St. Bonaventure eliminates UMass men’s basketball from the Atlantic 10 tournament
PITTSBURGH — It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season. The same mistakes that have plagued the Massachusetts men’s basketball team all year, ultimately led to its demise in a 73-60 Atlantic 10 tournament second-round loss to St. Bonaventure.
This looked liked a very different Bonnies team (20-11) than what the Minutemen (15-18) saw in the regular season finale in Olean. Unlike the SBU team UMass took on less than a week ago, the Bonnies executed their offensive game plan flawlessly for most of the 40 minutes Thursday.
Last time out against UMass, Matt Mobley only hit one field goal and was 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line. His poor shooting performance was a part of a trend that day for the Bonnies that helped keep the Minutemen in the game. Mobley redeemed himself Thursday afternoon for SBU with a 19-point performance.
“Still didn’t shoot that good from the three, for me personally, but yeah, felt we played better than game two,” Mobley said.
UMass’ triangle-and-two zone defense had held the Bonnies in check last Saturday, but the ability to score from more than just Mobley and Adams gave SBU a significant advantage.
“When we can get that third and fourth guy scoring the basketball, good things can happen,” SBU coach Mike Schmidt said. “I thought with David [Andoh] coming in and shooting the ball well and Josh [Ayeni], that gives us two more guys that they have to guard.”
After taking the lead midway through the first half, the Bonnies refused to give it up and went into halftime leading 44-26.
“Ten turnovers at the half, they had seven extra possessions, which led to 12 points,” Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg said. “And then, you know, the constant theme I think when we’ve kind of not played as well as I would have liked or we’ve lost, is when teams have shot — they outscored us by 14 at the free throw line and we end up losing by 13.”
In the first half alone, six different players on SBU had made multiple shots and four had seven points or more. By the end of the game Andoh and Ayeni combined to go 8-14 and each scored double digits.
“When they start making that baseline jumper and that elbow jumper, you know, we were kind of willing to give some of those up,” Kellogg said. “But when seven in a row go in, all of a sudden you have to change what were trying to do, and I thought that affected us some.”
Though the Bonnies second half was not nearly as efficient as their first, they still managed to hold a firm 15 plus point lead up until the final seconds.
UMass did not have nearly the same level of success against the SBU defense. Playing from behind and by such a large margin forced the Minutemen to hurry, which resulted in 16 turnovers.
“You know, they kind of were an old school zone to be honest with you, and we kind of pressed a little bit instead of just getting in the middle of the paint, jump stop, make the next play, the open play and then they were able to run out of that,” Kellogg said. “Once they got a few easy open basket, I thought that opened up the game for them some.”
After the game Kellogg was fired by Athletic Director Ryan Bamford, following a 15-18 season.
Philip Sanzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo.