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St. Bonaventure routs VCU, snaps Rams' seven-game winning streak

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Jalen Adaway for three (copy)

St. Bonaventure guard Jalen Adaway, pictured against Dayton, scored 25 points and added eight rebounds against VCU.

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ALLEGANY – Mark Schmidt wasn’t ready to say if this was one of the most consistent efforts for the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team.

But after a 73-53 win against VCU on Friday at the Reilly Center, the Bonnies head coach ceded a similar sentiment.

“Today was a complete game,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t play perfect, we missed some shots and we missed some defensive assignments, but I thought the effort was there. We stuck together, we were committed to each other and it was a good performance against a really good team.”

Jalen Adaway had 25 points and eight rebounds, and the Bonnies (10-3, 2-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) ended VCU’s seven-game winning streak. The Bonnies opened a one-point lead just before halftime to as many as 19 points in the second half, and eclipsed the 70-point mark against a team that began the night sixth in the nation in scoring defense, and has allowed its opponents 57.1 points per game in the last seven games.

It might have been the Bonnies’ most commanding effort since a 70-54 win Nov. 21 against Marquette in the Charleston (S.C.) Classic. Given all that has transpired between then and now for the Bonnies – including a 25-day layoff due to the holiday break and Covid-19 protocols, and dropping out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll – that game is well in the rear-view mirror for the Bonnies.

“Marquette seems like it was 2015,” Schmidt quipped.

Against VCU, though, the Bonnies used a 21-4 run that bridged the first and second halves to open a one-point lead with less than two minutes left in the first half to as many as 19 points.

After a scoreless stretch of 3:33 inside the final five minutes, the Bonnies still led 29-28, before Kyle Lofton’s free throw with 58.3 seconds left in the first half gave the Bonnies a two-point cushion. Then, Quadry Adams made a pair of baskets in the final 26 seconds, off a turnover by Adrian Baldwin Jr. and the second off transition with two seconds left in the half that gave the Bonnies a 34-28 lead.

“Staying aggressive,” Adaway said of the opening minutes of the second half. “Quadry, really, came in and some of us were getting tired in the first half, and put those two buckets to go into the half, it was huge. We went into the locker room, pumped up, cheering each other on and telling each other, ‘it’s not over yet.’ Quadry was huge in that.”

Adams’ buckets were part of a 14-2 Bonnies run that bridged the first and second halves and opened Bona’s lead to 43-30 before the Rams (10-5, 3-1) called a timeout four minutes in.

“The last five minutes of the first half, the first five minutes of the second half, the first 10 possessions of the second half are critical,” Schmidt said. “Sometimes we get off to a good start, sometimes we don’t. But we carried over the momentum. Quadry did a really good job for us in the first half, getting us those two baskets at the end. Those two baskets were critical and they carried over to the second half.”

VCU forward Vince Williams (12 points) took his fourth foul 2:05 into the half, and the Rams were 1 for 5 from the floor and turned over the ball twice in that time. The Rams shot 10 from 29 from the floor in the second half, and the Bonnies 9 for 22, but Bona made 18 of its 21 second-half free throws, including a span in which they were 16 for 16 from the line.

Bona led 54-35 eight minutes into the second half, a lead that never dipped below 14 points after that.

"We did not do a good job of some plays that didn't go our way,” VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. “A turnover, a missed shot, a tough foul, whatever it may be. Our response today, and we haven't been like that.

“Now we've been winning, right? We played a really good team today on their court and they were ready to go. We fought the game today and our emotions got the best of us today, too. I’m just disappointed with our response." 

Bona-GW women postponed

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball game Saturday against George Washington has been postponed due to a Covid-19 pause in George Washington’s program.

The Bona athletic department and the Atlantic 10 announced Friday that the game has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Reilly Center. The Bonnies (8-6, 0-3) are scheduled to play at Saint Louis at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

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College/high school sports enterprise reporter

I'm a college/high school sports enterprise reporter at The Buffalo News. I've worked in sports journalism since 1997 and I have covered everything from college football to the Stanley Cup playoffs, high school sports and the NCAA Tournament.

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