By Joe Ceraulo, Sports Staff
The St. Bonaventure University men’s basketball team defeated Jackson State 72-58 at the Reilly Center Saturday for its first win.
After the Bonnies’ disappointing opening night loss and a postponement Wednesday due to multiple power outages in the Reilly Center, the team finally secured its first win of the young season.
Senior guard Matt Mobley stole the show early in this one, with a pair of three pointers and an emphatic dunk that gave the Bonnies an 11-3 lead heading into the first media timeout. He finished with 27 points and six assists.
When asked about moving the ball around and his comfort level with his teammates on the court tonight, Mobley emphasized the Bonnies use of the pick and roll.
“We knew we’d get good looks on it and that’s where most of our assists came from,” said Mobley.
The Bonnies had 16 assists in its win tonight, a major improvement from just seven in its opening night loss.
Sophomore forward Josh Ayeni was the second leading scorer for St. Bonaventure, tallying 16 points, despite just 20 minutes of play due to foul trouble.
Asked about his impact, Head Coach Mark Schmidt said, “That’s his game: screening and popping and shooting. He was in a rhythm, which he wasn’t against Niagara and when he can do that we’re a much better team.”
A big three by freshman guard Izaiah Brockington with 15:25 remaining in the second half gave the Bonnies its largest lead of the evening at 54-31. It also gave Brockington his first career points as a Bonnie.
He wasn’t the only freshman who made his presence known however as Tshiefu Ngalakulondi made a pair of crucial free throws down the stretch and added two blocks on the defensive end.
Jackson State didn’t give up despite trailing by 23 early in the second half. Fifth year senior Paris Collins cut the lead to seven when he hit a jumper with 3:24 to go. He finished with ten points, nine rebounds and two steals while logging 24 minutes off the bench.
With 2:30 left and a seven point lead it was senior guard Idris Taqqee who got the Bonnies back on the right track with a hustle play. After a missed layup by Julian Daughtry, Taqqee dove on the loose ball and called a quick timeout as Tigers defenders swarmed him.
“I thought that was the play of the game,” said Schmidt. “It was a momentum stopper and to do that exhibits toughness. To get that ball and have the IQ to call timeout is in my opinion the biggest play of the game.”
The Bonnies next game is Monday, Nov 20 at 7 p.m. against the team they were scheduled to play Wednesday, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.