ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The St. Bonaventure Bonnies once again got down to business on their home floor, beating Southern Indiana 80-66 Tuesday night. Bona has won all three games it has played at the comfortable Reilly Center.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s game:
- Venning’s career day: Chad Venning, a sophomore, earned a second straight start after an outstanding performance against Bowling Green. He played even better against Southern Indiana, averaging a career-high 21 points. The Brooklyn native made 9 of 15 attempts from the floor and knocked down 3 of 4 from the charity strip. Taking advantage of southern Indiana’s lack of size, the 6-foot-10 Venning dominated color on both ends. He made some moves on the low block reminiscent of Andrew Nicholson, whose No. 44 jersey hangs proudly in the rafters of the Reilly Center. Venning still has a long way to go before drawing comparisons to Bonaventure’s top 21St Century, but still played offensively grandiose. He also snagged seven rebounds that were tied Yann Farrell for a team high.
- Kyrell Luc Go full speed ahead: The former Holy Cross Crusader played tremendously at both ends of the floor. Offensively, Luc scored 19 points and dished out a game high with six assists. He made all eight free throw attempts and calmly knocked down a big 3-pointer in transition to improve Bona by a dozen early in the second half. The Bonnies had 26 fastbreak points to Southern Indiana’s 10, and Luc was a major reason Bona had a +16 advantage in that department. Defensively, Luc helped force multiple turnovers in Southern Indiana and he recorded three steals and two blocks. He also helped limit the Southern Indiana shooters as the Screaming Eagles made just 9 of 28 (32.1 percent) from across the arc.
- Solid Defense: Bona played his best defensive game against Southern Indiana. Coming into this game, the Screaming Eagles were averaging nearly 80 points per game and finishing in 18th placeth on land in 3-point shooting. But the Bonnies didn’t care. The Browns and Whites limited the USI to just 66 points, forced 15 turnovers and won the rebound fight. Southern Indiana struggled out of the gate and never really found its groove thanks to Bonaventure’s strong defense. Before the game head coach Markus Schmidt spoke about the importance of defending the color to limit the drive-and-kick play that Southern Indiana employs. His team did just that. The defense locked the key, which helped get Bona out early and often in turns. It eventually paved the way for that team’s third win of the season.
- Multiple contributors: Bona scored double digits for four of his five starters. Venning and Luc led the way, but Farell and Banks scored 13 and 12 points, respectively. Midway through the second half, Farell and Banks combined for five 3-pointers over a 3:37 stretch. On Banks’ first 3-pointer of the game, Southern Indiana’s Isaiah Swope fouled him on shooting, giving the former Peacock a 4-pointer. That 16-to-5 run, starting at 15:01, helped put the Bonnies out of reach. After Farell emptied the fifth 3-pointer of that run, Southern Indiana Timeout called and the Bonnies led 56-38. Though Barry Evans did not exceed the 10-point mark, he nevertheless made a significant contribution. The 6-foot-8 freshman finished with six points and played every 40 minutes. Evans got the crowd in the game early at the Reilly Center when he slammed a big dunk home from a great feed from Farell.
- Next up: The Bonnies travel to Long Island on Friday to take on Notre Dame at the UBS Arena. One of the nation’s oldest teams, undefeated Fighting Irish are using a six-man rotation and will no doubt put these young Bonnies to the test. Bona will have her hands full but this game, win or lose, will provide a great learning experience for Schmidt’s side. The clue from Elmont, NY is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be rebroadcast on ESPN+.
Jack Milko is currently a graduate student at St. Bonaventure University. In May 2023 he will complete his MA in Sports Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @Jack_Milko.
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