After waiting through a postponed game and a full eight days following a season-opening loss, St. Bonaventure got on the winning track Saturday.
Matt Mobley scored 27 points and Josh Ayeni tied his career high with 16 to lead St. Bonaventure to a 72-58 win over Jackson (Miss.) State at the Reilly Center.
Mobley staked the Bonnies to an 11-0 lead to begin the game and St. Bonaventure went on to lead 39-26 at halftime.
Just over four minutes into the second half, the Bonnies opened their largest lead of the game at 54-31. The margin stayed in double figures all the way until the last five minutes. Paris Collins' layup at the 4:59 mark capped an 8-2 surge that pulled the Tigers within seven points at 62-55.
Idris Taqqee answered for St. Bonaventure, but Collins scored again to make it a 64-57 game with 3:24 remaining. After a missed shot by the Bonnies, Taqqee blocked Julian Dautry's drive, dove to corral the ball and called a timeout. Mobley drilled a three-pointer, his fifth of the game, on the ensuing possession to put St. Bonaventure in firm control at 67-57 with 1:47 left.
Junior point guard Nelson Kaputo started again in place of injured All-American candidate Jaylen Adams. The Bonnies (1-1) also played without junior forward Courtney Stockard, who sat out with groin and hip strains.
Junior forward LaDarien Griffin scored five points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. The Bonnies freshmen Izaiah Brockington and Tshiefu Ngalakuloni each earned nine minutes of playing time. Brockington made one three-pointer while Ngalakulondi had two points, four rebounds and two blocks. Taqqee enjoyed his usual all-around game with eight points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Stats Of The Game
St. Bonaventure picked up 15 assists on 22 field goals, with both Mobley and Kaputo handing out six.
Post-Game Quotes: Coach Mark Schmidt
"I thought we played decent offensively, much better in the first half. I thought [Mobley] did a tremendous job of carrying us in the first half. Having eight days off, the kids were itching to play. We didn't play great but we found a way."
"I thought we played hard, we didn't play well all the time, but I thought we played hard and playing hard overcomes a lot of deficiencies. I'm pleased with a win, but we've got to continue to get better."
"Josh [Ayeni] got in foul trouble, but I thought he did some good things and we had the freshmen come in and get some time. The only way they (Ngalakulondi and Brockington) are going to get experience and get better is by being out there and with us being down a couple players, it gives them more of an opportunity to play. I thought for the most part that they were positive."
"LaDarien's (Griffin) grandfather died seven days ago, so it's been tough for him. He played for his grandfather today which is a tribute and a credit to him. I thought he played well."
"I thought the play of the game is when Idris (Taqqee) dove on the ball. I thought that was a momentum stopper. That doesn't take skill, that's just toughness --- kid with a big heart. To me, that was the play of the game his ability to dive on those 50/50 balls and have the IQ to call a timeout."
Up Next: St. Bonaventure will play its rescheduled game against Maryland Eastern Shore on Monday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center.
St. Bonaventure basketball tickets are available via GoBonnies.com/tickets; by calling (716) 375-2500 or in person at the St. Bonaventure ticket office in the Reilly Center.
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