PREVIEW: Bona men open regular season at home vs. St. Francis (PA)

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By Tom Doyle

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY—The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team will take the court for the first time this season when it welcomes St. Francis (PA) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Reilly Center, broadcasted on ESPN+.  

The Bonnies are led by a group of juniors in Kyle Lofton, Osun Osunniyi, Jaren Holmes and Dom Welch. These four starters all averaged over 11 points per game last season.  This season, the Bonnies don’t have any seniors, but that shouldn’t faze them. During A-10 play last year, 95% of their scoring came from freshman and sophomores.

The Bonnies added some new talent in the off-season with additions of transfers Anthony Roberts (formerly of Kent State), Eddie Creal (Moberly CC and Western Wyoming CC) and Jalen Shaw (Triton CC).  Roberts could be the biggest contributor of the bunch, and could see some minutes Saturday after averaging 12.7 points per game a season ago. 

St. Francis (PA) has played five games this season, and is 1-4 with its lone win coming against Pittsburgh. The Red Flash also fell to 15th-ranked Virginia, 76-51.  It will be interesting to see how the Bonnies play in their season opener against a team that has played some very tough opponents early.   

The Red Flash are holding opponents to 27% shooting from three-point range, but do not protect the paint well. Osunniyi should be able to match up well and use his size and length to propel the Bonnies offense early.   

St. Francis has an experienced senior guard, averaging 13.5 points per game this year, in Ramiir Dixon-Conover.  He has missed the past three games due to injury.  They have missed his presence on the court, dropping four straight games.  If he can’t play, we shall see if that trend continues at the RC. 

The Red Flash will also look to senior Mark Flagg, a 6’9 forward who tallied 11 points against Pittsburgh.  They are averaging 63 points per game, while giving up 76 per contest.   

This is SBU’s 45th time meeting with the Red Flash, in which the Bonnies have a 32-12 lead.  This will be the first game in the Reilly Center this season, and no fans will be permitted. In addition to being broadcast on ESPN+, the game can be found on the Bonnies radio network.

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