St. Bonaventure, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The 21st-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen continue with their quest for the Atlantic 10 Conference crown, and they will try to get over another hurdle as they challenge the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center on Wednesday night.
UMass had been cruising along with a 16-1 record, which included wins in each of its first three league bouts. A 58-55 setback at Richmond last week resulted in the team's initial A-10 loss, but the Minutemen responded by whipping Fordham at home this past Sunday, 90-52. The loss to Richmond was the team's first in a true road game this season.
St. Bonaventure dropped an 83-81 decision at Duquesne last weekend for its fourth loss in six A-10 tilts, and its eighth in 20 games overall. The Bonnies are an impressive 8-1 at home this season, and they recently bounced back from their lone loss at the Reilly Center (79-71 to George Washington) by topping La Salle on Jan. 22 (66-51).
UMass leads the all-time series, 40-21. This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams, as the Minutemen came from behind to prevail at home on Jan. 11, 73-68. Raphiael Putney led UMass with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Charlon Kloof paced SBU with 15 points and seven assists.
UMass put forth exceptional efforts at both ends of the court in the recent rout of Fordham, knocking down 51.6 percent of its total shots, including a 13-of-27 showing from 3-point range, while at the same time limiting the Rams to 30.5 percent field goal efficiency, which encompassed a dismal 6-of-27 performance from beyond the arc. Chaz Williams led the scoring barrage for the Minutemen with 18 points, and he handed out eight of the team's 26 assists. Putney and Trey Davis both tallied 13 points, with the latter dishing out nine helpers as well. Williams and Putney combined to nail seven treys.
Williams is the team leader in scoring (15.9 ppg) and 3-point shooting (36- of-85, .424), while also acting as one of the top set-up men in the country with his 140 assists 7.4 apg. Cady Lalanne (13.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Sampson Carter (10.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Putney (10.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) round out the double-digit scorers for a squad that puts up 78.5 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .472 overall and .369 from the perimeter, while yielding 69.2 ppg on 41.2 percent field goal accuracy, which includes a 28.5 percent showing from downtown.
Kloof and Matthew Wright both had impressive outings at Duquesne over the weekend, hitting for 23 and 22 points, respectively, but those efforts went for naught as the Bonnies dropped a narrow decision to the Dukes. Marquise Simmons pitched in with 13 points for a SBU squad that knocked down 50.9 percent of its total shots, including 11-of-21 3-point tries, and turned the ball over only seven times. Unfortunately, Duquesne made good on 55.3 percent of its field goal attempts, including an 11-of-19 performance from distance, and earned a 20-16 edge in points from the foul line.
Wright (15.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.4 apg), Kloof (12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.9 apg) and Andell Cumberbatch (10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg) are SBU's top scorers, but there are four others listed on the stat sheet that net between 8.3 and 9.2 ppg, including leading rebounder and shot blocker Youssou Ndoye (8.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 41 blocks). Collectively, the Bonnies are putting up 74.7 ppg while permitting 68.4 ppg, and they own favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.0) and turnovers (+2.2).