By Paul Gotham
St. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Footnote at the bottom of the box score reads: Technical fouls: St. Bonaventure-NDOYE, Youssou.
It was a small penalty to pay. Actually, the official’s whistle was barely audible over the clamor created by the student section. With the game well in hand Youssou Ndoye delivered a thunderous two-handed jam that rattled the Reilly Center rafters. Sure, he might have pulled on the rim and slightly elevated his 7′ frame.
Blame it on the crowd. They channeled their energy to the sophomore resulting in the extra surge of emotion.
After all, Ndoye’s previous exploits on the night called for one last cathartic blast. His stat line read seven points on 2-6 shooting from the field and 3-6 from the free throw line. He grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a career-high five shots.
It wasn’t so much that he blocked five shots. Four of the swats resulted in his team recovering the rebound. There were no second chances for the opposition.
What’s also not found in the box score is the turnover he created when an opponent needed an extra step to avoid his flapping wings. Or the handful of other shots he altered. Then there was also the charge he took early in the second half.
In his post-game comments, St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt pointed to Ndoye’s presence on the defensive end as a factor in the win.
It started early when Bethune-Cookman’s Adrien Coleman, looked to drive from the wing. The 6-5 forward found Ndoye in his path, and he changed his plans and settling for a jumper. It didn’t matter. Ndoye swatted it away. The Bonnies recovered the rebound, and Chris Johnson knocked down a three at the other end.
Coleman changed his tact later in the first half. The Atlanta, Georgia native must have had a surge of bravado as he opted to attack the rim. The result was the same. Again, Johnson gathered the rebound and the Bonnies were off and running. When a running jumper rattled off the rim, Ndoye was there for an offensive bboard and kick out to Matthew Wright, on to Eric Mosley for a trey and SBU’s largest lead before half at 27-15.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Ndoye commented. “I wasn’t making my shots. I was 0-4 the first half, so I had to do something on defense.”
His block in the second half helped capped a decisive 10-0 run. B-CU’s Mark Mack pulled up just outside the lane when Ndoye rose up and knocked away the attempt. In one motion, Ndoye landed and scampered to the sideline in front of the Bona student section saving the loose ball by throwing it off an opponent’s leg.
“I had to do something to help my team,” Ndoye continued. “I can’t struggle on offense and defense.”
With the Bonnies up ten late in the game, Ndoye offered a flash of offense. With his back to the basket he caught the ball, stepped to his right and finished a pretty left-handed baby hook.
The sophomore getting his first start played a career-high 27 minutes while accounting for just one foul.
As for the technical? Chalk it up to youthful indiscretion. The next time he gets a chance to put an exclamation point on a win, Ndoye can say he has been there before. That should give the Bona faithful even more reason to roar.