UMass-St. Bonaventure Preview
Massachusetts used a frenzied rally to knock off St. Bonaventure earlier this month.
The Bonnies don’t sound too eager for a rematch, and they have dropped 26 straight against ranked teams heading into Wednesday night’s home matchup with the No. 21 Minutemen.
Massachusetts (17-2, 4-1 Atlantic 10) trailed most of the way in a 73-68 home victory over St. Bonaventure (12-8, 2-4) on Jan. 11. Trey Davis had five points to trigger a game-ending 9-0 run for the Minutemen, who trailed by 13 with 9:50 left.
"I don’t know that it’s good to get UMass anytime," St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt said. "They’re really talented, they have a great point guard in (Chaz) Williams and very good big guys inside. I don’t think it’s a good time to play them at anytime in the season, but I’m glad we’re playing them at home, I guess."
Massachusetts is playing its third A-10 road game, winning 88-87 against George Mason on Jan. 15 and losing 58-55 to Richmond last Wednesday. The Minutemen have dropped five of their last eight at the Reilly Center, where the Bonnies are 8-1.
"First and foremost, they’re one of the better home teams in the conference," Massachusetts coach Derek Kellogg said. "Coach Schmidt has done a really good job, especially building that brand and having the people up in Olean very excited about their team."
St. Bonaventure may be wary because it dropped the first meeting despite doing a good job of limiting Williams, who made 1 of 7 shots for eight points although he handed out nine assists. He averages a team-high 15.9 points and conference-best 7.4 assists.
The star guard came up with a key play with a steal with 1:22 left that led to Davis’ go-ahead basket. The Bonnies finished with a season-high 20 turnovers – four in the final 1:22.
"I don’t think the first game is going to have any bearing on the second game, they’re two totally different games," Schmidt said. "We played well enough for the first 37, 38 minutes to beat a great team like UMass but their pressure got us at the end, we didn’t finish the game the way we needed to."
Raphiael Putney led the Minutemen in that one with 17 points and Cady Lalanne added 16.
UMass did a solid job against Matthew Wright, who scored eight points and leads the Bonnies with 15.5 per game.
"What they are is they’re a very well-coached, physical, make you earn everything, grind-it-out type of team and that’s going to present some challenges for us, especially on the road," Kellogg said.
The Bonnies’ last win over a ranked team came against No. 23 Temple on Jan. 15, 2000.
St. Bonaventure will try to bounce back from Saturday’s 83-81 loss at Duquesne in which it allowed Derrick Colter’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Charlon Kloof scored 23 and Wright added 22.
Williams led four Minutemen in double figures with 18 points in Sunday’s 90-52 rout of Fordham. UMass is the conference’s highest-scoring team, averaging 78.5 points.