St Bona Recap

By Steve DiMiceli

Sorry to take so long with this. Busy day for me.

This was a weird game. It  begins fairly evenly matched for a few minutes. Then Andrew Nicholson picks up two fouls and heads to the bench. Then Da'Quan Cook picks up his second. Then Demitrius Conger. I would think with that equation the Dukes would tear it up in the first half. They didn't. They allowed the foul laden Bonnies to stay in the game ending only up 6 at the half. Of course, the Dukes were lucky to even have that kind of a lead. I thought they came out looking like a team that just had their conference opener stolen from them and were having trouble getting up for the next game. I did not like their effort and I thought they were flat out careless in the first half. TJ McConnell looked like he was one more dropped pass away from beating a teammate to death with his shoe. They could not find any space to work with and to St Bonaventure's credit, they came out with a great game plan for the Dukes. They played a very tight man with help defense almost every time someone tried to drive the lane. Even with all the bigs on the bench, the Bonnies completely denied the paint for the first 15 minutes of the game. The Dukes three point shooting was flat. The bad guys stayed in the game and inserted a fresh Nicholson back into the lineup following the break. After he had his way with our defense and Datt headed to the bench with his fourth foul, I thought the Dukes were finished.

Then something magical happened. Andre Marhold entered the game and shut down Nicholson. Andre blocked his shots, he dribble penetrated past him. He held him to one field goal the rest of the game, IIRC and even dunked on him twice. Nicholson played like he had 4 fouls throughout much of the second half. I think he is completely snake bitten by his recent foul trouble and looked timid defensively.  Once the Dukes shut Nicholson down and realized he couldn't shut them down, the flood gates opened and this game looked a lot more out of hand than it should have after the Dukes dominated the final 12 minutes.

Player reports:

TJ McConnell 8 -- Not his best scoring night but Schmidt prepared his team for the long three's. Great from the line and on the boards. Some bad turnovers hold him back from more.

Sean Johnson 8 -- His first half funk carried over from the St Joe's game, but he was sensational in the second.

Eric Evans 3.5 -- No assists and 3 TO's. Not sure I liked his shot selection tonight either. Played nice D though. Not good from the line either.

Jerry Jones 6 -- I liked Jerry on the glass and at the line. He also created for himself off the dribble today which I haven't seen him do before.

Mamadou Datt 2 -- Picked up fouls so quickly he couldn't even get into the rhythm tonight. Let his team down with senseless fouls.

Andre Marhold 9 -- Didn't look like it on paper but easily his best game as a Duke. His second half defensive effort was as strong as Damian's last year in Olean. He played well offensively too. May have earned his starting spot back.

Mike Talley 8 -- Deserved more than 14 minutes tonight. Strong with the ball and drew a ton of fouls.

Kadeem Pantophlet 8 -- Great effort from 6-8 off the bench today. Pantophlet looks stronger with each game. Rebounded with fire and once again created open looks for himself.

Derrick Martin 5 -- Nothing to praise but nothing to complain about. If he can eat 4 mistake free minutes a game to spell the other bigs, he adds value to this team.

PJ Torres 3 -- I got the impression that PJ was being given an opportunity tonight to take on a bigger role. He got some muck up time at the end of the first half and ended up conceding a really bad foul. Did not make the most of his opportunity.

Danny Herrera N/R -- Not enough time for Herrera tonight. Basically got to watch as the Dukes dribbled off time.