Men’s basketball: See you soon? Bonnies prevail over UMass, clinch five seed for A-10s

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team struggled to score on Saturday afternoon and even found itself down to UMass for over nine minutes. The Bonnies won anyway on Senior Day, 60-56, and clinched the fifth seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament.

SBU (19-11, 11-7 in the A-10) made just 19 of its 55 shot attempts from the field, including an unusually low six combined baskets from Jaylen Adams, Denzel Gregg and Matt Mobley. Adams made the team’s lone three-pointer in 11 tries. SBU’s 60 points were its second-lowest output of the year, a mark only higher than the 59 it put up against Rhode Island.

UMass coach Derek Kellogg’s gameplan was to mix up his defensive schemes, showing Adams and Mobley many different looks. At times, he had a defender faceguard Adams the entire way up the court. When either of the Bona backcourt mates touched the ball, more often than not UMass (14-17, 4-14) sent in a double-team.

The Minutemen’s defensive pressure and effectiveness was an important takeaway from the game because these teams could meet up in Pittsburgh in less than a week. Since Bona received a single-bye in the tournament, it faces the winner of Wednesday’s UMass-St. Joseph’s opening round game on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena.

St. Joe’s also gave the Bonnies a run for their money in two matchups this year. The Hawks didn’t, however, hold Bonaventure under 35 percent from the field or limit Adams to 2-of-11 shooting from the field.

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Men’s basketball: Plenty for Bonnies to play for on final day of regular season

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball coach Mark Schmidt acknowledged that there was no difference between the fifth and sixth seeds in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, one of which his team will have by tonight.

“There’s none,” he said. “You want to finish as high as you can, that’s the biggest thing. Win or lose we’re tied for fifth… but you only play so many games, you want to try to win as many games as you can. This is the last game of the year, and we wanna win.”

A Bonnies win over UMass this afternoon would clinch the fifth seed and a 2:30 p.m. Thursday start to tournament play in Pittsburgh. If the Bonnies (18-11, 10-7) lose to the Minutemen (14-16, 4-13) and George Washington beats Dayton in D.C., SBU would be the sixth seed and would play at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

In addition to winning as many games as possible, Saturday is Senior Day. Denzel Gregg, David Andoh and walk-on Caleb McGuire will be honored in the traditional pregame ceremony before their final regular season game in the Reilly Center.

Bona has won three of its last five Senior Day games, including last year’s 85-83 win over UMass. In that game, the Minutemen made a three-pointer a split-second too late at the buzzer and Bona’s comeback from as many as 18 points was complete.

“You always wanna go out on a win when they’re seniors because as a senior, if you ever play at this level, you remember your last game, be it a positive or a negative,” Schmidt remarked. “When you look back at it, you want it to be a positive experience.”

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Men’s basketball: Counting down Denzel Gregg’s 12 best games in the Reilly Center

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Tomorrow afternoon marks St. Bonaventure senior forward Denzel Gregg’s last regular season game in the Reilly Center. Bonnies fans have watched Gregg develop from an athletic wing off the bench, to the Atlantic 10’s Sixth Man of the Year to the team’s No. 3 scoring option.

The Syracuse, N.Y. native has scored 464 of his 788 career points, grabbed 279 of his 518 career rebounds and recorded 80 of his 135 career blocks at home. He’s always played his best basketball on Bob Lanier Court.

Before No. 12 plays in the Reilly Center for his last scheduled time, here’s my list of his 12 best games there to date:

12. The Debut. Gregg scored just two points in his first official game in the RC, but had eight rebounds to establish himself as a good rebounder early in a win over South Dakota.

“I thought Denzel Gregg was a big plus for us, coming off as a freshman,” SBU coach Mark Schmidt said, before joking, “I can just imagine, you know, 50 years ago, well probably not 50 years ago, when I was a freshman.

“Going in and trying to play, the lights are on and you’re a little bit nervous, a lot nervous. But he was a big plus for us.”

11. Grand finale. Not many remember that Gregg originally committed to Fordham before being released from his letter of intent and becoming a Bonnie. In his sophomore year regular season finale, he scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds in a 66-52 win over the Rams. In one of just six starts that year, he made four of his eight attempts from the field.

“I thought Denzel kept us in the game a little bit in the first half,” Schmidt remarked.

10. Strong postseason showing. The Bonnies suffered a disappointing opening-round NIT loss to Wagner, but Gregg was one of five scorers in double-figures in his first postseason tournament. With 10 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals, he produced a solid final junior year stat line.

9. Battle of the Syracuse natives. On Homecoming 2016, Gregg and fellow Syracuse native Tyler Cavanaugh faced off. Both players put up good numbers, but the Bonnies prevailed with a 64-57 win. Gregg scored 11 points, corralled eight boards and blocked two shots as SBU earned win No. 17.

8. First double-double. Gregg scored 15 points and tallied 11 rebounds in the 2015-16 season opener, a win over Binghamton. It was his first career double-double as he went 6-of-12 from the floor and also blocked four shots as well.

Schmidt called Gregg a “spark” in the narrow 63-53 decision.

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Men’s basketball: High-scoring duos collide as Bonnies visit Davidson

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

If you like star power, Tuesday night’s St. Bonaventure-Davidson game at Belk Arena figures to be one of your favorite Atlantic 10 games of the year.

The two highest-scoring duos in the conference meet up as Bona’s Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley suit up against Davidson’s Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge.

Gibbs leads Adams in scoring by just .3, 21.5 points per game to 21.2. Aldridge and Mobley are right behind, averaging 21 and 19.5, respectively.

The second-highest-scoring pair of teammates in the country facing the fourth-highest-scoring duo makes this game must-see television. Add in the fact that the Bonnies’ hopes at a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 Tournament are still alive (although slim) and that it’s Gibbs’s Senior Night, and you have perhaps the most intriguing league game of Bona’s season.

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Men’s basketball: Monday News and Notes, 2/27/17

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Some stats and facts as the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team approaches the last week of the regular season.

After this weekend’s results, Bona is looking more likely to be the fifth seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The only way the Bonnies can move up to a double-bye spot is if they win their two remaining regular season games and Rhode Island or Richmond go 0-2. The only way they can move down to the sixth seed is if they lose the last two games and George Washington goes 2-0. If they stay the five-seed, they start tournament play on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s 13 v.s. 12 matchup. If they win on Thursday, they play the same time on Friday.

With 83 three-pointers this season, Matt Mobley is 18 away from tying the Bonaventure record for made threes in a season. Chris Matthews has held the record since the 2009-10 season, but if the Bonnies can make a postseason run (A-10 Tournament and either NCAA or NIT), Mobley has a great shot at breaking it. The Worcester native has 10 games with four or more threes this year, so he could reach it sooner than later.

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Men’s basketball: Schmidt calls depth “overrated;” no concern with Adams and Mobley’s minutes

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball coach Mark Schmidt doesn’t like sitting his guards if he doesn’t have to.

Out of a possible 1,130 minutes this season, junior guard Matt Mobley has played all but 52 of them. Point guard Jaylen Adams missed two games, but has logged 968 minutes out of a possible 1,050. Mobley has played the entire game 12 times, while Adams has done it on nine occasions.

Mobley is the NCAA Division I leader in minutes per game at 38.5. Adams ranks sixth at 37.2.

“When you’re 20 years old… you’re not gonna get tired,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. “We had what, 56 fouls, we have four (media) timeouts every half. If you can’t play for four minutes hard, then you shouldn’t be playing.

“I always say depth is overrated. The only time you need depth is when you get in foul trouble. We had foul trouble today, and I thought Nelson came in and did a good job for us. That’s the only thing; in terms of being “exhausted,” you should be exhausted at the end of the game and then drink some fluids and let’s go play again.”

Adams averaged 37.5 minutes last year, so this is far from unfamiliar territory for him. In the 2010-11 season, Ogo Adegboye led the country averaging 39.

Adams and Mobley are going to be on the court unless they get in foul trouble. If they keep racking up wins, Schmidt and his staff will be just fine with that.


Men’s basketball: Bonnies overcome pesky Dukes, complete season sweep

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By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team has made Atlantic 10 play interesting this year- for better or worse.

With 6:50 to play in Saturday’s Homecoming game against Duquesne, the Bonnies led by 14 and appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory. At the buzzer, however, the Dukes had a shot at sending the game into overtime.

Fortunately for SBU, Duquesne guard Mike Lewis II’s heave missed the target and Bona achieved an 80-77 win, its 10th in conference play. In front of a sellout crowd of 5,480, the brown and white improved to 18-10 overall and 10-6 in the Atlantic 10 with two regular season games remaining.

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Men’s basketball: Bonnies’ quest for program history continues against Duquesne

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

When the end of the regular season is coming up, winning out is always the goal for any team.

For the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, however, there’s some added motivation to win the three remaining games before the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Running the table would not only supply a copious amount of momentum going into Pittsburgh, it would also make history.

If the Bonnies (17-10, 9-6) win Saturday’s Homecoming game against Duquesne, Wednesday’s game at Davidson and next Saturday’s regular season finale against UMass, they will become the first team in program history to win at least 20 regular season games in back-to-back seasons.

“We’re trying to make history,” remarked junior guard Matt Mobley, who said the coaching staff told the team about the opportunity.

Accomplishing such a feat was tougher in previous eras, when seasons were shorter and the task of reaching 20 victories before postseason play was more difficult. But regardless, 20 wins is a valued benchmark of a successful team, and history is history.

Davidson figures to be the biggest roadblock in Bona’s way, but no one’s looking ahead. After all, Duquesne (10-18, 3-12) did have a 34-33 lead at halftime of the first meeting on Feb. 1, forcing SBU to earn a 71-64 win.

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