Siena vs. St. Bonaventure: Saints must be careful
Evan Hymes drove down the lane with four minutes left and turned it over.
Thirty-three seconds later, a double team by UAlbany’s Sam Rowley came from the weak side, and O.D. Anosike spun to his right and fired a diagonal pass to the perimeter that flew way over a teammate’s head out of bounds.
During the final minutes of the Great Danes’ 69-54 win on Saturday, Siena had repeated chances to make it interesting, but frequently coughed up the ball.
Turnovers have become a problem as the Saints try to break a four-game losing streak at St. Bonaventure at 9 tonight in a game that will be televised live on NBCSN.
Hymes, in particular, has been losing the handle and is ranked second in the U.S. behind Grambling State’s Derron Hobbs in turnovers per game, as compiled by www.-statsheet.com.
He’s averaging 5.38 turnovers per game, followed on the Siena list by Anosike (2.88), which is especially harmful when one player is your point guard and the other is the post player through which your offense runs.
“We just have to be smarter with the ball, more careful with it,” Anosike said on Monday. “We have to make better decisions on where we’re throwing our passes. Just value it more.”
“We just have to make better decisions,” head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “We’ve got to read situations better. It’s more a case where guys are maybe trying to do too much. They feel they have to make a play, a home run play as opposed to a solid play.”
That comes from increasingly high pressure to win a game, as Siena fell to 2-6 with the UAlbany loss and has become desperate for a victory.
Siena’s only wins have come in overtime at Navy and against Northern Kentucky in the NUCDF Basketball Challenge.
Other than a 77-60 loss to San Diego, the Saints haven’t been blown out by anyone, but the offense has been clunking along without being able to establish some continuity and flow.
“We’re struggling a little bit right now,” Anosike said. “But, for us, panic isn’t going to help the situation. It’s a matter of going out on the floor, getting a good practice in and going on the road and trying to beat a
really good St. Bonaventure team.
“I’ve said a couple things to the team. They’ve always been really receptive to what I’ve said, but now it’s a matter of going out on the floor and doing it. Saying it is one thing; now you’ve got to go out on the floor and do it.”
“A win would be a good present,” said Buonaguro, who turns 59 today.
Hymes leads Siena in scoring at 14.1 points per game, after Anosike was held to eight by the Great Danes to fall to 13.6.
Sophomore Rob Poole tied a career high with 19 against UAlbany and is averaging 12.3.
This will be the third installment in the Franciscan Cup series against St. Bonaventure.
The Bonnies are 4-2, losing at Ohio and at Canisius against former St. Bonaventure head coach Jim Baron, who is in his first season with the Golden Griffins.
The Bonnies graduated star forward Andrew Nicholson after last season and are led in scoring by Chris Johnson (16.2 ppg) and
Demetrius Conger (14.7).
“Everyone said it was going to be a down year for them, but I think they’re going to be pretty good,” Buonaguro said. “They have very good athleticism, they press well and have really good man-to-man defense.
“They don’t have what I would call a great inside player. They’re more perimeter-oriented, but they have Conger back, and [Charlon] Kloof, their point guard, is a great defender. I think they’re an underrated team.”
“I know they’re a real athletic team with a couple guys who can score at a high rate,” Anosike said. “It’s going to be tough to go out there and get a win. We really have to have 100 percent focus and concentration.”
Siena sophomore forward Lionel Gomis, who has played just two minutes in one game, was not on the bench on Saturday and didn’t practice on Monday while he deals with what Buonaguro described as personal issues. He’s still on campus.
The Connecticut Post reported on Monday that Quinnipiac and Monmouth may join the MAAC, which would bring the conference to 11 teams after Loyola leaves for the Patriot League next year.