OLEAN – It’s frightening to think where St. Bonaventure would be this season without Marcus Posley.
The Bonnies got a glimpse of it for a third straight game Wednesday, because Posley’s shooting slump stretched to a third straight game.
The result: a third straight Bona defeat, 71-56, to Richmond.
Posley went 1 for 8 from three-point range and now is 2 for 25 from behind the arc in the last three games. The Bonnies are long on long-armed athletes, which is good, but short on perimeter shooters, which is a problem.
A crowd of 3,319 at the Reilly Center watched Bona make only four field goals outside 10 feet.
“One of the biggest numbers is we had 18 offensive rebounds, but we only had 10 second-chance points,” said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. “We missed so many easy baskets, layups. And when we’re struggling from the three-point line, you need to make those gimmies. We didn’t do a good job of that.”
The loss dropped the Bonnies to ninth place in the 14-team Atlantic 10. With five regular-season games to go, that’s looking like their likely seeding for the conference tournament. Richmond (14-12 and 7-6) remained tied with LaSalle for seventh place. Bona is 0-2 vs. Richmond and lost its lone meeting with LaSalle.
Posley, the 6-foot-1 junior from Illinois, is averaging 16.4 points a game and has hit three game-winning shots. He went scoreless in the first half and finished with nine points.
“He’s just gotta keep on working at it,” Schmidt said. “Get in the guy, work on the game. It’s just like being in a batting slump, you go to the batting cages and you work harder. That’s what you’ve got to do.”
Most players hit a cold patch. The problem for Bona is its offense is further handicapped by the loss of injured point guard Jay Adams, out with a broken finger. He’s Bona’s second-best perimeter shooter, and the team’s key distributor.
Junior Iakeem Alston, had a shaky game in his second start in place of Adams. He scored nine points, but he managed only one assist and made four turnovers.
Bona held a big size advantage, because Richmond was without injured center Alo Nelson-Ododa. Bona exploited the edge on the boards, outrebounding Richmond, 39-29. But Bona didn’t turn the edge into enough points.
Bona 7-foot center, Youssou Ndoye, produced 12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. But Richmond did a good job getting defensive help on Ndoye.
During the key stretch of the game, a 14-0 Richmond run in the second half, Bona made four straight turnovers on passes into the post for Ndoye. The Spiders went from trailing, 42-38, to leading 52-42. The ball was being fed too early.
“We had some success,” Schmidt said of the low-post game. “But you can’t throw the ball in on one pass. You’ve got to move the ball, move the defense. They’d load up if you throw it one pass, they load up the back side. We lost our poise.”
“I thought our guys did a great job on him, not only preventing him from comfortable touches, but also stealing the ball at one end,” said Richmond coach Chris Mooney.
Mooney acknowledged that the loss of Adams allowed Richmond to cheat a bit more in Posley’s direction.
“Jalen’s had such a good year, and he’s a good shooter, so that enabled us to probably be a little tighter on defense and pay that much more attention,” he said.
Richmond also did a good job of preventing Posley from getting the ball in positions where he could catch and shoot.
“That’s exactly what we tried to do,” Mooney said. “He’s more than capable of scoring off the dribble, but at least then it takes a little more time, a little more effort. We didn’t want him to just catch and be comfortable to shoot the ball.”
Bona got 10 points from both Dion Wright and Andell Cumberbatch.
Richmond shot 50 percent from the field and put five players in double figures, led by guard ShawnDre’ Jones, with 17.