Francis looks to make a name for herself at St. Bonaventure

By: Justin Myers 

Deja Francis is one of the five newest additions to the Bonnies and one of the three freshmen.

Francis being able to fill a role the Bonnies needed was one of the main reasons she came to St. Bonaventure.

“I choose St. Bonaventure because it was the right fit for me. As you know their point guard left and I was coming in as the point guard,” said Francis.

She looks to replace former Bonnie and current Oakland guard Jalisha Terry.

The 5’7 guard comes from Queens, New York where she played for Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers. While at Murry Bergtraum she averaged 15 points, six rebounds and two assists per game. She also earned the Rose Classic Academic Award and was a Rose Classic All-Star selection. She had the best free throw shooting percentage in PSAL play and was named “She Got Game” Most Valuable Player.

Former Bonaventure players CeCe Dixon, Doris Ortega, and Armelia Horton also went to Murry Bergtraum. Francis looks to continue the long tradition of Bonaventure players hailing from Bergtraum.

She looks to bring a pass first mentality to Bonnies this year.

“I’m the point guard so I pass first, and I see everything on the floor,” said Francis.

Francis admits the transition from high school to college has been difficult, but it is something she tries to get better at every day.

“It’s been a rough transition, it’s been a lot to remember with all the plays, but I just have to get used to it,” said Francis.

Through this adjustment period she has already taken advice from upperclassmen.

“Be on time, and to take things more seriously,” said Francis.

With the help of her upperclassman Francis is also learning how to be a leader.

“Learning how to be a leader because I’m the point guard. I’m calling all the plays and making sure everyone is in the right spot, so everything runs through me,” said Francis.

As she learns to be a leader Francis has big goals for the Bonnies and herself this season.

“Hopefully we can go as far as we can. It’s my freshman year, so I don’t know what to expect. For myself I hope to make a name for myself in the A-10 and at St. Bonaventure,” said Francis.

Francis gets a chance to make a name for herself as the Bonnies play the University of Georgia Friday night.

 

 

Picture Courtesy: GoBonnies

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Bonnies defense dominates to get their first win of the season

By: Justin Myers

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies bounce back after losing their season opener to the Bucknell Bison Wednesday night to defeat the Jackson State Tigers 67-36.

Bonnies junior guard Jalen Poyser led all scorers with 23 points including four three pointers. The Tigers were led by junior guard Venije Wallis with 14 points.

The Bonnies came out aggressive in the first two minutes of the game getting an early 7-0 lead on the Tigers.

Poyser got the Bonnies going early. Poyser hit two three pointers that gave the Bonnies a 14-5 lead.

The Tigers would fight back into the game as Jontrell Walker hit a three-pointer making the score 19-14. This would be the closest the Tigers would be for the rest of the game.

The Bonnies would bring the lead back to double digits as senior guard Nelson Kaputo and freshman guard Dom Welch hit back to back three pointers to make the lead 25-14.

Freshman Kyle Lofton, who led the Bonnies first half scorers with eight points, made a layup with 1:25 to go put the Bonnies up 33-18. The Bonnies would go into halftime with a 34-21 lead.

The Bonnies started the second half with an and one layup from Poyser and a layup from Lofton which would give the Bonnies a 39-25 lead. Lofton and Poyser combined for 39 points.

Both teams went stretches in the second half without scoring. The Bonnies were still up big, 46-30.

In the second half they relied more on the defensive side of the ball holding the Tigers to 17% shooting from the field and 13% from three-point range. Freshman center Osun Osunniyi was a major part of this defensive stand as he recorded six of his seven blocks in the second half.

The Bonnies held an opponent under 40 points for the first time since 1995 in a 76-32 home victory over Appalachian State on Jan. 7, 1995.

St. Bonaventure earned its first win of the season by limiting Jackson State to 15 points in the second half, pulling away after the visitors pulled within nine points.

Coach Mark Schmidt talked about what he thought about the team performance.

“I thought it was a good bounce-back game for us. We challenged them. I thought our guys really responded. Osun Osunniyi didn’t score a basket and Alpha Okoli didn’t score a basket, but they had such an impact on (the game) from a defensive standpoint,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt added, “We have to play hard. A coach a long time ago told me that the game of basketball is 10 percent X’s and O’s and 90 percent how hard you’re going to play. I thought we played really hard today. That was one of the main reasons we won.”

St. Bonaventure will travel to Niagara on Monday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.

Osunniyi finds home at Bonaventure

By: Jeff Uveino 

Osun Osunniyi was offered a scholarship to play basketball for NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing at Georgetown University. He was also offered a scholarship by Jim Boeheim to play at Syracuse University.

But instead, the 6-10 forward from Pleasantville, New Jersey, chose to attend St. Bonaventure University and play for head coach Mark Schmidt.

“I felt the most at home here,” Osunniyi said. “It felt like a home away from home.”

Osunniyi attended Mainland high school in Linwood, New Jersey. After high school, he attended Putnam Science Academy prep school in Connecticut, where he led his team to a national prep championship in 2018 and averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds per game.

“Coming out of southern New Jersey, I didn’t play against a lot of Division I-caliber athletes in high school,” Osunniyi said. “Going to prep school got me used to the pace of college play and the length of the season.”

Putnam played 42 games during the 2018 season in which Osunniyi was there. He talked about how prep school physically prepared him to play at the next level.

“I got to play against big guys who were stronger than me, which gave me a taste of what it would be like when I came here as a freshman,” he said.

Osunniyi had originally committed to La Salle University, but as he explained, La Salle parted ways with its head coach during his year at prep school. He decided to re-open his recruitment.

“I talked to my parents and decided I wanted to look for other options,” Osunniyi said. “Bonaventure was one of the schools that called.”

Kyle Lofton, a teammate of Osunniyi at Putnam, had already committed to St. Bonaventure when this happened and saw an opportunity to bring his teammate to college with him.

“My friend (Kyle) who had already committed started recruiting me right away,” Osunniyi said. “So, I came for a visit and I loved it.”

Osunniyi saw 15 minutes of playing time in St. Bonaventure’s season opener vs Bucknell. He had 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks before fouling out in the second half.

Osunniyi hopes to bring hard work to the team and be a presence around the rim.

“I want to help this team win games as much as I can,” he said. “I like the guys, and we’re all trying to make each other better every day. I’m confident that if we work together, we can do a lot of things.”

St. Bonaventure continues its 2018-19 season on Nov. 10 with a home game vs Jackson St.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture courtesy:Courtesy:Craig Melvin/SBU Sports Information

Bucknell comeback spoils Bonnies’ home opener

By: Isaiah Blakely 

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies lost their season opener Wednesday night 88-85 to the Bucknell Bison in the Reilly Center.

Bucknell senior guard Kimbal Mackenzie led all scorers with 28 points including four three-pointers. The Bonnies were led by freshman guard Kyle Lofton who had 18 points.

The opening minutes of this game were sloppy. Both teams combined for five turnovers in the first two and a half minutes.

Bison senior forward and Cameron County native Nate Sestina had a large support section at this game and he got the Bison going early.  Sestina hit a three pointer that sparked an 8-3 run by Bucknell giving Bucknell an early 11-6 lead.

The Bonnies bench came in and sparked a run of their own. Freshman big man Osun Osunniyi a minute into his debut blocked Sestina twice on the same possession. Four straight points by Osunniyi made it a two-point game before senior guard Nelson Kaputo scored an and-one layup. Kaputo’s free throw gave the Bonnies their first lead of the game 17-16. Kaputo ended with 10 points off the bench.

Freshman Dom Welch led the Bonnies first half scorers with eight points, and his layup with 2:58 to go put the Bonnies up 30-21. The Bonnies had five scorers in double figures including Welch who had 10 points.

Sestina who had 15 points and 16 rebounds led a 9-2 run to close the gap 32-31. Sophomore forward Tshiefu Ngalakulondi answered the Bison run with one of his two three pointers to give the Bonnies a 35-31 lead at halftime.

Bonnies started the second half fast. The Bonnies went on a 17-5 run to start the half. This run included a Kaputo three-pointer to push the lead to double digits and a junior Jalen Poyser scored two of his 13 points to put the Bonnies up 52-39 forcing Bucknell to call a timeout with 12:13 to go.

Bucknell sophomore Paul Newman kept the Bison in it by scoring nine straight points and cut the Bonnies lead to seven 55-48. Newman had 10 points off the bench.

Newman checked out and Mackenzie picked up where Newman left off. Mackenzie scores nine of the Bucknell’s next 12 points to trim Bonnies lead to 67-63.

Bonnies senior LaDarien Griffin had a big second half going back and forth with Mackenzie. Griffin hit back to back jumpers to push the Bonnies lead back up to seven with two and a half minutes to go.

Down the stretch a turnover by Lofton leads to junior Avi Toomer to score two of his nine points to tie the game at 71.

Bonnies had a chance to take the lead but Poyser turned the ball over and gave the Bison one more opportunity. Mackenzie’s jump shot rimed out as time expired and this game was going to overtime.

In the extra period Griffin got called for a foul and was injured on the play. Griffin exited the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds. This injury left the Bonnies with very few big man options because junior Amadi Ikpeze and Osunniyi fouled out with six points and eight points respectively.

After the injury junior Bruce Moore hit back to back shots scoring five of his nine points in overtime and putting the Bison up 77-74 with three minutes to go.

The teams go back and forth with scoring but after a Welch missed three-pointer, Mackenzie out of a timeout scored a layup to put the Bison up 83-78 with 19 seconds left.

The Bonnies had two chances at a tie. After a missed free throw by Bucknell Lofton gets fouled on a three pointer and his shot rimmed out. He made all three free throws. With three seconds left after Mackenzie made two free throws, Poyser got a shot up but it missed, and the Bison escaped with the win.

Coach Mark Schmidt talked about what he thought about the team performance.

“We didn’t quit. We have a young team,” said Schmidt. “We were going through some injuries during the game. But we have to get better in those situations, whether they’re freshmen or seniors. We need to be able to take that game and win it.”

Bonnies are going to try and take their next game at home Saturday against Jackson State.

 

Picture courtesy: Craig Melvin/SBU Sports Information

Griffin brings experience and versatility to young Bonnies team

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Senior LaDarien Griffin’s St. Bonaventure career started with him averaging 0.5 points per game freshmen year. Now Griffin is the reigning A-10 co-Most Improved player of the year and is looking to carry that momentum into his senior season.

Head coach Mark Schmidt had high praise for Griffin.

“He epitomizes what we try to do at Bonaventure,” said Schmidt. “He came up as a freshman didn’t get any playing time. Most guys especially in today’s environment, they leave… He knew he wasn’t ready yet and he kept on working,” said Schmidt.

Griffin described his first three years at St. Bonaventure as “amazing”. Griffin added that there were, “A lot of ups and downs. A lot of growth on and off the court. It’s just been an amazing experience.”

Griffin averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season helping the Bonnies reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team is a much younger team and is no longer led by Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. The Bonnies are projected to finish 9th in the conference this season which is much lower than their projection last season. Griffin talked about his expectations, and that the only thing that is different is the outside noise is a little easier to handle.

“They always felt the same to me I don’t really listen to other people’s expectations. I kind of go off my own and set my own highs regardless of who’s on the court with me,” said Griffin.

Griffin is looking to help the Bonnies achieve similar success to last season.

“Try to win as many games as possible. Try to get top seed in the A-10 and try to get to the tournament again,” said Griffin. “I feel like that’s everybody’s goal regardless of veteran team or young team. That’s the goal when you come into every season, so you got to work like it,” said Griffin.

Griffin spoke about what the Bonnies have to do to give themselves a chance of reaching their goal of going back to the NCAA tournament.

“Going in with the urgency. You kind of understand what it takes to get a little bit of success and just carry it on to the rest of your life and the game. And I think the urgency is the most important thing,” said Griffin.

Griffin strives to continue to help this team and he talked about what he worked on over the summer to make himself more versatile.

“Shooting. Just trying to get stronger being more versatile. I think that’s the biggest thing probably my versatility to help this team, “said Griffin.

Schmidt talked about Griffin’s versatility.

“He’s shooting the ball better now. We can do a lot of picking and popping with him now. He’s a legitimate four man,” said Schmidt. “But we can also go small like we did last year a lot. He’s long enough to be able to guard that, and he’s stronger then he appears and now we can run some ball screen stuff with him being a five man. That’s hard to guard”

Schmidt also talked about Griffin’s personality as a leader.

“He’s got that personality that he doesn’t think he’s better than anybody. He’s humble,” said Schmidt.

The Jacksonville, Florida native spoke about what it’s been like as a senior leader.

“You can’t have a lot of mistakes,” said Griffin. “You got to try to be perfect, try to do things the right way all the time. For me it’s just being more of a leader to these young guys and show them what we have to do.”

Griffin also spoke about what he wants to be remembered for when his four years are done, and it had little to do with basketball.

“With nothing I did on the court. Probably just that I was able to help other people, bring joy to others just remember me as a person as a student instead of not just the basketball player,” said Griffin.

The senior forward begins solidifying his legacy Wednesday night against the Bucknell Bisons in the Reilly Center.

Migliore ready to help Bonnies bounce back

By: Teddy Caputo

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies women’s basketball team finished the season last year with a record of 8-22, including 5-9 in non-conference play and 3-13 in conference play. Junior Danielle Migliore was one of the most improved players in the A-10 last season, and she’s looking to help the Bonnies turn things around this year.

Even though the team struggled last year, Migliore, a Frankfort, New York native, had a breakout season.  In her freshman year, she played in 20 games and averaged 1.7 points per game, one rebound per game and eight minutes per game.  In her sophomore year, she started in 29 of their 30 games and averaged 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 32 minutes per game. Migliore had the second-best increase in scoring average year-to-year of any A-10 player.

Danielle Migliore talked about her success last year and how it can help her prepare for this year.

“It helps me knowing how much work I put in last year,” said Migliore.  “If I want to continue staying consistent, then I got to keep putting in the work that I did offseason of freshman year going into my sophomore year.  Knowing that hard work does pay off sticks in my head.”

Migliore talked about how she has prepared for the season.

“Since I knew that I could be successful, I’ve continued working on being consistent, whether that is going to the gym more than the year before or speeding up my foot work and shot.  Hopefully that helps,” said Migliore.

Migliore is looking for more success from herself and the team this season. Migliore talked about what she thought the team could have done better last season.

“Our chemistry was always there, but we didn’t know how to handle the game when we were ahead,” said Migliore.  “We’ve been used to playing and winning games while we were down for most of the game.  But, when we were ahead for most of the game, we would always let a team get back into the game.  We didn’t know how to finish games and didn’t handle the pressure well.”

Migliore also spoke about what she likes about the team this year and what the offseason was like.

“We’re a more loose team and we like to have fun, and that’s when we play good,” said Migliore.  “Compared to last year, we didn’t play like we were enjoying it as much.”

The Bonnies did lose some key players from last year’s team such as sophomore guards Jalisha Terry and Rhianna Council, but they also added five new players to the roster.  When talking about the new players on the team, Migliore spoke highly of them.

“I think the younger girls have become more used to what we do here,” said Migliore.  “They’re always on time for things, we always play together and run through the offense and defense repetitively, so it gives us greater team chemistry now.”

Migliore continued, “My role for the younger girls is to lead by example.  I’m not the type to constantly get on their case and tell them to do ‘this, this and this’, but I could be in the gym or practicing my jump shot and they could look up to that.”

Migliore joins teammate senior guard Mckenna Maycock, as the most experienced players on the team this year.

In the women’s exhibition game on Friday, Nov., 2 2018 against Alfred University, Danielle Migliore scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting coming off the bench, also adding six rebounds and two assists in an 88-43 victory.  Migliore and the Bonnies play in their first regular season game of the season on the road against long-time rival Niagara University on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Three takeaways from the St. Bonaventure vs Alfred

By: Jeff Uveino

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team rolled over the Alfred Saxons 90-42 in an exhibition game at the Reilly Center. Here’s three takeaways from the game:

  1. The freshman class could be good. Scary good.

The Bonnies had three freshmen score in double figures. Alpha Okoli led the way with 20 points, including shooting four-of-five from three-point range. Kyle Lofton scored 15 points and Dom Welch had 12. All three showed their playmaking ability, the highlight of which came on a thunderous Welch dunk late in the second half. But perhaps the freshman who impressed me the most was 6-10 forward Osun Osunniyi. He’s long, athletic and physical, and showed that he could be a major presence around the rim. Osunniyi had two blocks and four rebounds to go along with five points.

  1. Who will be the star?

The Bonnies got contributions from up and down their roster, but there wasn’t a player that stood out. No one looked like the “star,” or the type of player who could take over a game. This year’s Bonnies are probably already getting sick of being compared to Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, but those two were able to take over games last year, a part of the identity that this year’s team will need to find. Perhaps when Courtney Stockard returns, he can be that type of player for the Bonnies, but that may not happen for another month.

  1. Fifty-point win! (against a Division III team)

Yes, the Bonnies won by 48 points. They dominated on both ends of the floor. However, the teams they’re going to be playing during the regular season are going to be of a much different caliber than Alfred. The Bonnies were a mismatch for the Saxons physically and talent-wise, and for most of the night, they ran circles around them. Amadi Ikpeze dominated around the rim early in the game but was at least three or four inches taller than anyone in an Alfred jersey. It will be interesting to see how the Bonnies perform against some real competition.

 

St. Bonaventure will open regular season play on Nov. 7 at home against Bucknell.

 

Oliver’s time in junior college prepared her for SBU

By: Jeff Uveino 

Amanda Oliver is one of five players entering her first year with the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball program. But the junior forward is no stranger to competing at the collegiate level.

Oliver, a 6-1 forward from Orlando, Florida, she played two seasons at Florida Southwestern Community College before transferring to SBU.

She averaged six points per game and eight rebounds per game her sophomore year at Florida Southwestern, and was a two-time all-conference selection. She hopes to bring what she learned in junior college to the Atlantic 10.

“It will help me in the long run,” Oliver said. “I just had so much skill work to work on, as well as the mental aspect of the game.”

Oliver played in 63 games at FSCC, starting 57 of them. The mental and physical experience that she got, Oliver said, will help her game going forward.

“It pushed me beyond a mental point where I didn’t think I could go,” she said. “Having those two years is going to help me and motivate me.”

Oliver hopes to bring a defensive presence to a Bonnies team that allowed 69 points per game last season and only scored 63. She averaged 1.7 blocks per game her sophomore year at FSCC.

“I want to bring hustle,” she said. “Anything I can do to help the team or what is needed to win a game. I love defense so that will be a big part of my game.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Oliver will look to be a factor in what she described as the “run-and-gun” type offense the Bonnies will play. With the regular season coming fast, Oliver talked about some of the things head coach Jesse Fleming and the Bonnies have been working on this preseason.

“We’re trying to score quickly in possessions with layups and transition threes,” Oliver said. “We have a lot of set plays ready so I think we’ll be prepared.”

St. Bonaventure opens regular season play on the road. They travel to play rival Niagara University on Nov. 6.