By: Jeff Uveino
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Canisius Griffins, 70-55, Wednesday night at the Reilly Center.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Bonnies used a 16-1 run late in the first half to pull away from the Griffins.
SBU had four players reach double-digit scoring, but the most significant contribution came with the return of senior forward Courtney Stockard.
Stockard, a preseason all-conference selection, made his season debut after missing six games due to offseason surgery.
After checking in during the under-12-minute media timeout in the first half, Stockard missed a three-point jumper and committed an offensive foul before finding his groove.
Then, with 7:47 remaining in the first half, he briefly took over the game.
Stockard completed a three-point play on the offensive end, then banged home a three-point jumper on the next Bonnies possession.
He then stole a Takal Molson pass and took the ball down the floor for a fast break layup—and the foul. He completed another three-point play on the ensuing possession, giving him 9 points in a mere 51 seconds of clock time.
“I wanted to take my time and let the game come to me,” Stockard said. “It’s been about six months since I’ve been in a real game, so I expected to be a little rusty coming back. But getting back in a game like this and helping the team to a win is big for us.”
Stockard finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.
Freshman forward Osun Osunniyi also had a big night for the Bonnies, scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. He also had four blocks on the night.
“We knew we had to come together and play harder than Canisius,” said Osunniyi. “It wasn’t a perfect game, but we did what we had to do to get the win.”
Osunniyi played 28 minutes off the bench for the Bonnies, including 17 in the second half. Coach Mark Schmidt talked about how Osunniyi’s play around the basket can be a game changer for St. Bonaventure.
“Good offenses always go from inside out,” said Schmidt, “and when (Osunniyi) can get baskets in the paint it really helps the offense. If we can have Osun do what he did today on a consistent basis, it helps some of our other guys feed the post and shrink the defense.”
For Canisius, senior guard Jonathan Sanks led the way with 12 points and sophomore guard Takal Molson scored 10 points.
Junior guard Malik Johnson had nine points and eight rebounds, and led the Griffins with nearly 36 minutes on the court.
Other Bonnies scoring in double figures were freshman guard Kyle Lofton with 13 points and senior guard Nelson Kaputo with 12 points.
Coach Schmidt said he was impressed by his team’s effort.
“We did a good job defending the three, we out-rebounded them by 10 and we handled the ball well for the most part,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully it’s something we can build off of.”
The Bonnies continue a four-game homestand with a Saturday afternoon game against the Delaware St. Hornets on Dec. 1.
Picture Courtesy: Craig Melvin/SBU Sports Information