of 8 in the final 20 minutes and committed four of his turnovers.
The collapse was an epic one. There were too many turnovers. Too many jump shots. Not enough passes into the low post. Not enough rebounding (Kent had a slim 40-39 edge, but grabbed 18 offensive boards and had 14 second-
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Bona: Depth was key as Kent
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"Our offense suffered a lot," said guard David Messiah Capers, who scored seven of his 11 points in the run at the start of the second half. "When we took our time and ran it, we scored. . . . I didn't think we attacked the basket enough. They rushed us when they trapped us. We were just out of synch."
Meanwhile, Kent never panicked when things looked like they were going Bona's way. The Flashes got points from 10 players, with guard Trevor Huffman coming off the bench to lead the way with 16 points and six assists. Depth was a major factor, as the Kent reserves outscored Bona's, 33-4.
"What hurt them is they only play seven guys," Kent coach Gary Waters said of the Bonnies. "By the end of that game, I thought their tongues were hanging. That's what our team is all about -- playing 10 or 11 guys."
Freshman Patricio Prato led Bona with 17 points, but eight came in the first three minutes. Cyrus had 12 points and seven rebounds while playing on a badly sprained arch. Messiah Capers and forward Peter Van Paassen had 11 points apiece.
The Bonnies, who are off until hosting Cleveland State on Dec. 30, have trailed at halftime in each of their three home games and that's one stat they'd better hope to change quickly. They came back to beat Northeastern and Southern California. They looked like they were going to do it again Tuesday. Then came the last 10 minutes.
"We have to be more consistent," Van Paassen said. "Tonight we had a pretty decent start (leading, 15-6) and gave it away with bad decisions throughout the game. When they came with their runs and hit a couple shots in a row, we responded with turnovers instead of executing the game plan to get the ball inside and play off that.
"When they get a run going, we have to stick to the game plan. Don't panic and don't try to make fancy plays or get the deficit down on one play. Baskets are only worth two or three points. You can't make eight-point plays."