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Pregame Prep: Bonnies face injury-riddled St. Joe's


St. Joseph's at St. Bonaventure

7 p.m. Tuesday at the Reilly Center

TV: American Sports Network

The Set-Up: St. Joe's has suffered a lot of blows since the end of last season's wonderful, 28-8 campaign. The Hawks lost star forward DeAndre Bembry to the NBA. The A-10's player of the year left school early and was taken in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks. That wasn't a shock. But the Hawks lost the best player on the 2016-17 roster on Dec. 30 when point guard Shavar Newkirk went down with torn knee ligaments. He was averaging 20 ppg. He's done for the year. In preseason, the Hawks lost 6-8 starting sophomore Pierfrancesco Olivia, a good stretch-4, to a season-ending knee injury. The Hawks were picked for ninth in the Atlantic 10.

The Match-Up: The Bonnies average 81.6 ppg, best in the A-10 and 34th in the nation. Point guard Jaylen Adams is 15th in the nation and second in the A-10 in scoring at 21.8 ppg. Off-guard Matt Mobley is fourth in the A-10 at 19.9 ppg. St. Joe's zone defense will have its hands full. Can the Hawks keep up the scoring pace? With Newkirk the first 12 games they averaged 72.8 ppg. In five A-10 games since they've averaged 63.6. That won't get it done in the RC Tuesday. Hawk junior wing James Demery missed 10 games with a left foot stress fracture. But he has been back the past seven and averages 14.9. He attacks the rim with force. Sophomore guard Lamarr Kimble averages 14.7. The Hawks are young, with two sophomores and two freshmen starting.

Three-Report: The Hawks rank 10th in three-point defense and 247th in the nation. Bona is 61st in the nation and best in the A-10 in three-point percentage. Bona's three-point D is 320th in the nation. But the Hawks don't shoot threes well or often.

A-10 Pecking Order: In the Pomeroy analytics ranking, Bona currently is the A-10's fourth best team. The order: Dayton (39), Rhode Island (46), VCU (49), Bona (88), Davidson (92), LaSalle (103).

Challenge to RC fans? The Hawks' Demery sent out a tweet on Sunday that said he didn't "get what all the hype is about with the Bonnies' crowd. . . . they really not that loud." He later deleted the tweet. As anyone who has attended the RC knows, the Bona students don't need any added incentive to be raucous and fanatical. They just got some.