St. Bonaventure at Rhode Island
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 16, Ryan Center, Kingston, R.I., 6 p.m. EST.
They were a pair of NCAA Tournament teams last season, but both St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island are looking to kick-start their seasons in a bid to return there as the Atlantic 10 foes collide Wednesday night.
Bonnies try again for first road win
St. Bonaventure (6-10, 2-1 Atlantic 10) ended a six-year NCAA Tournament absence last season as one of three Atlantic 10 teams in the field of 68. But to get back there, the Bonnies may have to win the conference tournament this time around as opposed to simply finishing in the top two again.
Mark Schmidt has found it tough sledding after a 26-win season in 2017-18 as the Bonnies are 0-5 in true road games. St. Bonaventure has scored just 61.6 points per game in those defeats while being outscored by 13.6 per contest.
Playing their annual game in Rochester, New York, the Bonnies picked up their first win outside the Reilly Center on Saturday with a 71-64 victory over Fordham on Saturday. Freshman Osun Osunniyi had 16 points and 12 rebounds as St. Bonaventure nearly squandered a 22-point lead before holding off the Rams late.
After posting two double-doubles in wins over Saint Joseph's and Fordham, our man Osun has earned #A10MBB Rookie of the Week Honors!
— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) January 14, 2019
“In the second half, I told the guys that the game of basketball is a game of momentum. Once you lose that momentum it’s hard to get back,” Schmidt told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “Give Fordham credit, but give our guys credit because we handled it.
“They cut it to four and some teams would crumble, but we made the foul shots we needed to finish the game.”
Saturday’s win marked the first time Schmidt had all 11 of his scholarship players available. Additionally, his starting frontcourt tandem of Courtney Stockard and LaDarien Griffen are close to 100 percent after missing 10 and six games, respectively, and are averaging 16.0 and 10.5 points.
The Bonnies are also getting significant contributions from freshman point guard Kyle Lofton, who is averaging 13.7 points and 4.1 assists. Osunniyi has posted double-doubles in both his games since being put into the starting lineup and is contributing 7.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and a conference-leading 2.4 blocks.
Rams struggling to gain traction
Rhode Island (8-7, 1-2) is looking to make its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, a streak last accomplished from 1997-99. The Rams, though, have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games after being rolled 84-67 at home by George Mason on Sunday.
— Rhody MBB (@RhodyMBB) January 15, 2019
The problem for first-year Rams coach David Cox is the perimeter performance was not an outlier. Rhode Island is shooting a putrid 26.0 percent from beyond the arc, the third-worst mark in Division I.
Fatts Russell, in particular, has struggled all season, shooting just 17.6 percent (17 for 96) from deep. It would easily be the worst mark among Division I players, but the sophomore guard has not made enough treys to qualify.
After going 15-1 at home last season and nearly running the table, the Rams are just 4-2 at the Ryan Center in 2018-19, shooting 24.1 percent from beyond the arc. Rhode Island, though, is also playing well defensively on the perimeter — yielding opponents to 29.0 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Dowtin is averaging a team-high 16.7 points and has made a team-high 20 3-pointers. Russell (14.4) and Langevine (13.7) are also in double figures for the Rams, who have won three straight home games over the Bonnies and 10 of the last 12 in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is:
- 1-5 ATS in its last six home games.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- 3-7 ATS in its last 10 home games vs. St. Bonaventure.
- The under is 4-1 in its last five games as a home favorite.
- The under is 9-4 in its last 13 home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- The under is 4-1 in its last five home games.
St. Bonaventure is:
- 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games vs. Rhode Island.
- The under is 7-1 in its last eight games as a road underdog.
- The under is 7-1 in its last eight games as an underdog between 0.5-6.5 points.
- The under is 9-1 in its last 10 games as an underdog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While the Rams have seemingly bounced from game to game without stringing things together, the now full-strength Bonnies appear ready to take a step forward to try and contend in the Atlantic 10.
St. Bonaventure looks to have at least three and potentially four consistent double-digit scorers if Osunniyi continues to produce as he has since returning to the starting lineup. Given the on-going perimeter struggles of the Rams, this is a game the Bonnies can potentially steal or at the very least stay close enough to beat the number.
The line has climbed 1.5 points in Rhode Island’s favor during the overnight, further strenghtening the Bonnies.
Prediction: Pick: St. Bonaventure +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have inconsistent offenses and relatively solid defenses. Between the Rams’ poor 3-point shooting and the deliberate tempo St. Bonaventure plays, the under is a strong play, especially with the line moving 1.5 points higher.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 132.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
A pick that goes in line with taking the Bonnies and the under, the Rams have cleared 67 points just twice in their last four games but also maxed out at 72 in those games. St. Bonaventure has held all three of its A-10 opponents and four of its last five to 68 or fewer points
Prediction: Pick: Rhode Island UNDER 69.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
Though St. Bonaventure has led at halftime just twice at intermission in nine road and neutral site games, they have been within three points on three other occasions. With the Bonnies frontcourt at full strength, they should be able to stay close against a Rhode Island team which takes more than one-third of its shots from 3-point range.
Prediction: Pick: St. Bonaventure +3
Half-Time Total Bet
Admittedly a low bar, the Bonnies have had just two first halves in those nine games outside Olean reach above 65 points, and one of them was Syracuse doing the heavy lifting with a 46-point first half. Rhode Island has been at 65 or lower in its last four games, so the trend of low scoring over the first 20 minutes should continue.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 62 points