Reaction: Stockard-led Bonnies embrace adversity, stun undefeated Maryland

By Josh Svetz

The Bonnies have provided enough highs and lows for a season’s worth of basketball and it’s only been four games.

Tonight was a high, but coming into the contest, most wouldn’t think so.

In fact, the Bonnies would have to overcome hard knocks to achieve any sort of high.

Hours before the game, star guard Jaylen Adams, who has yet to play or practice due to an ankle injury, was ruled out. Junior forward Courtney Stockard was probable, but limited in practice over the week.

Then, as tip-off neared, Bonas fans were left confounded when the official men’s basketball account tweeted that senior Matt Mobley, the Bonnies’ leading scorer, would not start due to being late for a team meeting.

On top of this, Bonas had to contend with the undefeated Maryland Terrapins, a top-20 defensive team featuring several bigs 6-foot-10 and taller alongside two NBA hopefuls, sophomores Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan.

The only way Bonas could hope to sneak out of this game victorious was to take advantage of the Terps’ bottom-200-ranked turnover rate, translating to a turnover every four possessions, and make this game ugly.

That’s exactly what the Bonnies did. They brought the grind to the grinders.

To start, they didn’t let the size difference affect the scoring in the first half.

Bonas deployed a 1-3-1 zone to neutralize talented freshman forward Bruno Fernando and it worked.

Fernando became agitated and frustrated early, taking his head out of the game and mounting up just two points and three rebounds in the first half. While 7-foot-1 senior Michal Cekovsky filled in nicely with nine points, two blocks and two rebounds in the first half, he just didn’t provide the same upside and athleticism of Fernando.

Bonas also capitalized on turnovers, turning eleven first half miscues into twelve points.

The scrappy effort contributed heavily, as Bonas didn’t let the Terps lead by more than four at any time in the first half.

But maybe the number one reason the Bonnies handled their business was their defense.

Forcing turnovers aside, Bonas switched beautifully on screens and closed out on the Terps’ guards. This frustrated the shooters, holding them to 1 of 10 from behind the arc and just 43 percent from the field.

Despite Mobley being held to four points in the first half, everyone else stepped up offensively, with Josh Ayeni, Izaiah Brockington, LaDarien Griffin and Courtney Stockard scoring 24 of the Bonnies’ 30 first-half points.

The Bonnies headed into the locker room down one, but with momentum on their side.

Still, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon may have summed up the situation best in his sideline interview.

“We haven’t made a jump shot, we have eleven turnovers and we’re up one,” Turgeon said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

With obvious adjustments coming for the second half, the Bonnies would need to continue the defensive tenacity and get something out of Mobley to have a chance.

The Terps came out re-energized, opening the second half with a 8-2 run in the first five minutes.

Bonas needed to answer, and with Mobley’s shot not falling, he turned to the free throw line to make a contribution.

Mobley went 10 of 10 from the free throw line, six of those coming in the second half.

But with 11 minutes left, the wheels started to come off.

Down by one, Bonas gave up two three-pointers and an and-one layup in the span of three minutes, trailing 44-52 with eight minutes remaining.

But the Bonnies wouldn’t quit.

Layups by Ayeni, Mobley and Brockington cut the deficit to two, and two free throws from Stockard tied the game at 53.

However, Bonas’ three-point defensive woes reared its ugly head, as Terps’ junior Dion Wiley drained a three.

Both teams traded free throws and Mobley made a layup to make the score 59-57 with two minutes to play.

Mobley then tied the game with two free throws.

The free throw line saved the Bonnies, as 21 of their 63 total points came from the stripe.

Then, the Bonnies caught a break when the Terps’ Jackson missed an open three.

Even with the break, Mobley missed a layup but Ayeni grabbed the offensive board and drew the foul.

Ayeni handled the pressure, draining both free throws, giving the Bonnies a 61-59 lead.

An ill-advised foul by Mobley not only gave the Terps’ Cowan free throws, but also gave him his fifth foul, taking him out of the game.

With no timeouts, Stockard-the highest scorer left in the game-was forced into the spotlight, facing adversity from the tenacious Terps’ defense.

But Stockard is no stranger to adversity.

For two years he’s battled back from foot injuries that ended his season twice. Even before the game, that same type of injury limited him all week in practice. But now, with the game in his hands, this was his moment.

He handled the ball inches in front of the half-court line, cutting to the basket and going up strong to put in the game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds left.

Stockard finished the game with fourteen points.

The Terps turned the ball over and that was it. The Bonnies won, despite everyone counting them out, despite all the adversity.

Stockard scored the game-winner, despite the adversity.

The excitement of this win will be short-lived, though, as they turn around and face TCU for the Emerald Coast Classic championship tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.

But as the glow remains fresh, the Bonnies carry a scrappy nature and underdog mentality, just like their leader tonight.

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Kaputo “I’m the best I’ve ever been”

For Junior guard Nelson Kaputo, not getting lost in the hype is high on his priorities.

Because of the Bonnies’ NCAA Tournament snubs the past two seasons, the team is motivated to finally get over the hump this season, especially with the tournament-level hype surrounding the team. In fact, CBS Sports ranked the Bonnies the #1 college basketball team in New York on Wednesday.

Kaputo, a 6-foot guard from Toronto, Ontario, shared his thoughts about how the team doesn’t want to get lost in the hype.

“We’ve done a great job blocking it out,” Kaputo said. “We’re focusing on what we have to do.”

The Bonnies put up good numbers on the record sheet, finishing 20-12 on the season and 11-7 in conference play; however, Kaputo expects them to perform better this season due to a new emphasis on work ethic.

“It was a great off-season for all of us,” he said. “Individually, we all have gotten better, and personally, I think I’m the best I’ve been in my life.”

He felt the biggest improvement he made during the off-season was his strength.

“I’ve put on a lot of muscle this summer, and I think that’s going to allow me to be more effective on the court, being able to come off ball screens cleaner and taking bumps better,” he said.”My all-around game is going to improve this year.”

Kaputo said living with the team helped improve their bond.

“Most of the guys lived with one another over the summer and we’ve been around each other every single day,” he said. “The only time we’re not with each other is when we go to sleep.  Most of us live in the townhouses as well, so off that strength alone, the chemistry on the team is going to keep building throughout the season.  It’s like a brotherhood being on this team, and you’re going to see that carry onto the court when we’re out there balling and having fun with each other.”

This brotherhood the team has with each other carries over into Kaputo’s relationships with some of his fellow guards and forwards. He told me about how him, Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley have been in that position of learning from the veterans and how they taught him some things as well.

He is glad that, as a junior this season, he is able to follow in the footsteps as a mentor for some of the younger guys.

“As upperclassmen on this team, that’s the position that Matt, Jaylen and I are in with the younger guys,” Kaputo said.  “We are able to teach them how to understand the system and how to compete at this level, just like the veteran guys, who were in our shoes at one point before, taught us. We understood what it took to be good before and what it takes for us to get where we want to be.”

Kaputo shows a lot of praise for the system Coach Schmidt imparts to his players, but he went over with me how the team could have done better with the system.

“Our struggle last year was figuring out how to play with each other within the system, not the system itself,” said Kaputo.  “I love the system. It’s just a matter of getting to know the guys better and know how we play.  Having a lot of returners from last year should help us with that. Coming into this year, everyone knows their role, and everyone is ready to play.”

While Kaputo shows his admiration for the system, he also shows it towards his head coach.  He told me that Mark Schmidt is a great guy and coach, who is adept to the “open door policy” with his players, knows how to “install the winning mentality into his players” so they win games and gets him playing his best.

“He’s put me in a position to be successful time and time again,” he said.  “There have been times in my career where I haven’t followed through in that position, but he tells me what I need to do to get back on the court. As a player, you want a coach that brings out the best in you, and that’s what he does.”

According to Kaputo, it sounds like Coach Mark Schmidt has command of the locker room and the support of his players to be able to lead his team to new heights this season.

“The whole team has that same picture in mind: the NCAA Tournament, and we’ve been working like it,” said Kaputo.  “I think you guys are in for quite a season.”

 

 

Migliore prepared to be a leader this season

By Justin Myers

Last season, sophomore Danielle Migliore was just a freshman guard from Frankfort,New York who could knock down threes.

This year, she’s a key starter on a young team hungry to improve off their 9-20 campaign last season.

With second-year coach Jesse Fleming getting a full off-season with his team, Migliore impressed enough to crack the starting lineup last Saturday in the exhibition game against Edinboro, playing 35 minutes, scoring 12 points, coming off four threes at 50% shooting.

Reporter Justin Myers sat down with Migliore to discuss her relationship with the team, who she models her game after and her personal goals for this season.

What are some things you improved on during the off-season? 

Migliore: I really tried to improve all aspects of my game from confidence, to mental game, defense, just getting in the gym a lot and shooting extra really helped me.

The most important thing you learned from freshman year?

Migliore: My mental game was most important. In high school I was able to get mad and not care. But here, it’s different. If you get mad it affects your next play, rather in high school it didn’t.

What goals do you have for yourself this season? 

Migliore: Personally, just to make an impact for the team, be more of a leader, and to set myself up for success.

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

Migliore: I think we gel better as a group this year. A few of us are more experienced like me, Jalisha Terry and Rhianna Council. We had a learning year, which helped a lot. This preseason getting to be together all the time helped our team.

Are there any players you try to patent your game after?

Migliore: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore.

Bonnies’ Phillips opens up about draft day nerves and “the grind”

By Jeff Uveino @realjuveino 

It is every college baseball player’s goal to get drafted by a major league team. However, only about 10% of NCAA players nationally accomplish this, most of them coming from large schools in the south.

In the 9th round of the 2017 MLB draft, the San Francisco Giants made St. Bonaventure’s Aaron Phillips one of these select few.

A key part of the Bonnies for the past three seasons, Phillips excelled as an elite two-way player. A leader both on the mound and at the plate, Phillips was named a finalist for the John Olerud National Two-Way Player of the Year.

However, it is Phillips’ arm that got the Giants’ attention.

Continue reading “Bonnies’ Phillips opens up about draft day nerves and “the grind””

Frustration fuels Bonnies Loss

By Michael Hogan @Mike_Hogan42

The Bonnies found themselves in another nail biter early against Hartwick, until two late goals by the Hawks sunk them in a 3-1 defeat Saturday evening at Marra Athletics complex.

The Hawks were the first to draw blood as senior, Mark Berry, found the back of the net in the 17th minute off of a beautiful assist by teammate Harry Morton.

The Bonnies had a frustrating first half on the offensive side, as they squandered chances to score. One of those chances came in the 28th minute when an offside call neglected Nicola Bonso’s potential equalizer.

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Bonnies bounce back in return home

By Teddy Caputo @teddy_capoots

After dropping their last two contests the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team came back in a big way this past Sunday at the Marra Athletics Complex, coming out with a 1-0 victory over the Albany Great Danes.

On a beautiful and sunny day the home crowd was filled with energy and excitement.

The Great Danes put pressure on the Bonnies early with two shots that could have changed the dynamic of the game. Senior forward Afonso Pinheiro’s shot bounced off the left post and went out of bounds. The other close call came when Bonnies goalie Luke Iacobellis deflected Great Danes’ forward Nico Solabarrieta’s shot to keep the game scoreless.

Hustle and physicality dominated the match with several fouls on both teams.

In the 47th minute a collision between Bonnies’ Kieran Toland, Kosi Nwarfornso and Great Danes’ goalie Danny Vitiello had Toland slow to get up at first, but he shook it off on the sideline and returned later.

Before the game, Toland said his team knew they needed to outwork the Great Danes if they wanted to get a victory.

“Our work rate was absolutely incredible,” Toland said. “We could have been a little bit more composed with the ball and kept the ball a little more; but we said that if we work harder than they do, then we will win the game.”

That hard work paid off in the 55th minute of the game when junior midfielder Isaiah Wilson scored after Nwafornso’s shot deflected off Vitiello and back to Wilson who chipped the ball into the goal giving the Bonnies a 1-0 lead.

Wilson said it felt good to get his third game-winner of his collegate career.
“I was a little nervous,” Wilson said. “But I remember my coach telling me to stay calm when I get around the net, and that’s what I did.”

As the game wrapped up an altercation broke out between Pinheiro and the Bonnies’ Nicola Bonso after both players made valiant efforts going for the ball and slid into each other. The scuffle was broken up immediately and play resumed.

The Bonnies held off the Great Danes’ for the rest of the game, winning 1-0.
The win marks their third of the season, giving them a 3-2-1 record on the season so far.

This was their first win after losing their previous two games against Canisius and Houston Baptist.

The Bonnies will look to carry the momentum from this home victory into their next match against Hartwick, who comes to the Marra Athletics Complex on Saturday, September 16th at 7:00 pm.

Baseball: Bonnies Draw Familiar Foe in A-10 Tournament

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(Aaron Phillips, photo credit Olean Times Herald)

By Josh Svetz @Svetz17

After the St. Bonaventure Bonnies secured the third seed last Friday against Fordham, fans waited anxiously to see who the Bonnies would face in the opening round of the A-10 Tournament.

Before the Saturday games started, it looked certain the Bonnies would take on the surging Saint Joseph’s Hawks for the first time this season.

But a strange wave of events commenced.

The Hawks, who had previously dominated George Washington two games straight, lost it’s regular season finale to the Colonials in a blow out. Then, after being blown out twice by St. Louis, George Mason put together a last-ditch effort and won the final game against the Billikens securing the final spot in the tournament.

St. Louis moved down to the five spot, pushing George Washington up to the fourth and Davidson rested in the sixth spot.

The Hawks were out, and the Bonnies now had a date with one of the toughest teams they’ve faced in conference this season, the Davidson Wildcats.

Back in March, the Bonnies were a sub-par club looking for answers. Out of conference they sat at 5-5, but had a little momentum going with two straight wins over North Dakota State, winning both games despite being shut out in the series opener.

Opening conference play against the Wildcats in North Carolina, the Bonnies stayed neck and neck, tied at one, through four innings.

Then, the inflammation in starting pitcher Brandon Schlimm’s throwing arm acted up. Schlimm gave up three runs and the Bonnies were down 4-1.

Hope shined through when the Bonnies got a man on base, but the sunshine vanished quickly.

A rain delay forced the game to be finished the next day and the Bonnies couldn’t recover, losing 9-2. Just an hour after that loss, the Bonnies had to go out and play again, losing by the same score.

But the next day, in the final game of the series, the Bonnies dominated the Wildcats 17-4, led by a six hit, eight RBI domination by David Hollins. The Bonnies also got a great performance from starting pitcher Aaron Phillips, giving up three-earned runs, five hits and tossing seven strikeouts.

That loss sent the Wildcats into a tailspin, dropping the next five games.

With Phillips likely to start and the Bonnies not dealing with rain delays, pitcher injuries or home field advantage, it’s more likely the team that beat the Wildcats last time will show up, rather than the shell that got beat down twice in a row in a span of three hours.

Still — winning is far from guaranteed.

The Wildcats feature top conference players like Will Robertson and Brian Fortier, two bombers ranking top 30 in the NCAA for home runs.

In fact, the Wildcats rank 20th in the NCAA, averaging 1.26 home runs per game.

But the biggest factor may be ace pitcher Durin O’Linger, who’s compiled a 1.33 ERA through the months of April and May in seven starts.

Despite the offense on both sides, a pitching duel looks evident with two studs like Phillips and O’Linger likely slinging for their teams.

The number one key to victory is Phillips keeping the Wildcat bombers at bay, something he should be able to do giving up just six home runs this season.

As much success as the Bonnies have had recently, there’s two teams that have come to play this season.

This afternoon we find out if the Bonnies are the back-to-back losers Davidson saw in the first two games, or the dominant winners that closed out the Wildcats in the final game of the series.

SBU ASIA celebrates Diwali Festival

By Katherine Tercek

[Images courtesy of Elyse Breeze]

Celebrating the cultural traditions of Diwali, St. Bonaventure University ASIA (Asian Students in Action) put on their annual Diwali show on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Diwali, or the “Festival of Lights,” is a Hindu festival celebrated all over South Asia every year. It represents the victory of good over evil, which is extended to light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. It is a bright colorful celebration that the whole town or village partakes in.

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