The Massachusetts Minutemen found themselves in foul trouble all game and where not able to overcome. Tyler Bergantino fouled out with 12 minutes left in the second half and Cady Lalanne battled fouls all game. The refs had quick whistles for both teams but the lack of depth at the center position made it tough for UMass.
Youssou Ndoye certainly took advantage of the refs mindset as he not only went to the free throw line BLANK times but also drew charges. There's no question that Ndoye won the matchup with Lalanne as the 7 footer went for 14 points and 13 rebounds, including three blocks. Lalanne ended up with comparable numbers scoring 12 points and grabbing eight boards with a block but did not have the impact on the game that Ndoye did. Much due to his foul trouble.
One of the few highlights for UMass came early in the first half when Jabarie Hinds found Maxie Esho for a sweet and very risky alley-oop.
Here's a replay of @UMassBasketball Maxie Esho's alley-oop vs St. Bonaventure https://t.co/pvdj4qCjJH— UMass Athletics (@UMassAthletics) January 3, 2015
The last time UMass would even the score with the Bonnies was with 4:38 left in the first half after Max Esho split two defenders and flipped the ball in underhand. Esho would finish the game with eight points and five rebounds on 4-7 shooting in a fairly quiet game from him.
UMass would then go scoreless for about seven minutes as St. Bona went on a 12-0 run that lasted two and a half minutes in the second half.
Lalanne would pick up his third foul on a charge call which Ndoye should submit to the Oscars committee. Not soon after though the Minutemen would go on a run of their own as they closed the gap to 35-31 after back to back Tyler Bergantino layups.
Then Bergantino picked up three fouls in less than a minute and fouled out forcing Lalanne back in with three. Just over one minute later Lalanne was whistled to his fourth forcing UMass to go with Esho at the five. With the interior of the UMass defense compromised, the Bonnies took advantage going on a 17-3 run to put the game out of reach.
The Minutemen's shooting performance was so abysmal that once they were down by that margin it was all but over. They shot just 35 percent from the field including an eye gauging 4-22 from three. At some point you just need to accept the fact that you cannot shoot threes and stop beating the dying horse. No one missed more than Trey Davis who finished 1-9 from three and 3-5 from inside the line. He would join Lalanne in double figures with 12 points.
Derrick Gordon, who isn't known for his offensive prowess, had his lowest scoring output of the year managing just two points. He looked sluggish and not himself as he also failed to contribute in other ways, producing just two rebounds and assists.
St. Bonaventure really got after the boards as they out rebounded UMass 37-30. Surprisingly though the Minutemen had 13 offensive to the Bonnies 12.
Three other Bonaventure starters would finish in double figures with their leading scorer Marcus Posley leading the way with 16. He drew Gordon's attention for most of the game and while Gordon forced Posley to shoot just 4-10 from the field, he couldn't stop him from the line as Marcus went 6-8.
The Minutemen offense looked stagnant and was painful to watch. There was little movement and when they were able to penetrate and get open looks they just couldn't knock them down. Shooting and really offense as a whole have been a problem all season and today was no different. Unless they discover a shooting touch soon these kind of games will plague them all season.
UMass will be on the road against La Salle on the 7th which is a must win if the Minutemen don't want to slip below .500. St. Bonaventure improves to 8-4 (1-0) while UMass is an even 7-7 (0-1).