Courtesy of GoBonnies.com
ELMONT, N.Y. – Friday’s Gotham Classic presented a unique matchup between one of the nation’s most experienced teams in Notre Dame, and one of its greenest in St. Bonaventure.
On Friday afternoon, youth was served at UBS Arena outside Belmont Park.
St. Bonaventure never trailed in an impressive, dominating performance, downing the Irish by a 63-51 final tally.
In so doing, the Bonnies handed Notre Dame its first loss of the season (5-1) while taking an emphatic step forward to a 4-2 mark of their own.
Notre Dame brought six graduate students and over 5,000 combined career points to its lineup Friday while the Bonnies, of course, are an entirely new group with zero returning points from last year’s squad.
Those stats mattered little to the Bonnies, as they scored 11 of the game’s first 13 points and never relinquished control.
Chad Venning was a force inside, producing his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrell Luc finished with 16 points and six assists, including two key three-pointers down the stretch to help put the game away.
Yann Farell gave Bona’s a second double-double effort with 11 points and a career-best 14 rebounds.
The first half belonged to the Bonnies.
St. Bonaventure began the game on a 22-9 sprint, powered by a 5-for-8 start from beyond the arc.
Seven different Bonnies spread the scoring wealth in the first half, all posting between three and six points as Bona’s seized a 31-20 halftime advantage.
The Bonnies kept the Irish at bay as the second half began, thwarting any rally attempt through the first 10 minutes, pushing ahead to their largest lead, 49-36, with just over nine to play following a trey by Luc.
Notre Dame snuck back within 51-44 with five minutes to play, but Luc would slam the door on the Irish rally.
The sophomore guard first drained a straight-away trey with 4:13 to play, then, less than a minute later, rained home another long ball from the far wing to stretch the lead back to double digits with 3:27 showing on the clock.
If Luc came through with the back-breakers from beyond the arc as Notre Dame attempted to claw back late, it was the work of Venning and Farell who put the Bonnies in prime position to begin with.
Venning, who averaged 18 points and seven boards in Gotham Classic campus wins over Bowling Green and Southern Indiana in the past week, continued his burst onto the scene as he dominated the paint against an ACC foe.
He went 7-for-12 from the floor and consistently had his way against the Irish defense.
Farell, meanwhile, continued to emerge as one of the Atlantic 10’s top freshmen. He hauled in 10 rebounds before intermission and also connected on two shots from beyond the arc while chipping in a pair of assists.
The Bonnies picked up contributions throughout its regular lineup. Daryl Banks III finished with eight points and three assists and Barry Evans added six points. Moses Flowers turned in his best game in a Bonnies uniform, providing beyond his final line of five points and two helpers.
St. Bonaventure owned a 38-32 edge in rebounding while holding Notre Dame to just 34.5 percent shooting on the day (19-55). The Irish never scored a single fast-break tally and went 2-for-17 from distance.
Nate Laszewski was Notre Dame’s leading scorer, posting 11 points. Ven-Allen Lubin chipped in 10 points and 13 boards.