Saint Louis second half comeback clinches A-10 title

By: Isaiah Blakely 

With 3:04 left in the first half the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (18-16) were up 34-19 and had a 91.8 percent chance to win and book their ticket to the NCAA tournament.

But Saint Louis (23-12) didn’t give up.

The comeback started when the Billikens ended the first half strong by cutting the lead down to nine because of a Jordan Goodwin three pointer.

The second half completely flipped in St. Louis’s favor.The Billikens outscored the Bonnies 30-19 in the second half.

Saint Louis started out on a 7-0 run. The Billikens stymied the Bonnies offense in the second half. The Bonnies shot 26 percent in the second half and had multiple long scoring droughts including a six-minute drought in the middle of the half.

Goodwin was the catalyst for the Billikens scoring 16 points and had 13 rebounds including six offensive rebounds.

Courtney Stockard was keeping the Bonnies in it by scoring 10 of the final 12 points for the Bonnies, but he fouled out with a less than a minute to go in the game.

The Billikens down the stretch went on a 12-2 run to take a six-point lead with 1:30 left. Missed free throws and a turnover gave the Bonnies the ball back down two with 45 seconds left.

The Bonnies had three chances to tie or win the game, but shots from Dom Welch, Kyle Lofton, and Nelson Kaputo all missed, and the Billikens came away with the 55-53 victory in the Atlantic 10 championship and now have an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

“We had three opportunities that we missed, but they were good shots…that’s the way it goes. Some jump shots just don’t go in, Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said.

The Bonnies freshmen struggled to score. Lofton, Welch and Osunniyi combined for 13 points.

Stockard ended his Bonaventure career with 22 points and five rebounds. LaDarien Griffin was the only other player in double figures. Griffin finished with a double-double 10 points and 11 rebounds.

A-10 tournament’s most valuable player Tremaine Isabel had nine points and five assists.

Lofton joined Isabel on the A-10 tournament all conference team alongside Isabel’s teammate Javon Bess, VCU’s Marcos Santos-Silva and Rhode Island’s Cyril Langevine.

 

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Second half run pushes the Bonnies past Rhode Island

By:Isaiah Blakely 

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies had a slow start offensively again in the Barclays Center, this time in the semifinals against the Rhode Island Rams.

The Bonnies picked it up on both ends of the floor late in the first half. The momentum and confidence carried through the rest of the game as the Bonnies (18-15) defeated the Rams (18-15) 68-51 to move on to the Atlantic 10 tournament final tomorrow afternoon.

The Rams came out fast early on holding a 22-12 lead with nine minutes left in the first half. Rhode Island guards Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell scored a combined 18 points on 8-29 shooting. Seven of their points were scored early in the first half. Junior Cyril Langevine lead the Rams in scoring with 15 points.

Rhode Island’s defense was also giving the Bonnies fits early. The Bonnies were shooting 3-14 halfway through the first half.

The Rams took a 15-point lead after a Tyrese Martin three pointer with four minutes left in the half.

Then the Bonnies made their run.

The Bonnies went on a 13-0 run led by Bonaventure’s freshmen Dominick Welch and Kyle Lofton.

Welch helped keep the Bonnies afloat in the first half scoring 10 of his 13 points in the first half.

Lofton was good all afternoon scoring 23 points and adding five assists.

“The freshmen don’t play like freshmen. Kyle (Lofton) in my opinion was the best guy on the court,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said.

The Bonnies went into the locker room down 29-27. Second half was more of the same for the Bonnies.

The Bonnies outscored Rhode Island 41-22 in the second half.

The Bonnies offense also got some help from their big men. LaDarien Griffin and Osun Osunniyi combined for 5 points in the first half. Second half the duo combined for 19 points. The senior Griffin had 13 points and six rebounds while the freshman Osunniyi had a double-double 10 points 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Senior Courtney Stockard struggled from field only shooting 1-11 but free throws from him, Griffin and Lofton helped put the game away. The Bonnies as a team shot 16-17 from the line.

Along with the almost perfect free throw shooting from the Bonnies, the Rams went seven and a half minutes without a field goal. During that period the Bonnies went on a 20-3 run that gave them a 21-point lead.

The Bonnies calling card continues to be defense as they move to 15-0 when holding opponents to under 60 points. The Bonnies have also held 10 straight opponents to under 40 percent shooting.

“It’s the best defensive team we’ve had since I’ve been the coach,” Schmidt said. “It’s a mindset. We’re not a great offensive team. We haven’t been a great offensive team all year, but the kids are figuring it out that in order for us to win we’ve got to defend.”

The Bonnies face off against the winner of Saint Louis and Davidson for the Atlantic 10 tournament title and a ticket to the NCAA tournament tomorrow at 1:00.

 

 

PC: GoBonnies.com

St. Bonaventure takes on Rhode Island in the semifinals

By: Isaiah Blakely 

Two of the hottest teams in the Atlantic 10 square off at 1 p.m. today in the Atlantic 10 tournament semifinals. The Rhode Island Rams (18-14) have won six straight games including yesterday’s upset win over the VCU Rams. Rhode Island is going up against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (17-15) who have won eight of their last 10 games including their win yesterday over George Mason.

The Bonnies and Rams faced off once during the regular season in Rhode Island where a strong first half from the Rams was enough to beat the Bonnies comfortably 75-63.

Both teams are very different since then. Rhode Island went on a downward spiral winning only three of their next 10 games. While the Bonnies started to trend upward by playing 3-3 in conference play before going on a seven-game win streak.

The biggest change for the Bonnies has been them getting healthy and gaining continuity.

“We got healthy and we got some chemistry, and the freshmen got a lot of confidence and we just started playing,” said Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt.

The Bonnies have been headlined by freshmen Kyle Lofton and Osun Osunniyi, but freshman Dom Welch’s emergence on the offensive end has helped the Bonnies offense specifically with his perimeter shooting. Welch has hit two or more three pointers in seven of his last 10 games. In the 13 games prior Welch had only hit two or more threes five times.

“It there’s anybody who has made the most strides it’s Dom,” Schmidt said.

For Rhode Island sophomore guard Fatts Russell was the catalyst for the Rams down the stretch of the regular season. In the last five games of the regular season Russell averaged nearly 25 points a game.

Russell has kick started the offense for the whole team. Before this win streak for Rams the were only averaging 54 points per game in their previous five games. During the win streak Rhode Island is averaging nearly 81 points a game.

One of the constants for Rhode Island has been junior Cyril Langevine. Langevine is an All-Conference Second Team and All-Defensive team player. The junior is averaging a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds a game.

A major match up in this game will be Langevine against Osunniyi who is also on All-Defensive team. Langevine is the second leading scorer for Rhode Island while Osunniyi is the anchor for the Bonnies defense averaging more than two blocks a game.

Rhode Island guard Jeff Dowtin against the freshman guard Lofton is going to be the other major match up to watch because both guards have similar numbers to each other, but Dowtin with the edge in points and rebounds. Lofton was in a bit of a shooting slump until last night when he scored 20 points on 6-12 shooting including four three pointers. Dowtin had a big game as well scoring 22 points and making both of his three pointers.

These two teams are looking to book their ticket to the A-10 final on Sunday against the winner of Saint Louis and Davidson.

Bonnies hold off Fordham for second conference win

By: Justin Myers 

ROCHESTER, N.Y.— Rochester has become a second home for St. Bonaventure.

On Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena the Bonnies not only won their second straight conference game 71-64.  They also won their sixth consecutive game at the Blue Cross Arena.

The Bonnies 6-10 (2-1) dominated the first half, limiting the Rams 9-7 (0-3) to 15 points and a 16-point halftime lead, 31-15.

Early in the second half the Bonnies extended their lead to 21 points, but Fordham would not go down without a fight. The Rams went on a 17-2 lead by guard Nick Honor who lead all scorers with 23 points. This run cut the Bonnies lead 56-52 with 3:00 remaining.

Kyle Lofton and LaDarien Griffin hit two free throws each that led to a defensive stop. Griffin’s second shot added to Bonaventure’s 60-52 lead with 2:20 remaining.

Fordham pulled to within five points with 30 seconds left in game on two Jalen Cobb free throws, but Griffin again sank a pair of free throws to keep the Bonnies ahead. The Rams made two three-pointers in the last 11 seconds, but Osun Osunniyi capped off the win with a dunk the ball in the final seconds.

The Bonnies had four players in double figures. Osunniyi finished the game with a double-double 16 points and 12 rebounds. This is the 6-10 center’s third double-double of the season.

“He plays the game the right way, he plays it unselfishly,” said coach Mark Schmidt. “He had 16 and 12, but he’s more from a defensive standpoint, blocking shots and just being a presence inside, which is critical for our defense. When he’s out on the floor, we’re that much better,” Schmidt said.

The other three Bonnies in double figures were Courtney Stockard and Griffin who both scored 17 points while Kyle Lofton added 12.

St. Bonaventure will travel to the Ryan Center to face the Rhode Island Rams next Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Sloppy Bonnies pounded by Syracuse

By:Jeff Uveino 

SYRACUSE—We knew going into this game that this season’s St. Bonaventure Bonnies didn’t have the firepower that allowed them to go into the Carrier Dome and beat the Syracuse Orange a year ago.

However, this year’s trip to the Dome for the Bonnies may have been even more miserable than most expected.

This one was over from the start.

Syracuse (9-4) defeated St. Bonaventure (4-9), 81-47, in the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon. The Orange opened the game on a 17-2 run and never looked back.

Turnovers early in the game were the story for the Bonnies. They turned the ball over five times in the first four minutes of the game, leading to eight Syracuse points. The Bonnies would finish the game with a whopping 25 turnovers, 14 of which came in the first half.

“We didn’t have any answers,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “They’re so long and the windows to get the ball in close quickly. We tried to get the ball to the middle of the zone and it just wasn’t working for us.”

Syracuse guard Tyus Battle finished with a game-high 21 points, including 10 of the team’s first 13.

“We’ve been having good practices, and I think that showed today,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. “We didn’t shoot lights out of anything, but I thought we played a good overall game.”

Elijah Hughes added 16 points for the Orange, and Buddy Boeheim added 12 points. Despite the Orange scoring over 80 points for just the third time this season, Coach Boeheim said he was impressed by his team’s defensive effort.

“They didn’t have a real threat inside, which helped us,” Boeheim said. “We were able to get to their perimeter shooters and stay on them.”

The SBU offense was behind from the start as its leading scorer, senior Courtney Stockard, picked up his second foul before the under 16 media timeout.

Stockard, who had averaged 19 points per game coming into Saturday’s contest, finished with just two points and seven turnovers in 15 minutes.

Schmidt talked about the difficulty of playing against Syracuse’s zone defense, especially with many of his players seeing it for the first time.

“You can’t simulate their zone in practice,” Schmidt said. “For our young guys to see that for the first time in a game is tough.”

Bonnies freshman guard Kyle Lofton said the zone was unlike any he had played against before, and the Orange made it hard for him to operate the offense from the point guard position.

“A lot of spots would look open, so we’d try to force the ball,” Lofton said. “They’re long and athletic so it was hard.”

Lofton led the Bonnies in scoring with 12 points on the day.

Also for St. Bonaventure, Jalen Poyser scored 12 points and Melki Moreaux added seven points.

The Bonnies finished non-conference play with a disappointing four wins, and will begin Atlantic 10 competition on Jan. 5 at George Mason.

Late run by Northeastern downs the Bonnies

By: Isaiah Blakely

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies (4-8) lost to the Northeastern Huskies (5-6) 64-59 in Matthews Arena Friday afternoon.

The Bonnies were led by senior forward Courtney Stockard who led all scorers in the game with 17 points. Northeastern was led by senior guard Vasa Pusica who had 16 points. Pusica had missed the last six games with a wrist injury.

The Huskies got out to a fast start with back to back three pointers to take a 8-3 lead. The Huskies leading scorer coming into the game, Jordan Roland, picked up his second foul early in the first half and the Bonnies stormed back and take their first lead behind a Stockard three pointer.

After a Roland three-pointer Northeastern would maintain a small lead for most of the half. Both teams struggled to score in the first half. The Bonnies shot 27% from the field and the Huskies were shooting 40% at halftime.

Senior forward LaDarien Griffin made his return today after being out since the season opener with a knee injury. His athletic reverse finish and junior guard Jalen Poyser’s three pointer tied the game back up at 18 for the Bonnies.

The back and forth action continued with a Stockard three pointer giving the Bonnies the lead with under a minute left in the first. Redshirt-freshman forward Jason Strong’s layup with 17 seconds to go before halftime gave the Huskies 27-25 advantage at halftime.

The Bonnies came out of the break hot with back to back buckets by junior forward Amadi Ikpeze and Stockard.

The back and forth action continued, Poyser and Stockard scored on back to back possessions to give the Bonnies a five-point lead.

The Huskies responded with a 10-0 run fueled by senior Anthony Green scoring four of his 11 points on back to back possessions to start the run.

Bonnies senior guard Nelson Kaputo scored five of his seven points in the second half, and his three pointer stopped the Huskies run.

The Bonnies chipped away at the deficit, and after a freshman forward Osun Osunniyi and-one dunk and a three pointer by freshman guard Kyle Lofton, the Bonnies were tied at 55 with 3:30 to go.

This is when the Huskies would pull away.

Pusica got fouled on a three pointer and made all his free throws, then two possessions later Green gets free for a dunk and puts Northeastern up 5 with 1:29 to go and they never looked back.

Lofton and Poyser along with Stockard were the three Bonnies in double figures as Lofton finished with 11 points and Poyser finished with 12 points.

The Bonnies look to end their three game losing streak December 29 in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse University at 2:00.

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: GoBonnies

Bonnies fall to Vermont in double OT

By: Nick Gallo

Vermont Catamounts junior forward Anthony Lamb had the green night all game as he scored a career-high 42 points to defeat the St. Bonaventure Bonnies 83-76. The Bonnies would fall to 4-7 and have lost back-to-back games.

Bonnies senior forward Courtney Stockard would lead his team tonight with 27 points. SBU held a nine-point lead at halftime and at one point extended their lead to 14.

Stockard scored with 14:39 left in the second half extending the Bonnies lead to 43-29. Foul trouble would be an issue for Stockard though as he would pick up his fourth foul at the 13:56 mark.

Vermont took advantage of Stockard being on the bench and went on a 20-5 run. Both teams would go back and forth, but Lamb led the way.  He would score 20 points in the second half, and the teams ended regulation time tied at 64.

With two minutes left in overtime, Stockard drove to the lane and was called for a charge, ending his night with a fifth foul. With 2:05 left and down 68-69, freshman guard Kyle Lofton stepped up to the occasion and tied the game up with seven seconds left in overtime with a beautiful drive to basket. The teams ended the first overtime period tied 70-70.

On to a second overtime.

Lamb put the knife in the coffin by making a clutch three with 52 seconds left to give the Catamounts a 80-76 lead. Lofton try bringing them back with a career high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough.

Despite shooting 48.4% from the field, the Bonnies would be out-rebounded 44-38 and gave up 18 offensive rebounds. Without Stockard in the game, the Bonnies were not the same team, and a total of 27 personal fouls would cause trouble for the them in the end.

The Bonnies are traveling to Boston, Massachusetts to face the Northeastern Huskies this Friday, Dec. 21, at 12 p.m. in the Matthews Arena.

Buffalo’s three point shooting pushes them past the Bonnies

By: Nick Gallo 

An 80-62 stampede from the University of Buffalo showed the Reilly Center why they are currently ranked 17 in the nation.

Led by their veteran guards Jeremey Harris, Jayvon Graves, and CJ Massinburg, who together combined for a total of 51 of their 80 points. They shot 17-34 from the field as they would help the Bulls shoot 45% from the field.

Head coach of the Bonnies Mark Schmidt gave all the credit to Buffalo as he explains why the Bulls were able to have a 22 point lead at halftime and why they were able to shoot 50% from the field.

“They put us on our heels and I thought our guys came out tentative,” Schmidt said. “We struggled offensively in the first half getting good shots, taking care of the basketball and they made us pay for it.”

The Bonnies would shoot 39% from the field, 22% from three. The Bonnies only shot two free throws in the first half.

Coming out of the locker room in the second half, the Bonnies showed some fight cutting the lead to 12. Schmidt spoke about how his team fought in the second half and how they cut the lead.

“We didn’t get out to a great start second half, but our guys fought back and didn’t give in,” Schmidt said. “The good thing about our team is that we didn’t give in and we could’ve folded and us not given in is a good sign.”

After this loss the Bonnies will be having a week off until they travel to Vermont on Dec 18.

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: SBU Sports Information/Craig Melvin