ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — It was a special day for many reasons at the Reilly Center as the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team faced Hofstra University. In front of a capacity crowd, the 1970 Final Four team and various other Bona basketball greats of years past, the Bonnies played some of their best basketball of the season.
The team was down by as many as seven early in the first half, but it didn’t last long. For the final 33 minutes, Bona's never looked back. A 20-point run and stellar three-point shooting fueled the Bonnies to a 73-45 victory.
Led by sophomores Dominick Welch and Jaren English, the Bonnies shot 12-25 (48%) from three, their best shooting performance of the season. Both Welch and English scored 17 points. In doing so, Welch tied a career high, hitting six 3-pointers in 11 attempts. English set career highs in both scoring and 3-pointers made.
“We have good shooters,” St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said. “I thought we shot the ball a lot better in Florida. We shot 47-48 percent from three. Once you start seeing the ball go in, it’s a confidence thing. They played a zone defense the whole game, and we knew we needed to shoot the ball. We struggled early, but we got in the gym and we worked at it.”
After missing the first five games, English has made an immediate impact for the Bonnies. In a four-game span, the guard has scored 11 points per contest. To English, it’s not the stats that matter, though. It’s about playing hard.
“I just want to bring toughness, win games and win championships,” English said. “I don’t really worry about the personal stats and things like that. Coach Schmidt tells me what he needs from me, and I go and do it."
The hot 3-point shooting wasn’t the only headline in the 28-point drubbing of Hofstra. Sophomore center Osun Osunniyi continued his strong play, tallying eight points, two blocked shots and an important, team-high 16 rebounds.
The Bonnies out-rebounded Hofstra by 10, 45-35, and Schmidt said it’s still a point of emphasis going forward.
“Shoon and Jaren bring a lot to that,” Schmidt said. “It’s something we’ve emphasized that we need to be better at rebounding. It was something that we talked about. Osun brought so much to the table. We’re a different team defensively, as you can see, when Osun is on the court. Not just blocking shots, but taking charges. He is a unique talent.”
Winners of four consecutive games, the Bonnies (5-4) will get a week-long break before taking on Gannon University on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. at the Reilly Center.
“The guys have a long way to go,” Schmidt said. “They’re getting it, we’re not there yet. And we don’t want to be there yet. We want to be playing our best as we go forward. The kids are learning. Today was a big step forward.”
Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox.