Lights Out: A first-person account of the game that wasn’t

By Jeff Uveino

Walking into the Reilly Center Wednesday night felt as normal as any other game day.

The students filing in, the teams shooting around and Kodak Black echoing through the loudspeakers–just a typical pregame in the RC. At 6:30 p.m., the St. Bonaventure Men’s basketball team prepared to play the Hawks of University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

As the teams took warm-ups, I noticed that several lights above where UMES was shooting were out.

My initial reaction was that this was a tactical move: make the opponents warm up in the dark while we warm up in the light. An obscure strategy, but perhaps a slight advantage. Boy, was I wrong.

Shortly after noticing the lights were out, I got word that it was because of a power outage in the arena, quite an interesting development for my first time covering a Bonnies game.

Rumors spiraled around about the source of the outage and how it would affect the game, but it seemed as if no one knew for certain. Security guards, media personnel, and curious students searched for answers.

But one thing was for sure; we would have to wait.

The planned start time of 7 p.m. came and went, as the teams continued to shoot around. The scoreboards were now completely out, as was the jumbotron over center court.

A smiling Jaylen Adams hobbled around the floor, shooting with his team despite the boot he wore to protect his sprained ankle and the obvious notion of being ruled out for the contest.

More time passed. Still nothing.

Behind the scenes, the lights in the halls and media room flickered. There appeared to be lights on around other parts of campus, but no signs of progress in the Reilly Center.

Around 8 p.m., an announcement was made in the arena that National Grid would be testing the power in an attempt to have the game played. The Reilly Center, the crowd was told, would go almost completely dark for about 15 minutes.

Phone lights came on throughout the stands, electricians scrambled around campus, and “Let’s go Bonas” chants continued to cry out intermittently, as they had for nearly two hours at this point.

St. Bonaventure University President Dr. Dennis DePerro even tried his hand at a few foul shots to entertain the crowd.

Suddenly, around 8:30 p.m., the power flashed back on, sending the relatively quiet student section into a frenzy.

It appeared as if the problem had been fixed, and the game would be played after all. I couldn’t help but think that this game would be remembered for a long time as something along the lines of the “power outage game,” and be added to Reilly Center lore.

But it didn’t end there.

Everyone back into place, the Bonnies ran out to warm up once again. The crowd was alive, and Twitter was going crazy trying to keep up with what exactly was going on.

However, Matt Mobley barely had time to lead the team out and drop in a lay-up before the jumbotron went dark with an abrupt bang.

Next were the scoreboards on the ends of the gym, then the overhead lights.

At this point, the night was starting to feel like a nightmare.

The teams retreated back into the locker rooms, and everyone anxiously waited once again to hear a final word on what the outcome of the game would be.

The crowd was thinning, but those remaining could still be heard.

You could feel the collective frustration bouncing around the arena.

The players wanted to play, the coaches wanted to coach, and the Wolf Pack wanted to be the Wolf Pack.

At approximately 8:35 pm, the official announcement was made that the game would not be played. The arena was empty in an instant.

The decision was made that the game would be ruled a “no contest,” meaning that it would not count toward the record of either team. Rumors that the home team would have to forfeit if the game was not played were shot down in an instant, and a frustrated Bonas community went on its way.

After the game, barely a soul could be found throughout the arena.

The only people left were a few scattered security guards making sure everyone exited safely. After all—the power was scheduled to go out for another test in 5 minutes, as was announced. Leftover pizza sat under the continually-flickering lights of the media room.

After the frenzy of events was over, I had to take a few minutes to make sense of what had just happened.

After a heartbreaking loss to Niagara University last Friday night, now Bonas fans had to go through this? An unpredictable and unforgettable start to a season where many experts had the Bonnies making the NCAA tournament.

St. Bonaventure’s next game will be played Saturday afternoon vs Jackson State University at 4:00 pm. Who knows what will happen next? Bonnies fans have already had enough disappointment and bewilderment for a whole season.

If one thing is for sure, it is that November 15, 2017 in the Reilly Center is a day that will be remembered around the community for years to come. A decade from now, alumni and staff will reminisce:

“Remember the night when the power went out? Twice?”

I certainly won’t forget.

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Bonnies fall to Niagara in Heart breaker

By Jeremy Castro

When Nelson Kaputo slipped and fell with around 10 seconds remaining, causing Matt Mobley’s sixth and most crucial turnover, it almost felt like a microcosm for the entire game.

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies men’s basketball team, a team with NCAA tournament aspirations, lost the first game of their season, at home, to the Niagara Purple Eagles by the final score of 77-75.

The Bonnies were slow from the start, finding themselves only scoring ten total points within the first ten minutes of play.

Senior guard Matt Mobley led the way with 7 points, but was 2-11 from the field and 3 of those points were from the foul line. As a team, the Bonnies shot 25.9% from the field in the first half.

By halftime, the Bonnies found themselves down by nine, and by a score of 34-25.

\Head coach Mark Schmidt talked about the offensive struggles in his post-game press conference.

“We played very poor in the first half offensively,” Schmidt said. “I thought being down by 9 [points] at half time was good as we played so bad offensively.”

Coach Schmidt also described why he felt the team struggled in the first half.

“We played tight,” Schmidt said. “We had just one assist in the first half and I think we were 0-8 from three. We had some good looks; we just didn’t play the first 20 minutes the way we needed to play to beat a team of Niagara’s caliber.”

A lot of the talk before, during, and of course after the game was centered around star point guard Jaylen Adams.

Adams injured his left ankle in the team’s exhibition game last Friday against Alfred. Despite suspicions and murmurs on whether or not he would be ready for the game tonight that seem to go on all week, in the end Adams was kept out.

“He is our best player, but we are not going to make any excuses,” Schmidt said.

In the second half, the Bonnies seemed reinvigorated, scoring six quick points in about the span of a minute. However, they just never seemed able to capitalize.

Niagara’s red-shirt senior guard Kahlil Dukes lit up the Reilly Center, ending with total 23 total points on the night, and hitting 6 out of 8 three pointers.

Dukes is one of seven medal winners to return to the program from last season, and the Purple Eagles returned their entire starting five.

The Bonnies were  much better in the second half, with their field goal percentage jumping up to 50%. Not only did the team seem to have new life, but so did the fans. The Reilly Center was rocking and the crowd was back into the game. With 07:47 left in the game, Courtney Stockard hit a straight away three-point shoot which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

This was it. This is where the Bonnies would push on and finish the game out. However, it seemed every time the Bonnies responded, they’d make a mistake keeping them in the hole.

“Every time we got there (close to the lead), we just had a breakdown,” Schmidt said. – a turnover, we didn’t switch on the ball screen correctly.”

Junior forward LaDarien Griffin, who had a career high in rebounds with 10, compared the first and second half.

“(In the second half) we started playing defense,” Griffin said “We started moving the ball. Once we started getting stops and started scoring, then we started chipping at the lead, but we had too many breakdowns at the end.”

One such breakdown was the one I mentioned at the top of this article. With 12 seconds remaining, the ball is given to Matt Mobley with Bonaventure down by three. He brought the ball up the court and, looking for a give-and-go play to open him up for a three point attempt, passes it to Nelson Kaputo. Unfortunately, Kaputo slipped, fell down, and Mobley’s pass went well out of bounds, ending all hope of a comeback. After the comeback the Bonnies staged to get back into the game, it was a heart breaker. But, seeing how the game went, it was not all that surprising, especially missing their star.

“They beat us with the team we had out there,” Schmidt said. “The credit goes to them.”

The Bonnies take on Maryland East Shore at 7:00 PM on Wed. November 15th at the Reilly Center.

Politics in Sports: A Sports Journalist’s Perspective

By Isaiah Blakely

Politics have always been intertwined in sports, but recently, it has been a major topic of discussion in the NFL and NBA specifically.

President Trump paid attention to the NBA during the summer when the Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said he was not going to the White House, and then Trump revoked the Warriors invitation.

The bigger story this season has been Trump’s reactions to NFL players kneeling during the anthem. He called the NFL players “SOB’s” and told the NFL owners to fire anyone who kneels. Trump also called for the firing of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill after she tweeted calling him a white supremacist.

Coverage of sports has changed, and I asked three established sports journalists their thoughts on politics being a bigger focus in sports.

Steve Wyche: Reporter, analyst and host for NFL Network

Kimberley Martin: Former Buffalo News columnist and current Washington Redskins beat writer for the Washington Post

Marc Spears: Senior NBA writer for ESPN’s The Undefeated

General thoughts on the amount of attention the President of the United States has paid to sports, specifically the NFL and NBA.

Wyche: “I don’t know if he’s spent more time paying attention to the NFL and NBA than other presidents. What he has done is spent more time Tweeting and remarking on them in a controversial manner. Most leaders, when they’ve commented on sports teams, have expressed fan-type support or admiration or, spoken up in times of controversy to try to spur progress. This president seems to use some of the issues, whether real or concocted, to gin up controversy.”

Martin: “The amount of energy the President has used to disparage the NFL/NBA and its players is alarming, considering the major issues that need his attention, like the threat of nuclear war, the economy, healthcare, etc.”

Spears: “It’s surprising. It should be surprising that the leader of the free world cares that much about sports. One might think it is a ploy to distract from what’s really going on in this world. There’s probably a method to the madness so far the tail is wagging the dog. Typically, in my lifetime one such is the case it’s been more light-hearted stuff like celebrating a champion or attending a game or throwing out a first pitch. Rarely is it from a political standpoint. Usually leave that up to the fans and the people that run the sports but it’s obvious that this is a different world now.”

When you see and hear the president calling on news organizations to fire employees, how concerning is that to journalists?

Wyche: “It is a major concern. It leads to journalists wondering how much support they have from their employers and creates a fear that our nation’s leadership is trying to transfer our great press freedoms into state-run propaganda. Journalists and good journalism is the ultimate check-and-balance mechanism to inform the public. If a leader can influence the narrative or media companies to shield truths, our country will suffer. If a journalist does something improper, it should be left to his or her employer to decide if discipline is necessary.”

Martin: “The President calling for law-abiding citizens to be fired from their jobs should frighten everyone, not just journalists.”

Spears: “That’s very concerning because that’s my coworker. I don’t want one of my favorite people to lose her job. Definitely stunning, and I guess it shows how much power she has that the president would even pay attention to her. The biggest thing as a journalist it’s important to fight for free speech. Nobody should ever have to be muzzled no matter what they have to say. Even if the KKK wants to have parade or want to speak you have to let them speak. It’s part of living in America. You don’t necessarily have to pay attention to it. It can take away a lot of the stress. I think the fact that he is paying attention to her, definitely shows how strong her voice is.”

What impact has Trump’s comments had on the way you cover sporting events, the way you see the industry?

Wyche: “Well, since I deal with the NFL, I’ll stay in that lane. When he called players ‘SOBs’ and said team owners should fire players who don’t stand for the anthem, it caused the media to ask players about his remarks and it led to wide spread counter-reaction from players. That re-directed the focus of normal sports coverage into more news coverage. Sports and news often mix but the tenor or anger and distrust and divisiveness is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

“Much of what is happening in sports and the president’s remarks mirror what is going on in society, which is why emotions have become so inflamed when he decides to chime into athletic/business/societal and economic matters.”

Martin: “As a result of this administration, I found that I watched players more closely during the singing of the national anthem than I ever had. I talked to players and football fans more about politics, the presidency, the role of government and the responsibilities of athletes than I ever have before. And as a result of this administration, I’ve seen more and more journalist friends and colleagues express their political leanings on Twitter than I’ve ever seen before.”

Spears: “He had an impact because it certainly involved the NBA. I cover the NBA for ESPN and I’m also down the street from the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors visit to the White House was in debate and eventually taken away. I was there when (Stephen) Curry said he didn’t want to go, and I was there when the President told the Warriors they weren’t invited anymore. So I got to hear a lot of choice word, laughs or concern from the Warriors side about the whole ordeal. I was in the ESPN studio in Los Angeles when Lebron had his press conference where he certainly had some choice words about the President. So it certainly has affected my job because the first couple weeks of training camp it was a hot topic.”

 How do you separate your own personal opinions on matters, from opinions that might reflect on the company you work for? Is there a way to separate the two?

Wyche: “Absolutely. We all have our opinions and beliefs but they never spill into my coverage. I report and try to always bring all perspectives into play. It is not my job to interject my personal feelings into my reports and frankly, I don’t think anyone would care.”

“However, as a minority, I can offer points of view that might not typically be reported or generated because of my experiences. I also can use different historical reference points that often get overlooked or ignored. There are also periods each year when coaches and GMs get fired. Most of the mainstream media, which is majority white, will list potential candidates for jobs. Most of those candidates they list are white. However, if I talk to the right informed people, there also are minority candidates whose names and credentials I mention just as prominently.”

Martin: “As journalists, we’re supposed to be objective and accurate. My personal opinions don’t color how I approach, deal with or try to understand the players and coaches I cover. But when the players you see every day in the locker room start talking about politics and the President challenges and insults a subsection of athletes and targets specific players, the lines become blurry for all and it becomes increasingly difficult to consistently police the opinions of journalists. (ESPN’s handling of Jemele Hill’s suspension is a perfect example.)”

“The divisive climate of the country is unlike anything this country has seen in more than 60 years and, as a result, it’s difficult as a person of color, a woman and the daughter of immigrants to check my opinions on social media. With that said, I do think twice — even three times — before I tweet. I recognize that I’m not a CNN or Fox News commentator. I’m a sportswriter and many of my followers want to be kept up to speed on NFL news. With that said, as a person of color, a woman and the daughter of immigrants, I also recognize that representation matters and that if I don’t use the platform I have, however small it might be, to bring attention to certain issues that I believe are important — who will?”

“Certain things — like nazis, racism, sexism — are wrong. Plain and simple. And there are certain concepts I’d imagine all decent humans can get behind — like, racial equality. So, I retweet articles as a way of sparking thought and discussions among my Twitter following and as a way of providing a different perspective for people who may not look or think like me. I find that it is (at times) possible to engage in constructive, healthy dialogue on social media. But in no way, am I ever offensive, nor have my tweets ever reflected poorly on my company. That being said, I’m not sure how we, as an industry, can consistently determine the dividing line between journalists representing themselves vs. journalists representing their companies on Twitter. Especially now, in these tense times, when political and social issues are dominating sports news. Like I said, it’s a slippery slope.”

Spears: “You got to be careful because we do have a social policy. You want to be edgy as a journalist and say things, but you can only go so far because you are representing a company. If I was just Marc Spears regular dude on the street I could say whatever I want but because I am working for a global company I have to be more careful about what I say.”


What do you say to people who tell journalists to “stick to sports?”

Wyche:” I tell them they can say whatever they want but it is impossible to at times because so much of life, news and sports intersect. How can some journalists stick to sports when they have to report on Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt raising millions for hurricane relief to help those who’ve been displaced or lost loved ones? How can you tell some journalists to stick to sports when an athlete is detained for no wrongdoing or is charged with domestic abuse? It is interesting, though, how some reporting can skew perception.”

“Watt’s work was heroic and correctly praised for being as much. Meanwhile, the civic work of Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who also raised money and school supplies for kids in Houston – his hometown – barely received a blip of attention. Instead, Bennett is more recognized for not standing for the National Anthem in order to bring awareness to those that might have suffered.”

Martin: “Sports are seen as an escape for most people, a brief respite from the stress of everyday life and what’s happening in the “real world.” People who say ‘stick to sports’ often argue that sports should remain an unadulterated space. But in doing so, those individuals forget (or choose to ignore) the many instances in which athletes helped to shine a spotlight on important social issues and managed to spark important dialogue via their platforms.”

Spears: “You don’t want to read it don’t read it. No one is forcing you to read it. Perhaps I could see where it can get overkill to some people, and they just want to hear about the game. But that’s the good thing about conversation and the good thing about these stories is it forces people to talk about things they don’t want to talk about. It pushes the uncomfortable. I love it, through all of this it will eventually make the world a better place because it forces people to face the truth. You are not going to change every everybody people are who they are. But hopefully the younger generation through education on racism, sexism, classism they will have a better feel for how the world should actually be.”

Do you feel that politics have become intertwined with sports much more than it was, say five years ago?

 Wyche: “Not really. Maybe more so in a controversial way but there always has been some form of political involvement, from local communities having their tax-dollars being leveraged to build new stadiums to retain or lose teams. Presidents have invited teams to the White House. Politicians have fought against/for integration in sports on college campuses. There is a constant battle for women’s equality in sports and at the collegiate level, forced political intervention. There’s always been some realm of cross-culture in sports and politics.”

Martin: “This isn’t the first-time sports and politics have collided, but the minute the President fired verbal jabs at athletes and professional sports leagues, we entered uncharted territory.”

Spears: “Yeah, definitely so I think it all started with what happened in St. Louis, what happened in New York and what happened in Florida. I’m talking about people who were affected by police brutality. I think it’s the constant fight, struggle that blacks have had with police brutality that has kinda sparked all of this in recent year. The funny thing about the whole Kaepernick deal is that his protest is about fighting against police brutality toward black men.”

“But yet that’s never talked about. It’s always the flag. It drives me nuts. It’s a terrible smoke screen. I had some time with Kaepernick last year and I wish he talked more so people could understand where he’s coming from because he’s a really intelligent guy. I work for The Undefeated and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I think 5 years ago we may not have had as much to write about. Now shoot just walk outside all the stories are sitting on the curb for us. It’s sad but it’s the reality of the world today. “

“I do have hope that long term all this talk all the stories all the debates all the pain can hopefully make for a better world for the younger generation. I don’t think the younger generation cares more the most part about color about race about whether somebody is gay or not. There’s so many mix kids now, it’s hard for you to be racist towards to your friends because everybody is something. There’s going to be so much more diversity in the coming years where so many people are related to somebody black, somebody Mexican, somebody Asian. You could talk to somebody that’s white and they brother in law could be black, and you don’t know it and that’s going to make them angry. I do believe there is a better world coming”

There has been less political talk in recent weeks, but athletes are using their platforms in an abundance of ways and I wouldn’t expect that to stop anytime soon.

Bonnies fall to Siena 70-62

By Sean Lynch

The Bonnies lost to the Siena Saints 70-62 after a strong offensive showing in the second half from the Saints.

Arielle Harvey scored a game high 17 points with 4 rebounds off the bench. Jalisha Terry also had a strong showing off the bench for the Bonnies with 16 points and 2 steals. Mariah Ruff had 12 points and 4 rebounds, the third Bonnie with double digit points in the game.

Both Mckenna Maycock and Danielle Migliore both had double digit career highs in rebounds with Maycock having 13 and Migliore with 11.

Starting off strong, the Bonnies led at halftime 35-26. The Saints came back in the second half led by the strong performance of Kollyns Scarbrough. She recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Maddie Sims had 16 points off the bench for the Saints.

Siena’s 21-11 advantage during the third quarter helped them take a 47-46 edge into the fourth quarter of the game.

The 18-2 run that held the Bonnies without a field goal for 8:23 would prove to be the driving point for the Saints’ victory over the Bonnies.

The Bonnies head on the road once again for a game against Canisius on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in Buffalo.

Migliore’s career day leads Bonnies to comeback win

By Isaiah Blakely

Danielle Migliore hit seven three pointers all of last season, and now she is closing in on that mark after one game.

Migliore sparked the Bonnies 11-point second half comeback by scoring 21 points and going 5-9 from three-point range as the Bonnies won their season opener over Niagara 76-58.

Niagara was winning after the first quarter 17-13 because of a quick start from sophomore point guard Maggie McIntyre starting the game 3-3 from distance, McIntyre ended the game with nine points.

Mariah Ruff had 14 assists which is tied for second most in school history, and one of them was to Migliore who hit a three as the first quarter buzzer sounded.

Second quarter Bonaventure’s offense was stagnant, and Niagara took advantage. The Purple Eagles went on an 18-5 run to start the second quarter lead by redshirt-senior forward Victoria Rampado and senior forward Kaylee Stroemple who had nine of her 11 points in the first half. Stroemple and Rampado had double doubles.

Rampado had 12 points 15 rebounds while Stroemple had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Niagara had a 17-point lead, but the Bonnies ended the half on a 6-0 run to leave them down 11 at half.

Junior college transfer Bree Paulson started her Bonaventure career with a bang by following a Migliore three with back to back threes of her own to start the third quarter. Paulson ended with 14 points. Ruff scored two of her nine points with a layup to give Bonaventure their first lead of the game.

The Bonnies never looked back as they scored 34 points in the third quarter and shot 12 of 14 from the field and 8 for 9 on three pointers. Coach Jesse Fleming knew what he had in this team saying, “They’re very dangerous, and I’m so proud they showed it in the second half.”

It was not just three-point shooting that sparked the comeback. Fleming said “They showed maturity. we’re going to get around the post, we’re going to team defend and we’re going to make it tough”.

That’s exactly what they did, Niagara went five minutes without scoring and by then they were down 11. Migliore capped off a historic quarter by banking in a three at the buzzer.

The Bonnies were up 15 going into the fourth quarter thanks to as Fleming described it “We caught lightning in a bottle” and he said “It’s infectious when you make threes and it spreads like a disease”.

The game was not over yet because Bonaventure struggled to rebound all game. Niagara outrebounded Bonaventure 39-26 and 11-1 on the offensive glass. A Rampado layup capped off an 11-4 to bring Niagara’s deficit to single digits with 2:35 to go.

Freshman Emily Calabrese answered the run with 2 of her 8 points followed by sophomore Jalisha Terry adding a layup and the foul which was three of her 13 points which put the game away.

The character of a team is very important, and Fleming said they “showed what their character was. They could have said the heck with it, you’re not coming back.” Fleming continued “It’s really encouraging to know that I got fighters, I got tough kids that love to play with each other”.

Bonaventure has a quick turnaround as they travel to play at Siena on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Kaputo “I’m the best I’ve ever been”

For Junior guard Nelson Kaputo, not getting lost in the hype is high on his priorities.

Because of the Bonnies’ NCAA Tournament snubs the past two seasons, the team is motivated to finally get over the hump this season, especially with the tournament-level hype surrounding the team. In fact, CBS Sports ranked the Bonnies the #1 college basketball team in New York on Wednesday.

Kaputo, a 6-foot guard from Toronto, Ontario, shared his thoughts about how the team doesn’t want to get lost in the hype.

“We’ve done a great job blocking it out,” Kaputo said. “We’re focusing on what we have to do.”

The Bonnies put up good numbers on the record sheet, finishing 20-12 on the season and 11-7 in conference play; however, Kaputo expects them to perform better this season due to a new emphasis on work ethic.

“It was a great off-season for all of us,” he said. “Individually, we all have gotten better, and personally, I think I’m the best I’ve been in my life.”

He felt the biggest improvement he made during the off-season was his strength.

“I’ve put on a lot of muscle this summer, and I think that’s going to allow me to be more effective on the court, being able to come off ball screens cleaner and taking bumps better,” he said.”My all-around game is going to improve this year.”

Kaputo said living with the team helped improve their bond.

“Most of the guys lived with one another over the summer and we’ve been around each other every single day,” he said. “The only time we’re not with each other is when we go to sleep.  Most of us live in the townhouses as well, so off that strength alone, the chemistry on the team is going to keep building throughout the season.  It’s like a brotherhood being on this team, and you’re going to see that carry onto the court when we’re out there balling and having fun with each other.”

This brotherhood the team has with each other carries over into Kaputo’s relationships with some of his fellow guards and forwards. He told me about how him, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley have been in that position of learning from the veterans and how they taught him some things as well.

He is glad that, as a junior this season, he is able to follow in the footsteps as a mentor for some of the younger guys.

“As upperclassmen on this team, that’s the position that Matt, Jaylen and I are in with the younger guys,” Kaputo said.  “We are able to teach them how to understand the system and how to compete at this level, just like the veteran guys, who were in our shoes at one point before, taught us. We understood what it took to be good before and what it takes for us to get where we want to be.”

Kaputo shows a lot of praise for the system Coach Schmidt imparts to his players, but he went over with me how the team could have done better with the system.

“Our struggle last year was figuring out how to play with each other within the system, not the system itself,” said Kaputo.  “I love the system. It’s just a matter of getting to know the guys better and know how we play.  Having a lot of returners from last year should help us with that. Coming into this year, everyone knows their role, and everyone is ready to play.”

While Kaputo shows his admiration for the system, he also shows it towards his head coach.  He told me that Mark Schmidt is a great guy and coach, who is adept to the “open door policy” with his players, knows how to “install the winning mentality into his players” so they win games and gets him playing his best.

“He’s put me in a position to be successful time and time again,” he said.  “There have been times in my career where I haven’t followed through in that position, but he tells me what I need to do to get back on the court. As a player, you want a coach that brings out the best in you, and that’s what he does.”

According to Kaputo, it sounds like Coach Mark Schmidt has command of the locker room and the support of his players to be able to lead his team to new heights this season.

“The whole team has that same picture in mind: the NCAA Tournament, and we’ve been working like it,” said Kaputo.  “I think you guys are in for quite a season.”

 

 

Bonnies look to continue home opener winning tradition, despite questions

By Mike Hogan

As the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro, one of St. Bonaventure’s most accomplished journalism graduates, stated in his article on the Bona Blog — it’s the season Bonnies Fans have been awaiting for a very long time.

The journey starts tonight in the Reilly Center at 8 p.m. against longtime rival Niagara.

Preparing To win (possibly) without Adams

One of the biggest storylines that has gotten a lot of attention this week is whether or not Jaylen Adams will play tonight vs Niagara. Adams is questionable  with an ankle injury that he sustained during the exhibition match-up against Niagara last Saturday.

Adams did not practice all week and sources say he’s been spotted on crutches, likely ruling him out for tonight.

If Adams can’t go, Junior guard Nelson Kaputo will likely get the start.

Last year, after not playing the first nine games for academic reasons, Kaputo averaged 2.0 points and 0.8 assists per game. Against Fordham last year he played 36 minutes and dished out six assists for the Bonnies. His highest scoring total came against George Mason, where he played 20 minutes and scored 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Can History Repeat Itself?

The Bonnies have won their last six meetings with Niagara dating back to 2011, including last year’s game in Buffalo where the Bonnies came away with a 79-69 victory. Tonight marks the 158th meeting between the two big 4 rivals, with the Bonnies currently leading the series by an overwhelming 88 wins to 69 losses, and the margin only gets bigger at the RC where the Bonnies hold a 53-18 record vs Niagara.

Stacking up the Squads

This year’s team brings a lot of experience to the table as the team is returning four starters and seven letter winners. While Adams is questionable for tonight, Matt Mobley will still be there to pick up the slack as the two are known to be one of the best back-court tandems in the country. The lineup will also feature other strong role players such as Idris Taqqee, Josh Ayeni, LaDarien Griffin, Nelson Kaputo, Courtney Stockard, and Amadi Ikpeze. New additions like Izaiah Brockington, Tshiefu Ngalakulondi, and Ndene Gueye will also be mixed into the action.

Niagara brings experience to the table, as the team returns all five of its leading scorers from last year’s team which finished at 10-23. While last year’s results were not desirable Niagara is also primed to have a pretty solid year as they were picked to finish in the top five of the MAAC. The guys to key on for Niagara are Matt Scott who was named to the all-preseason MAAC first-team, and senior guard Kahlil Dukes who earned second team honors. Scott lead the team in scoring, rebounding, and steals last season, while Dukes was 11th in the MAAC in scoring and hit 92% of his shots from the line.

 

Keys for victory and prediction:

 

Obviously, if Adams is indeed ruled out for this game, other guys will have to chip in and take the pressure off of Mobley. Look for guys like Stockard (who scored 20 points in last week’s exhibition), and Idris Taqqee to step up and take the scoring load off of Mobley. Overall, even without Adams, this is a game the Bonnies should be able to handle. Look for Niagara to come in and play aggressive with nothing to lose. Niagara didn’t finish well last year, but they did put up a fight against the Bonnies, and they certainly aren’t a pushover.

Coach Fleming and crew take on rival Niagara in first test

By Isaiah Blakely

St. Bonaventure women’s basketball opens the season by playing host against Niagara University as the Bonnies look to bounce back from its 9-20 campaign last year.

Niagara, coached by Jada Pierce, finished 8-22 last season. In the last meeting however, Niagara came out victorious at home 65-43 for the first time since 2006 leaving Bonaventure with a 36-24 series lead.

Second-year coach Jesse Fleming has four new players along with five returners lead by Atlantic 10 preseason All-Conference second team selection Mariah Ruff. Ruff averaged 13.9 points, 4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season.

Also headlining the offense is fellow captain Mckenna Maycock, who only started six games last season but was second on the team in minutes. Maycock averaged 7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Sophomore point guard Jalisha Terry will look for a larger impact this season after she led Bonaventure with 18 points in their scrimmage against Edinboro. Terry averaged 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2 assists last season.

Junior college transfer forwards Arielle Harvey and Bree Paulson are about to play their first official game for Bonaventure, while freshman Emily Calabrese looks to get action immediately after starting against Edinboro in an exhibition last Saturday.

With these new players Fleming mentioned the need “to speed up the chemistry curve.” “He was hoping that in the non-conference to have some games that really test us.” Fleming also wanted to “have games that we have a chance to win and we can just grow and learn”.

“These games are a learning experience,” Fleming said. “We need to use these so we’re hitting on all cylinders once A-10 play starts”.

Niagara is the first test and the Purple Eagles are returning three of their top scorers and nine players overall from last season led by redshirt-senior forward Victoria Rampado who lead the MAAC conference in points and was fourth in rebounds averaged 16.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. Rampado finished All-MAAC Second Team last season. Rampado lead the Purple Eagles to the victory over Bonaventure last season scoring 17 points. The 2017 MAAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll ranked the Purple Eagles to finish ninth in the conference.

St. Bonaventure was selected 12th in the Atlantic 10 preseason coaches poll.

St. Bonaventure is 25-4 against Niagara at home and will look to keep up that impressive record on Friday, at 5 p.m. at Reilly Center.