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

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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 win triple OT marathon against Canisius

By: Isaiah Blakely 

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies (2-1) defeated their rival the Canisius Golden Griffins (0-2) 100-94 in triple overtime in the longest game the Bonnies women’s basketball program has played since 1980.

Junior Danielle Migliore was the leading scorer for the Bonnies with 19 points while junior D’Jhai Patterson-Ricks led the Golden Griffins with 24 points.

This was a game of runs. Each team had a double-digit lead before the fourth quarter. There were 13 ties and nine lead changes.

It all started with redshirt-junior Bree Paulson hitting one of her five three pointers to open the scoring up for the Bonnies. It was a back and forth start to the quarter, but Canisius went on a 7-1 run to take a 16-8. Junior Shannon Conely scored four of her career-high 23 points off the bench during that run.

Migliore and freshman Claudia Del Moral both hit three pointers to spark a 7-2 run of their own to keep the Bonnies in the game. Del Moral led the Bonnies in assists, she had nine assists and zero turnovers.

Canisius out rebounded the Bonnies 51-45 and that was in part due to senior Sara Hinriksdottir’s 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Danielle Sanderlin led the game in rebounds, she had eight points and 18 rebounds. Their offensive rebounds and put back layups to start the second quarter gave Canisius a 12-point lead which was their biggest of the game.

Sophomore Emily Calabrese scored 18 points and 10 rebounds helped make sure the Golden Griffins lead didn’t extend. A Calabrese layup helped sparked a 13-2 run in the final four minutes of the quarter which was capped off by freshman Asianae Johnson hitting a three-pointer to tie the game right before the second quarter buzzer.

In the third quarter the Bonnies picked up where they left off. Migliore hits a three pointer to start the half. The Bonnies slowly extended their lead throughout the quarter. They took their biggest lead after Paulson sinks another three pointer. Paulson ended the game with 17 points. The Bonnies went into the fourth quarter up 11.

The Golden Griffins came out firing in the fourth quarter. The Golden Griffins started the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run including a pair of three pointers by Patterson-Ricks and Hinriksdottir. Conley added six more points of her own to cap off a 12-2 run by Canisius to cut the Bonnies lead to two.

The fourth quarter goes back and forth, and with under three minutes to go Paulson hits a three pointer to give the Bonnies the lead. A Sanderlin layup and Conely jumper gives Canisius a one-point lead with a little over a minute to go. Free throws by Paulson and Migliore give the Bonnies a two-point lead with five seconds left. Canisius gives the ball to their senior Hinriksdottir and she scores a layup to force overtime.

Overtime starts with three-pointers by Paulson and Canisius senior Maria Welch. Canisius holds a three-point lead with two minutes to go before freshman Deja Francis hits her first bucket of the game. It was a three pointer to tie the game with two minutes left. Migliore made two free throws but Conely ties the game with another jump shot to force double overtime.

Double overtime was a lot of free throws to start. Patterson-Ricks hit a three pointer to give Canisius the lead with a little over two minutes to go in the period. A Francis free throw and Johnson layup tied the game up with a under a minute to go. After a Hinriksdottir miss Paulson had a shot to win the game but missed, and these two teams headed to triple overtime.

In third overtime period junior Dajah Logan scored five of her 12 points. Including a layup and a foul to put the Bonnies up three. Logan then grabbed an offensive rebound and made a layup to put the Bonnies up five with about thirty seconds to go.

Francis also had five of her nine points in triple overtime, and her free throws with 17 seconds left secured the win for the Bonnies.

The Bonnies had five players score in double figures and coach Jesse Fleming talked about the group effort.

“They desperately wanted that win,” said Fleming. “They made some plays. I thought it was a one-through-nine effort where somebody kept making a play to help us win.”

The Bonnies next opponent is Saturday at home against Hofstra.

 

 

 

 

Picture Courtesy: GoBonnies

Francis looks to make a name for herself at St. Bonaventure

By: Justin Myers 

Deja Francis is one of the five newest additions to the Bonnies and one of the three freshmen.

Francis being able to fill a role the Bonnies needed was one of the main reasons she came to St. Bonaventure.

“I choose St. Bonaventure because it was the right fit for me. As you know their point guard left and I was coming in as the point guard,” said Francis.

She looks to replace former Bonnie and current Oakland guard Jalisha Terry.

The 5’7 guard comes from Queens, New York where she played for Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers. While at Murry Bergtraum she averaged 15 points, six rebounds and two assists per game. She also earned the Rose Classic Academic Award and was a Rose Classic All-Star selection. She had the best free throw shooting percentage in PSAL play and was named “She Got Game” Most Valuable Player.

Former Bonaventure players CeCe Dixon, Doris Ortega, and Armelia Horton also went to Murry Bergtraum. Francis looks to continue the long tradition of Bonaventure players hailing from Bergtraum.

She looks to bring a pass first mentality to Bonnies this year.

“I’m the point guard so I pass first, and I see everything on the floor,” said Francis.

Francis admits the transition from high school to college has been difficult, but it is something she tries to get better at every day.

“It’s been a rough transition, it’s been a lot to remember with all the plays, but I just have to get used to it,” said Francis.

Through this adjustment period she has already taken advice from upperclassmen.

“Be on time, and to take things more seriously,” said Francis.

With the help of her upperclassman Francis is also learning how to be a leader.

“Learning how to be a leader because I’m the point guard. I’m calling all the plays and making sure everyone is in the right spot, so everything runs through me,” said Francis.

As she learns to be a leader Francis has big goals for the Bonnies and herself this season.

“Hopefully we can go as far as we can. It’s my freshman year, so I don’t know what to expect. For myself I hope to make a name for myself in the A-10 and at St. Bonaventure,” said Francis.

Francis gets a chance to make a name for herself as the Bonnies play the University of Georgia Friday night.

 

 

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.