All season it was St. Bonaventure’s calling card. Fast-paced, high scoring, entertaining basketball. But on Saturday, the same run-and-gun style of play that had been prevalent the majority of the 2013-2014 season fell completely flat in the second half, as the Bonnies managed to make just four shots.
Matthew Wright, who said he felt numb in the second half against Saint Louis just a day before, was 1-of-9 from the field.
Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
“Offensively is where we really struggled and what keys our offense is turnovers and stops,” Wright said. “It’s hard to push the ball when we have a set defense back there taking underneath the net.”
After racing out to an early nine-point lead against St. Joesph’s the Bonnies dream Atlantic 10 tournament run came to a halt in an embarrassing second half against the Hawks, in which they were outscored by 19 en route to a 67-48 loss.
St. Bonaventure will not make the tournament, but will be strong candidates for a CIT or CBI Tournament invite.
“I think the expectations were really low,” St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said. “People thought that we weren’t going to be able to do anything, and I think our guys – we always emphasize overachieving, and I thought we overachieved.”
Halil Kancevic had a career game for the Hawks, scoring 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while also collecting 17 rebounds.
After the Bonnies took a brief one-point lead early in the second half, it was Kanacevic and Langston Galloway that powered a 9-1 run that only started to put the game out of reach.
“I just told them that we’ll go back and we’ll rest and tomorrow we’re coming over for rings and nets,” St. Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli said. That what we want to get tomorrow, rings and nets.”
For a while it looked like the Hawks wouldn’t get the opportunity. With reportedly more than half of the 2,450-person student body traveling down to Brooklyn to attend the game, the Bonnies early lead had Barclays Center as loud as it has been all weekend.
But from the 19:28 mark of the second half to the 10:44 mark, not a single Bonnies shot fell. The crowd that had lost its mind earlier in the afternoon and twice before in wins over La Salle and Saint Louis was quiet.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie and say we are not tired. Obviously we came off two really physical games against Saint Louis and La Salle,” Wright said. “I just felt like we looked at each other and nothing was going, baskets we usually make, going off the rim. It was frustrating physically and mentally.”
The Hawks have all but solidified their spot in the NCAA Tournament, and the Bonnies are 100 percent out. But SBU does not see the season as a total wash.
“Maybe in a few days, when the dust and debris settles,” Wright said, “I’ll be able to look back at the season and how far we came from being picked last in the division.
“Our season should have ended a week ago, but the fact is that we are still not done.“
Sam Blum is a writer for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on twitter @SamBlum3.