Bonnies fall short to Vermont for second straight year

photo by Erin Lanahan/The Intrepid

By Matt Stasiw

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — With the amazing crowd presence in the Reilly Center on Friday night, every fan could already tell that a rematch between the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team and Vermont would be a battle until the end. 

The Bonnies have played Vermont each of the last three years in exciting non-conference duels.

This year, Vermont was too much for the Bonnies, as the Catamounts edged SBU, 61-59.

A year ago, then-junior Anthony Lamb, who averaged 21 points per game for the Catamounts, scored 41 against the Bonnies. 

On Friday night, Bona’s original game plan seemed to be any possible way to keep Lamb out of the picture. 

The Bonnies started of playing extremely hard with Amadi Ikpeze winning the tip off right away for the Bonnies and scoring the first basket just 29 Seconds into the game. 

Ikepeze proved to be the biggest offensive threat for the Bonnies, scoring 11 points and shooting 5-of-9 on field goals for the game. 

Unnecessary fouls, however, seemed to hold the Bonnies back early, with eight team fouls in the first nine minutes of play. 

Despite these early mistakes, the Bonnies, after being down 14-10 with 11:08 left, went on a 10-0 run in four minutes, capping it when a crazy basket by Bobby Plantutis that still managed to go in. 

Vermont answered right back, going on a 14-4 run to close out the first half, giving them a 28-24 lead heading into the locker room. 

The Bonnies held Anthony Lamb to just 9 points in the first half, keeping their game plan and motivation high going into the second half. 

Bobby Planutis scored the first points 30 seconds into the second half. 

The game kept roaring back and forth with the Bonnies finally going up 40-39 with 11:07 left in the game. 

However, the game plan seemed to fall apart when the Catamounts went on a 12-0 run over four minutes.

Then, an unlikely source of motivation led the Bonnies to come charging back into the game. 

Freshman Justin Winston used his aggressive play to snatch defensive rebounds and get to the line. 

Winston, who had 10 points on the night, helped the Bonnies to bring the deficit within five points, trailing 56-51 with 3:36 left to play. 

The Bonnies had many chances to come back, but unfortunately some late fouls and poor shooting held their efforts short, shooting 4-of-27 from three-point range for the game.  

“I thought we played extremely hard,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said. “If somebody told me that Anthony Lamb was going to score 15 points and go 0-for-7 from threes, I would have thought that we would’ve won.”

“We got to plat smarter and knock down shots,” Schmidt said when asked what his team’s biggest struggles were during the game. 

The Bonnies hope to improve to 1-2 on the season next Tuesday, as they travel to Siena for their first road contest of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

Bona women fall to Akron, 63-54

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Keara Donnelly

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. —  The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team (1-2) started strong, but fell short to the Akron Zips (1-0), 63-54, after a disappointing second half at the Reilly Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Bonnies led the Zips by nine points at half time, but only scored 15 points in the second half. 

The Zips outscored the Bonnies with 33 points in the second half, and went on a 20-4 run to secure the victory.  

The Bonnies had led for over 38 minutes of the game.  

Deja Francis led the Bonnies with 13 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Olivia Tucker shot 3-4 from the three-point line and had 11 points off the bench.  

Dajah Logan and Jurnee President each had nine points for the Bonnies.  

Akron’s Shaunay Edmonds scored 20 points and was 6-14 from the field. She scored nine of those points and seven steals in the second half alone.  

Edmonds forced turnovers from Bona guards Francis and Olivia Brown, which led to easy transition baskets for the Zips.  

The Zips secured 18 points off of turnovers and 24 points off of fast breaks.  

The Bonnies executed well in the first half, connecting on their first six shot attempts as part of a 10-0 run in the first quarter. Akron grabbed its first lead of the game in the second quarter, 22-21.  

In the fourth quarter, the Bonnies froze to only shoot 1-for-13 from the field. 

“We did some really good things for a lot of the game and it just folded like a tent in the fourth quarter,Bonnies head coach Jessie Fleming said.  

The Bonnies shot 36.5% from the field, while the Zips shot 31.6% from the field. Akron drew 21 fouls and shot 80% from the free throw line.  

“I was happy with threes not going down and still being in the game, where we didn’t have to rely on it,” Fleming said. “We should have been living at the foul line today and we were just taking the shots that were given to us today. Great to see that we have the ability to hit 11 threes.” 

It was a close match up, but pour defense in the fourth quarter and missed shots secured the Zips victory.  

“(Akron is) a team that been playing together for a while now,” Fleming said. “I’m not sitting here being negative about this loss. We are a young team that has two sophomores in the starting lineup and two freshmen playing a lot of minutes.  

My message to the team in the locker room was to use this as a learning experience and to continue moving forward.” 

 Now, Bonnies will hit the road for the first time of the season.  

The team will play the defending Patriot League champion Bucknell Bisons at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Game notes: Bonnies host Vermont, hope to slow down Lamb

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE — Two seasons ago, in his hometown of Rochester, New York, Anthony Lamb did almost everything to beat St. Bonaventure.

At Blue Cross Arena, the then-sophomore scored 27 points for the Vermont men’s basketball team, and if it hadn’t been for a Matt Mobley buzzer beater, the Catamounts would have won.

Last December, Lamb went for 42 points in Vermont’s double-overtime win against the Bonnies at home.

Now, the teams will meet for the third year in a row, as they play Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Reilly Center.

Bona head coach Mark Schmidt knows that if his team is going to earn its first win of the season, it’s going to have to slow down Lamb.

“I’m not sure if we have an answer,” Schmidt said on Thursday. “He can shoot the ball from the perimeter, post up, and he presents a lot of problems. I guess we hope he misses.”

Schmidt pointed out the fact that Lamb has averaged nearly 35 points per game against the Bonnies the last two years.

“There’s a couple different ways we can go about (stopping Lamb),” Schmidt said. “We can let him go and try to stop the other guys, or try to stop him and put it on their other players to make baskets.

“He can’t score 42 again, so whatever we need to do, hopefully we can do a better job than last year.”

After playing two preseason exhibitions, this will be Vermont’s first regular season game of the year.

Lamb did not play in the first exhibition vs. Brown, and played just five minutes in the second, against Saint Michael’s College.

A season ago, the Catamounts went 27-7 and were America East conference champions, earning a trip to the NCAA tournament.

As a No. 13 seed, Vermont was edged by No. 4 Florida State in the first round of the tournament, 76-69.

“They’re a good team and a veteran team,” Schmidt said. “We knew when we set up the schedule that they have a great program. I’m glad we’re playing at home, but it’s going to be difficult and we need to play our best to have a chance.”

Another Vermont player to watch is junior guard Stef Smith, who averaged 12.4 points per game and scored 21 points against the Bonnies a year ago.

The Bonnies will be without sophomore forward Osun Osunniyi, a preseason all-conference selection.

Osunniyi suffered a bone bruise in his knee in SBU’s season-opening loss to Ohio, and it was reported that he could miss up to a month.

Schmidt said that while losing a player of Osunniyi’s caliber is never good, it gives another player a chance.

“We stress it all the time, that you never know when your name is going to get called,” Schmidt said. “Someone’s name is going to get called tomorrow, and hopefully they’re ready and can take advantage of the opportunity.”

SBU is searching for its first win of the season, after losing to Ohio, 65-53, on Tuesday night.

This is only the fourth-ever meeting between the two programs, as they first met in 2015.

 

Bona women come back to beat Niagara in OT

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

ST. BONAVENTURE — Any basketball game that ends in a victory is something to be proud of, no matter how the game went.

That was what head coach Jesse Fleming had to say about the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball game on Thursday. 

“I don’t care if we win ugly, but it’s my job to clean it up after and get us better, said Fleming. 

Bonaventure won the contest, 71-67, in an overtime brawl at home against Niagara. 

The Bonnies started the game off hot with seven unanswered points, forcing Niagara to call a timeout early. 

The defense of St. Bonaventure would prove to be a problem for Niagara throughout the first quarter. 

Niagara would eventually find their way back into the game, but Bonaventure would lead at the end of the first quarter, 15-11. 

In the second quarter, Niagara began making many shots from deep. Niagara shot 311 from three in the first half, while the Bonnies shot a lackluster 1-10. 

Niagara would take the lead from St. Bonaventure with two minutes left in the first half and keep it heading into halftime, leaving the score 31-30 Niagara. 

This third quarter would not be one St. Bonaventure will want to remember. Niagara started the second half red hot from three-point range, nailing three in the first four minutes. 

The Bonnies would also pick up their fifth team foul with five minutes left in the quarter, giving Niagara the bonus for nearly half the quarter. 

Fleming spoke on the third quarter and the flaws he saw in the team. 

(I’m) a little frustrated with the middle of the second quarter and third quarter,” he said. “I thought we showed some immaturity. Thought we worried too much about the refs. 

“I’m glad we couldget a win and learn from it, but if we want to be a competitive team in the A10 and accomplish some of our goals, we’ve got to grow up and be able to play through some adversity.” 

At the end of the third, the Bonnies trailed Niagara 57-47. 

While the third quarter was one to forget for St. Bonaventure, the fourth quarter was one to remember. 

With 20 seconds left in the game, the Bonnies found themselves down by two points.  

Off the inbounds, sophomore guard Asianae Johnson drew a foul on the shot and head to the free throw line to shoot two. 

With the game on the line, she nailed both free throws to tie the game at 65.  

Niagara would try for a lastsecond score, but the clock showed zero seconds left with the score still tied. 

“We (shoot free throws) in practice every day,” Johnson said. “In tough moments, coach will put us in difficult situations where we have to take pressure free throws and I just thought of it as practice.” 

The Bonnies edged their way back from down 10 in the fourth quarter, outscoring Niagara 18-8 in that span. 

In overtime, Bonaventure took care of business business.  

Johnson and sophomore guard Deja Francis would each score three points for St. Bonaventure in the extra period. 

Those baskets proved to be enough, as the Bonnies win at home in a hard-fought victory. 

St. Bonaventure’s balanced scoring was something to highlight on the night. Fleming said the team needs that type of contribution to win games. 

“If we’re playing basically six and a half people, then we’re going to need four consistently in double digits, he said. 

The Bonnies will be back in action on Sunday when they host Akron at 1 p.m. 

Lack of shooting dooms Bona women in loss to St. John’s

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Justin Myers

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team’s lack luster shooting performance from three hurt it in its season opener Tuesday night.

The team went 1-12, shooting 8 percent for the game in its 68-56 loss to St. John’s.

Even though they struggled to shoot, sophomore Asianae Johnson was a bright spot for the Bonnies.  She finished with 18 points and four rebounds.

Junior Emily Calabrese contributed with 12 points and seven rebounds, and sophmore Deja Francis had nine points in the game.

Even with the contributions from those three, head coach Jesse Fleming emphasized fixing up the offense.

“I thought we did a decent job of clogging the lane and forcing difficult shots,” he said. “We are starting to get better at taking care of the ball and hopefully the offense will come along. Asianae, Deja and Emily displayed some good things tonight.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to unclog the offense,” he continued. “We’ve got to find some ways to get some better flow, and go from one action to the next action.

As a team, the Bonnies shot 45.5 percent from the floor on 25-of-55 shooting.

St. John’s outscored the Bonnies in bench points, 22-5, and in fast-break points, 21-2.

The Bonnies have a quick turnaround, as they face Little Three rival Niagara in the Reilly Center on Thursday.

Bonnies humbled by Ohio in season opener

photo: Erin Lanahan/The Intrepid

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE — When you lose by 12 points at home, there’s not too many positives to take away from the game.

That’s what Mark Schmidt, head coach of the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, had to say after his team was thrashed in its season opener by the Ohio Bobcats, 65-53, Tuesday night in the Reilly Center.

It was evident that Bona’s offense struggled against Ohio’s zone defense.

Schmidt compared it to Syracuse’s zone, saying it was essentially the same scheme.

“Their zone really affected us,” Schmidt said. “We didn’t attack it well and we weren’t aggressive. I think it was a combination of that, and us missing some shots.”

Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said that he came into the game hoping to keep Bona’s shooters off balance.

“I thought our zone helped win the game tonight,” he said. “They got some good looks and it probably would have been a different game if they hit some of them.”

SBU shot 3-19 from beyond the arc (15.8 percent), and 36.4 percent from the field.

Dom Welch and Kyle Lofton had forgettable games to begin their sophomore seasons.

Welch scored five points, shot 2-12 from the field and 1-8 from three-point range. His only made three was with less than a minute remaining in the game, when the Bonnies were trailing by 16 points.

Lofton, who scored eight points, shot 3-11 from the field and 0-2 from beyond the arc.

“Your better players have to play well, and those guys struggled tonight,” Schmidt said. “We have faith in them, but when they don’t play well it’s hard to score.”

Freshman guard Alejandro Vasquez led the Bonnies in scoring with 12 points.

Vasquez, just the third Bona freshman to start a season opener in the Schmidt era (Jaylen Adams and Lofton), showed that he isn’t afraid to shoot the ball.

He took several good shots, and on other occasions, looked like he was trying to force it.

Vasquez shot 3-11 from the field and 2-7 from three.

Lost in the scenes from the night was an injury to Bonnies sophomore forward Osun Osunniyi.

With 15:49 left in the second half, Osunniyi stayed down on the floor after a play and appeared to be holding his knee.

The preseason all-conference and all-defensive team selection was helped off the floor by the Bona coaching staff, and looked like he was in a lot of pain. Osunniyi finished with six points in 11 minutes.

No additional information on the injury was provided after the game.

In his long-anticipated Bonaventure debut, forward Bobby Planutis scored eight points and pulled down 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards. He threw down an impressive transition dunk in the first half.

For Ohio, the three-headed attack of Jordan Dartis, Ben Vander Plas and Jason Preston was enough to beat the Bona defense.

Dartis led the scoring with 19 points, and shot 7-15 from the field. Vander Plas added 12 points for the Bobcats.

Perhaps the most impressive stat line, however, came from Preston.

The sophomore guard handed out 13 assists to go with 11 points, six rebounds and seven steals.

“(Preston) controlled the game for them,” Schmidt said. “We knew he was a good player and tried to keep him out of the paint, but he just controlled the game.”

Boals said that he was proud of his team for going into a hostile road environment and starting its season on the right foot.

“In order to win a conference championship, you’ve got to win tough games,” Boals said. “This place is as good as any. I’ve been at Duke and I’ve been at Kansas, and this place gets loud.”

For SBU, things don’t get any easier, as they host the defending America East conference champion Vermont Catamounts on Friday night.

“It’s never good to be young, but that’s just the way it is and we need to overcome that,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully this is a wake-up call and hopefully it shows the young guys what Division I basketball is all about.”

 

Welch looks to take the next step

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Dominick Welch had a slow start to his freshman year but found his groove in the second half of the year, and he looks to build on that this season.

Welch averaged 7.5 points per game and 4.4 rebounds in 25 games last season. Welch missed a chunk of the season with a foot injury. Welch’s first seven games he was only averaging 5 points and 2.6 rebounds a game, but his last 18 games he was averaging 8.4 points a game and 5.1 rebounds including in the Atlantic 10 tournament where the Buffalo native averaged 12 points 7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over the three games.

Welch led the team with 43 three pointers made and shot 36 percent from three. Head coach Mark Schmidt wants Welch to continue to develop on the offensive end.

“He’s made unbelievable strides…at times he was our best guy. But he has to take that next step,” said Schmidt. “All he could do was catch and shoot. Now he’s got to take guys off the bounce. His dribble has got to tighten up.”

Welch said that the biggest thing he was looking to add to his game was tighten up his handle as well as improve his overall game. A player Welch likes watching is Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George because he is an all-around two-way player.

Schmidt had high praise for Welch as an overall player already.

“He’s smart. In my 30 years of coaching he’s probably in the top 5 of guys I underestimated,” said Schmidt. “He has a really good feel offensively and defensively. He’s got a lot of pride, and when he doesn’t play well it really affects him and he works at it.”

Schmidt says he’ll be playing multiple positions including the power forward spot when the team plays small ball this year. “We’re expecting him to take that next step and become a really good player,” said Schmidt.

Welch talked about keeping his confidence up through the ups and downs in a season.

“Keeping my confidence,and my confidence is back right now. It was a tough loss last year. But we’re trying to keep that momentum that we have in last year over to this season,” said Welch. “Bring the young guys with us and make sure they have confidence going out there with us.”

Welch mentioned that tough loss in the Atlantic 10 championship to St. Louis, but the goal for this team is to get back to that game.

“Our team goals are to try to get back to the Atlantic 10 championship,” said Welch. “Just try to take it game by game and work hard every day.”

Welch knows the freshmen on this team are going to be important and they need to stay ready.

“There’s spots open every day. It makes you work hard,” said Welch. “We were freshmen coming in playing 40 minutes a game. The opportunities there, we lost two players last year, so the minutes are there.”

Welch begins to help lead the Bonnies tonight at 7:30 against Ohio in the Reilly Center.

Oliver looks to make every second count

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Amanda Oliver is in her second season with the Bonnies and this season she was voted as a captain. She’s looking to end her career with no regrets.

The Orlando, Florida native averaged 2.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29 games including 15 starts last season, but in Bonnies head coach Jesse Fleming’s eyes Oliver was always meant to be a captain.

“I thought when we recruited her that was a big part of what we recruited Amanda for,” said Fleming. “Amanda was about the intangibles Amanda is going to win every loose ball, she’s going to be competitive, she’s going to play hard all the time and that’s why she’s a leader for us.”

Before Oliver arrived at St. Bonaventure, she was a two-time all-conference selection while playing at Florida Southwestern State College. She averaged a team leading 8.4 rebounds her sophomore year.

Oliver has a knack for rebounding and making the hustle plays the Bonnies need, but Oliver said she’s looking to take her game to another level.

“I perfected my jumper and just take my hustle game to the next level and defensive level,” said Oliver.

Coach Fleming wants her to be more effective offensively.

“I want her to be able to score against mismatches in the post,” said Fleming.

The senior says it feels like she has been here for years and has fully embraced what she calls the “Bonnie craze”.

“I feel like I’ve been here for years….Coming in I was taught from the seniors above me, and you just play every game like it’s your last,” said Oliver. “Show that passion that is being a Bonaventure student and a Bonnie.”

Off the court Oliver is a part of campus media. She has had a video series called ‘Around the RC with Amanda Oliver’, and she is a reporter for SBU-TV.

“It’s been a challenge…I never thought I’d done that…It’s been an awesome experience I’ll take with me throughout my life,” said Oliver.

Oliver kicks off her final season Tuesday night against St. Johns at 5 p.m. in the Reilly Center.