Bonnies roll past Siena

By: Isaiah Blakely 

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies (4-5) defeated the Siena Saints(3-6) 82-40 in the Reilly Center Wednesday night.

The Bonnies scoring was paced by senior guard Nelson Kaputo who had 21 points including five three pointers.

It was a back and forth start between these two teams early, but then the Bonnies quickly took a comfortable lead after going on a 10-0 run putting them up 18-6 six minutes into the game.

In the first half freshman guard Jimmy Ratliff hit Siena’s first three pointer but Kaputo comes right back down and hits a three pointer of his own. Kaputo’s three pointer sparked a 22-3 run by the Bonnies to end the half up 42-16.

Senior Courtney Stockard made his first start of the season tonight, he scored 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Stockard’s and-one layup put the Bonnies up 50-20 with 15 minutes left in the second half.

The Saints in the second half had an 8-0 run of their own after full court pressing the Bonnies and forcing several turnovers.

Kaputo again was the spark with back to back three pointers which started a 14-2 run to get the lead up to 34. This run included junior guard Jalen Poyser scoring five of his 13 points.

Freshman Osun Osunniyi was last Bonnie to score in double figures with a couple dunks late. Osunniyi ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Siena shot poorly all night, but their leading scorer Ratliff had 16 points including four three pointers.  The Saints started the game 0-8 from beyond the arc and 0-6 from the foul line. The Saints are typically one of the best teams in the country at not committing turnovers, but the Bonnies forced them into 15 tonight including eight in the first half.

Head coach Mark Schmidt said, “I thought this was the most complete game we’ve played to this point. We played really well tonight, especially on defense.”

The Bonnies have won three straight and six of the last nine Franciscan Cup games against Siena. A 42-point victory is tied for the largest margin of victory over Siena in these teams 41 combined meetings. This 41-point victory is also the largest margin of victory since last November when the Bonnies beat Maryland-Eastern Shore by 48.

Now the Bonnies put their three game win streak on the line Saturday in the Reilly Center against #17 rank University at Buffalo at 4 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: GoBonnies

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Stockard returns in Bonnies win over Canisius

By: Jeff Uveino 

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Canisius Griffins, 70-55, Wednesday night at the Reilly Center.

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Bonnies used a 16-1 run late in the first half to pull away from the Griffins.

SBU had four players reach double-digit scoring, but the most significant contribution came with the return of senior forward Courtney Stockard.

Stockard, a preseason all-conference selection, made his season debut after missing six games due to offseason surgery.

After checking in during the under-12-minute media timeout in the first half, Stockard missed a three-point jumper and committed an offensive foul before finding his groove.

Then, with 7:47 remaining in the first half, he briefly took over the game.

Stockard completed a three-point play on the offensive end, then banged home a three-point jumper on the next Bonnies possession.

He then stole a Takal Molson pass and took the ball down the floor for a fast break layup—and the foul. He completed another three-point play on the ensuing possession, giving him 9 points in a mere 51 seconds of clock time.

“I wanted to take my time and let the game come to me,” Stockard said. “It’s been about six months since I’ve been in a real game, so I expected to be a little rusty coming back. But getting back in a game like this and helping the team to a win is big for us.”

Stockard finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

Freshman forward Osun Osunniyi also had a big night for the Bonnies, scoring 12 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. He also had four blocks on the night.

“We knew we had to come together and play harder than Canisius,” said Osunniyi. “It wasn’t a perfect game, but we did what we had to do to get the win.”

Osunniyi played 28 minutes off the bench for the Bonnies, including 17 in the second half. Coach Mark Schmidt talked about how Osunniyi’s play around the basket can be a game changer for St. Bonaventure.

“Good offenses always go from inside out,” said Schmidt, “and when (Osunniyi) can get baskets in the paint it really helps the offense. If we can have Osun do what he did today on a consistent basis, it helps some of our other guys feed the post and shrink the defense.”

For Canisius, senior guard Jonathan Sanks led the way with 12 points and sophomore guard Takal Molson scored 10 points.

Junior guard Malik Johnson had nine points and eight rebounds, and led the Griffins with nearly 36 minutes on the court.

Other Bonnies scoring in double figures were freshman guard Kyle Lofton with 13 points and senior guard Nelson Kaputo with 12 points.

Coach Schmidt said he was impressed by his team’s effort.

“We did a good job defending the three, we out-rebounded them by 10 and we handled the ball well for the most part,” Schmidt said. “Hopefully it’s something we can build off of.”

The Bonnies continue a four-game homestand with a Saturday afternoon game against the Delaware St. Hornets on Dec. 1.

 

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: Craig Melvin/SBU Sports Information

Chef hopes to bring energy for sophomore season

Forward Tshiefu (Chef) Ngalakulondi 6’7 is ready to make a bigger impact this season. Last season he was seen in 18 games averaging 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds. He shot 60.7 percent from the floor and 5 for 11 beyond the arc. In the Atlantic 10 Tournament, he finished with four points vs. Davidson. In the NCAA tournament, he scored two points and four rebounds against Florida.

Reporter Keara Donnelly sat down with Ngalakulondi to get his thoughts on his improvements from freshman year and his goals for this season.

The most important thing you learned from freshman year?

“To be confident, to work and play hard because eventually all of that will play off. Also look to senior leadership because they know what they are doing and have been here for a while.”

What goals do you have for yourself this season?

“To contribute as much as I can on and off the court and help the team win.”

What impact do you hope to bring to the season this year?

“I will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm bring my game and play hard all the time.”

How is this year’s team different than last year?

“This year’s team is more spread out and everyone will have an opportunity to shine. I feel we are ready and we have the experience, new pieces are coming together, and we are adding on and reloading as a team.”

Who is your favorite basketball player?

“Kevin Durant and Jamal Crawford because Durant is smooth with the rock and knows how to create plays for others and himself. Jamal Crawford is a “bucket” because he knows how to go out there and have fun. I see myself being like him because he comes off the bench and just impacts the game. You don’t always need to be a starter to always do well. That is the mind set I have.”

 

 

Photo by Elliott Brown/Media Images International

 

 

Ikpeze looking for continued improvement in year three

By: Teddy Caputo

With Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Idris Taqee no longer on the team this season, the Bonnies are looking for the next player(s) to step up as a leader and be a dynamic scoring options for them.  One guy who is more than ready for that challenge is Amadi Ikpeze.

Ikpeze has been a solid contributor for the Bonnies in the paint over the past two seasons.  During his freshman year, he played in 24 games, averaging 2.3 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game and 9.2 minutes per game.  In his sophomore season, he played in 34 games and averaged 4.5 points per game, 3.1 rebounds per game and 14.1 minutes per game. Ikpeze talked about what he did to improve his game last season.

“I improved mainly by knowing my spots on the court,” said Ikpeze.  “I’ve become more confident and efficient scoring wise, and I’ve continued to learn the system, both offense and defense, to become a better player.”

Ikpeze talked about how he can carry his improvement from last year into this upcoming season.

“I can definitely look back at it by watching tape and seeing what I do good on the court vs. what I do bad on the court and going from there,” said Ikpeze. “Starting the last 14 games of the season definitely gave me a lot of confidence leading into this season.”

The Bonnies finished last year with a 26-8 regular season record, going 14-4 in conference play and having their first NCAA tournament win since 1970.  Their stellar season has many fans expecting them to keep up the performance this year. Ikpeze, however, isn’t worried, saying, “I don’t see any pressure from last year’s season because it is a new season.  We’re 0-0.  We had a great season last year and we did great things like making the tournament and winning the play-in game against UCLA, but we’re focused on being 1-0 at the beginning of November.”

Ikpeze’s confidence going into this season is nothing but a good thing for a new-look Bonnies who have five new players that will need some guidance from the veterans on the team. Ikpeze spoke about his role on the team as a leader and a veteran player alongside seniors Courtney Stockard, Nelson Kaputo and LaDarien Griffin.

“Being the main voices in the locker room, we definitely have to lead by example and make sure we are giving it 100% in practice every day,” said Ikpeze.  “That’s really where they are going to pay the most attention to when looking for what to do right and wrong.”

One new player who may look to Ikpeze for guidance is freshman center Osun Osunniyi.  “You can’t teach height.  That’s what I’ve been told a lot in my life,” said Ikpeze.  “With Osun alongside me this year, we’re taller and will be more of a contribution to our team and a threat to others.”

A game Ikpeze is most looking forward to on the Bonnies’ schedule is against the University of Buffalo in the Reilly Center mainly because Buffalo is his hometown. Ikpeze added, “I’m excited for every game to show people how much better I’ve gotten and show them what I can do on the court.”

Ikpeze will continue to try and show the country how much better he has gotten over the offseason in their next game against Georgia State University in the Cayman Islands Classic on November 19.

 

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: GoBonnies

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.

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.

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.