COLUMN: Bona’s loss to SEC foe LSU draws comparisons to 2018 NCAA defeat

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

BLOOMINGTON, IN — Maybe it was the identical margins of defeat.

Maybe it was the nearly identical final scores. Or the conference that the two opponents share.

Whatever it was, when the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team lost to LSU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, my mind could not shake SBU’s 2018 tournament loss to Florida.

Three years ago, the Jaylen Adams-led Bonnies were knocked out in the Round of 64 by Florida, 77-62, in Dallas. They shot 35% from the field and 16% from 3-point range, and fell behind in the first half before failing to assemble a comeback.

On Saturday, on the campus of Indiana University, the Bonnies were bested by LSU, 76-61. They shot 33% from the floor and 15% from distance, and trailed the entirety of the second half after going into halftime down by nine.

Maybe the feeling was justified.

Bona is now 0-3 against Southeastern Conference teams since Kentucky eliminated the Bonnies from the tournament in 2000. That game came down to the last possession, while the two more recent games had been decided long before.

Bona fans maintain optimism until zeros fill the clock. In 2018, that was the case. While the Bonnies had been out-played in the first half, a late-game comeback felt imminent, especially for a team that had won 14 of its last 15 games.

The same feeling filled Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Saturday, as the 500-or-so SBU fans that acquired tickets to the game held out hope that the Bonnies would find some second-half magic.

However, it never happened.

It didn’t in 2018. It didn’t in 2021. Instead of the thrill of a comeback, Bona fans felt the helplessness of the game clock slipping away.

While their playing styles varied, both teams were talented. Adams and Matt Mobley’s group shot the ball as well as any team in the Atlantic 10 (39% from distance), and rarely had as poor of a shooting night as it did against the Gators.

This year’s squad, led by a core of juniors that has grown up in front of the community’s eyes over the last three seasons, didn’t shoot the ball as well as 2018’s team. It did, however, defend as well as almost any team in the country, and its 60.4 points allowed per game was the fifth-best clip in the nation entering the tournament.

A poor shooting night from Kyle Lofton’s Bonnies was less surprising than one from Adams’ Bonnies. However, LSU out-rebounded and out-defended the former, beating SBU at its own game.

Despite the similarities that populate the pair of losses, one glaring difference exists that can’t be found in the box score: one team didn’t get another chance. The other will.

Adams, Mobley and Idris Taquee played the last game of their college careers against Florida. That season, successful enough for Bona to secure its second at-large bid to the tournament in program history, was the culmination of Adams’ four-year career at SBU.

The Bonnies added weapons for Adams along the way, such as Mobley and then-junior Courtney Stockard. It was the group’s best chance at a tournament run. Its only chance, really, after being excluded from the tournament in 2016 and failing to qualify the year after.

However, 2021’s group will get another shot to advance Bona past the Round of 64 for the first time since 1970. There won’t be any tricks or gimmicks involved.

They’re just all underclassmen.

Jaren Holmes, a guard that transferred to the program before the 2019-20 season, acknowledged that opportunity after LSU ended his junior season. While the sting of Saturday’s loss will be felt long after the flight back to Western New York, the Bonnies have the rare opportunity to bring their entire roster back from an NCAA Tournament team.

“To make it with these guys and to make it with these coaches and the year we had, I know for a fact that everybody back in Olean is happy and proud of us,” Holmes said.

Based on the hundreds of people that lined the streets of Olean, Allegany and the university as the Bonnies departed for Dayton ahead of last week’s A-10 championship, Holmes is right.

This season was one of the most important in program history. The Bonnies won the A-10 regular-season and tournament in the same year for the first time ever. They received a single-digit seed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

Perhaps head coach Mark Schmidt will be playing with house money next year. Regardless, Holmes and the Bonnies will be back. He said so himself.

“We’ll be back,” Holmes said. “We’ll be back for sure. That’s all I have to say. We’ll be back. We’re not going to stop working. We’ll be back.”

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

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

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.

Black hero of the day: DJ Kool Herc

By: Akim Hudson 

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

“I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie To the hip hip hop and you don’t stop The rock it to the bang bang boogie Say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat”, classic, historical, and iconic hook by Wonder Mike of the Sugarhill Gang. Hip-Hop, more than music, it is the culture. The concept of hip-hop music has been around approximately forty three years, and has yet to decelerate. The current state of hip-hop has fallen off in the facet of quality, but has reached its zenith as far as popularity goes. Hip-hop is the most popular genre in music, and the man who is credited for creating it, DJ Kool Herc. DJ Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American man who created hip-hop in the South Bronx, NY. The first to create “the break” on a turntable that rocked block parties for b-boys to dance to. Soon, other DJs would learn to scratch, mix, and sample like Herc. Without Herc, we wouldn’t have been blessed with all the culture that hip-hip has brought to the United States and the world (and sense I’m Jamaican, this makes this article that much sweeter).

Black hero of the day: Huey P. Newton

By: Akim Hudson

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

After Malcolm X and Dr. King were both murdered, the black community’s patience and tranquility had exceeded its limits. There was a need for something or someone that the black community could turn to, and The Black Panthers rose to the occasion. Huey P. Newton was the co-creator of this coalition, along with Bobby Seale. While at college, the two met each other and formed the panthers to combat the police brutality and racial discrimination that was prominent in Oakland, California. By the late 60’s, The Black Panther Party rose to its utmost prominence. Gaining affiliation from Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pete O’Neal, and many others. Together they created a wave of black existentialism and reform. Newton was quite the samaritan, providing the black community in Oakland with food, and other necessities.

Newton has had many run-ins with the law, none more important than his incarceration in 1967 for an alleged murder of an Oakland police officer. While serving his voluntary manslaughter charge, “Free Huey” became a popular chant and the many rallies along with the chant heavily influenced his early release in 1970. After being charged for murder in 1974, Newton fled to Cuba. Ultimately I believe the federal government played a role in his demise, but Newton suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction, and poverty before his death in 1989. The feds attempted to paint a bad image of Newton, but in the black community, he will always be a hero and a revolutionary. Peace and prosperity, beloved.

Black hero of the day: Patricia Hill-Collins

By: Akim Hudson

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

Influenced by the great black feminist before her such as Alice Walker, Angela Davis, and Audre Lorde; Collins specializes in inequities of race, class, and gender. Currently a professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Collins served as the 100th President of the American Sociological Association in 2009. She broke out with her monumental article, “Learning from the Outsider Within” in 1989, and Hill-Collins would continue to captivate the minds with her book Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. With an array of books that exhibit the inequity of black women in the United States, Hill-Collins garnered her success. As always, I am grateful to have to opportunity to educate others about these great black revolutionaries. Peace and prosperity, beloved.

Black hero of the day: Dr. Cornel West

By: Akim Hudson

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

Perhaps the most modern hero of my series thus far. Dr. Cornel West is an American philosopher who emphasized race, socioeconomics, and gender in the United States. Dr. West has garnered merit from two of the most prestigious universities in the United States, earning his undergraduate in Philosophy from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Princeton. Of his many books, his most popular book Race Matters was published in 1993. The classic stated that nihilism was one of the biggest problems in Black America. Nihilism is the philosophy in which one believes that there is no meaning to life. Nihilism in the black community translated to drug abuse and violence amongst each other, and mistreatment of each other. Dr. West also calls for more leadership in the black community. Dr. West dubs the void, “the crisis of black leadership”, he proposed the enigma of how the community can possibly find a new Malcolm X, or Dr. King. One of the few modern black revolutionaries, Dr. West’s work is rather provocative and enthralling to me and it has been an honor to be given the opportunity to educate whoever reads this entry. Peace and prosperity, beloved.

Black hero of the day:Gloria Jean Watkins

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.
Gloria Jean Watkins aka “Bell Hooks”, is an author, feminist, professor, and social activist. Though Watkins grew up in an impoverished area, and attended racially segregated schools of Hopkinsville, Kentucky; she naturally gravitated towards literature. Her great grandmother, Bell Hooks, perhaps was the most influential person in Watkins life. Hooks was a fairly candid observer, which bolstered her meticulous effort towards writing. Watkins main motivation to write her first book was the lack of attention and interest white women scholars gave her work and the gender issues by black scholars. Thus, resulting in the release of Ain’t I a Woman : Black Women and Feminism (1981), Watkins’ insightful first major book elaborated on the concept of intersectionality. Intersectionality is a concept that conjugates gender, race, social class, and so forth; and how this motley is societal distinctions impact the life of oneself. Her debut book was centric to the life of a black woman in the United States. In 1989, Watkins published Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black. Which particularly focused on the white imperialism and patriarchal oppression. Watkins is one of many black feminists who has made their mark on black history. It is an honor to be able to educate you on “Bell Hooks”.
Peace and prosperity, beloved.

Black hero of the day: Dr. Amos N. Wilson

By: Akim Hudson 

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t deified or taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

Dr. Amos N. Wilson was a psychologist, sociologist, and Pan-Africanist who contributed to the proposition that the distinctions between blacks and white was the main catalyst of racism, not only in the United States, but globally. Thus, his belief in Pan-Africanism. After earning his undergraduate from the legendary HBCU, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia; Wilson made his strides to New York City where he’d attain his Ph.D. from Fordham University. Brother Wilson’s most memorable piece of work, The Powerless Powerful Black Falsified Consciousness, renders how blacks’ have vast and immensely powerful minds, yet lack the power to spark an upheaval. The Powerless Powerful Black Falsified Consciousness divulges “we’re unconscious of the power that’s in our hands”; rather prophetic because blacks still aren’t aware of how powerful they truly are. Dr. Wilson is no longer with us, and his legacy is rather esoteric to the masses who are passionate of black studies. Though he died in 1995, I am delighted to have the opportunity to educate the audience on his greatness. Peace and prosperity, beloved.