Jaylen Adams scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Bonnies to a 75-67 win over Yale on Saturday afternoon at the Reilly Center.
The Bonnies improved to 7-2 with their fourth straight win.
The first half was far from perfect for St. Bonaventure. Yale led by as many as nine points in the opening half and took a 29-25 lead into halftime, a margin that Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt later said he felt fortunate was not larger.
Adams, St. Bonaventure's senior All-American candidate, also was not his usual self in the first half, going 2-7 from the field. The second half, he turned his fortunes – and those of his team – around.
Yale led 33-30 early in the second half when Adams made his first three-pointer of the day, tying the score at the 16:43 mark. The teams traded buckets and then Adams made another three-pointer, this time also fouled in the act of shooting by Eric Monroe. The four-point play made it a 39-35 score and for the first time truly energized the crowd of 3,913.
Adams later set up a layup by Idris Taqqee with a pretty no-look pass, then drained another three-pointer to make it a nine-point Bonnies edge at 46-37 with 13:33 left. That shot capped a 16-4 St. Bonaventure run.
The Bulldogs fought back to within three points at 51-48 and Adams again answered with his fourth three-pointer. The Bonnies eventually pushed their lead to 11 points at 65-54 with 4:56 remaining and they stayed in control the rest of the way.
Adams finished 6-15 from the field but was 4-7 from three-point range and 9-9 at the free throw line. He also handed out nine assists and came up with six steals, tying his career high.
In addition to Adams' leadership, the Bonnies played well defensively in the second half, limiting Yale to 2-10 shooting from three-point range and 44 percent overall. A strong three-point shooting team, Yale was 6-21 from deep (28 percent) on the day. Conversely, the Bonnies made 50 percent of their shots in the second half including 6-10 from three-point range.
Three other Bonnies finished in double figures: Courtney Stockard with 13 points, Josh Ayeni with 12 and Matt Mobley with 11.
Yale (6-6), which was picked second in the Ivy League preseason poll, was led by Alex Copeland with 17 points. The Bulldogs played without leading scorer Miye Oni, who was sick.
Stats Of The Game
The Bonnies again thrived on creating turnovers, forcing 21 by a Yale club that entered the game averaging only 13 per game. St. Bonaventure also came up with 15 steals, second-most this season.
Quoting Bonnies Coach Mark Schmidt:
"I thought the first half we stunk. There wasn't one player out there that played with any energy. But I thought in the second half, our leaders in Jay, Matt, Idris stepped up with fire and with energy and with some passion. In the first five minutes of the second half, they were really important. If we play with that energy and that effort and that sense of urgency for 40 minutes, we could be a good team. That's the challenge that we have."
"Give Yale credit credit. They're a terrific team. They're well coached. They've got really good skill guys and they made us pay whenever we broke down. In the second half, we played with energy. We played extremely well to outscore them by 12 in the second half. That's a testament to our guys. From a defensive standpoint, we had 15 steals … that's a lot of steals. We shot the ball better in the second half. We played with more flow. Ultimately it was a good win for us."
Beyond The Boxscore
- St. Bonaventure is 7-2 for the second time in three seasons; the Bonnies also opened with seven wins in their first nine games in 2015-16.
- The Bonnies had 15 second-chance points while Yale had only four
- Saturday was the first game in the Reilly Center televised on the ESPN family of networks since February 2003.
Up Next: St. Bonaventure is idle until next Saturday, Dec. 16, when the Bonnies host Vermont at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. Game time will be 4 p.m.
St. Bonaventure basketball tickets are available via GoBonnies.com/tickets; by calling (716) 375-2500 or at the St. Bonaventure ticket office in the Reilly Center. For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get men's basketball updates @BonniesMBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.