Bonnies fall to Canisius in Buffalo

photo courtesy of Scott Eddy/gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

BUFFALO — Whatever the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team found offensively in Toronto last week, it didn’t bring back to New York.

The Bonnies (1-4) fell to Canisius (2-2) on Saturday, 61-57, in a sloppy game at KeyBank Center.

SBU shot 38 percent from the field, while Canisius shot 39 percent.

The Golden Griffins took the lead for good with three minutes remaining in the first half. Canisius stretched the lead to as many as 10 points before avoiding a late-game push from the Bonnies.

“Offensively, we were really bad,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “We got to the foul line, but just really couldn’t get anything going offensively. We weren’t pushing the ball and we didn’t get any easy baskets.”

SBU sophomore guard Kyle Lofton led all scorers with 18 points. Freshman forward Justin Winston added 14 points and five rebounds.

With 34 seconds remaining and the Bonnies trailing by two points, Lofton was called for a pivotal offensive foul while driving to the basket.

Malik Johnson, who drew the foul, hit both ensuing free throws for Canisius, which sunk the momentum of Bona’s comeback.

“They were running a rub action play so I knew (Lofton) was going to try to get down hill,” Johnson said. “I knew if I beat him to the spot and took (the foul) to my chest, it was most likely going to be a charge. I kind of read that play and baited him into it.”

Johnson finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Golden Griffins.

Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon said that Johnson’s “intense desire to win” is what drives the senior point guard.

“(Johnson) has been great for us and building the program,” Witherspoon said. “He’s a ‘we’ guy, not a ‘me’ guy. He’s really about the team, whether he scores or doesn’t score. I think that’s what you ultimately hope to have from your point guard.”

Freshman forward Jacco Fritz had a double-double for Canisius, racking up 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Canisius out-played SBU at the rim, out-rebounding the Bonnies 40-23 total, and 16-8 on offensive rebounds.

Bona’s defense forced 21 turnovers and scored 22 points off of turnovers. However, Canisius led in second-chance points, 16-7, a statistic that Schmidt said was crucial.

“They took it to us physically,” Schmidt said. “To me, that was the difference. Every time we got a stop, it seemed like they got an offensive rebound and put it back.”

Schmidt said that when relying on new players to score points, growing pains should be expected.

“Sometimes (freshman) can do it, and sometimes they don’t,” Schmidt said. “It’s their first year and they’re still trying to learn. Hopefully they’re learning and they have more ups than downs.”

Canisius’ 61 points are the fewest that the team has scored in a win under Witherspoon.

“I’m really proud of our effort and that we stepped up to the challenge of doing a better job rebounding and making free throws,” Witherspoon said.

This was the 168th meeting between the two teams and, remarkably, it was only the ninth time that the game was decided by five or less points.

The Bonnies will return home to host Mercer on Tuesday. Then, they’ll fly to Florida next weekend for the Boca Beach Classic in Boca Raton.

“When you have a young team, you’re going to have some games like this,” Schmidt said. “We need to fight through it and get better.”

 

Mens basketball: Bonnies hold off Griffins at home

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

In what was the 163rd time these two teams faced off, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Canisius Golden Griffens at the sold-out Reilly Center for the second year in a row—the first time either team has won consecutive games of this rivalry since ’03-04.

Marcus Posley led the Bona men with 20 points, going 5 for 14 from the field, and Dion Wright had 12, going 5 for 10 from the field.

“We brought him in here to make shots,” said Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt. “It doesn’t matter if we are shooting well or can’t make a shot, he’s still going to take shots.”

Youssou Ndoye, in his second game of the season, went 3-4 from the field with eight points and a team-high 12 rebounds.

“Youssou is the ultimate team player in my opinion,” says Schmidt. “All he cares about is winning. He didn’t get the ball a lot but his mannerisms were positive and thats what you need from a senior leader.”

For Canisius, Jeremiah Williams carried a team-high 14 points and was a monster from beyond the arc, hitting his first three and going 4-6 overall; sophomore Phil Valenti grabbed 11 boards for the Griffins.

The first two games St. Bonaventure struggled mightily from the free-throw line, shooting 65-percent as a team. 76-percent from the stripe this game has to make Schmidt happy with his young team as they needed every point they could get.

Canisius went into the half with a 30-28 lead, and Bonnies fans perhaps had that nervous feeling in their stomach.

“They made eight threes in the first half so we were happy to only be down by two,” said Schmidt.

This couldn’t be more true, as Canisius went an astounding 8-18 (44.4-percent) in the first half, but the barrage slowed down as Griffins players could hit only two in the second half. (2-7)

Against Siena, many would point to the Bonnies poor offensive execution against the 2-3 zone as the reason why they lost, and there was no doubt Canisius coach Jim Baron was going to let the Bonnies play against a man-to-man defense after the struggle they had Wednesday night.

As the offense has struggled from outside in three games this season, you would expect more teams to play 2-3 zone as the season goes on. Schmidt doubts that.

“In the Atlantic-10 teams won’t play us 2-3 zone,” says Schmidt. “When you’re better athletically than these non-conference teams that’s when they’ll play zone. I’ve been doing this for 27 years and early in the season you see the 2-3 zone.”

“We fought back and blue collared it,” said Schmidt on the victory.

The Bonnies will be at home again Tuesday night as they take on Jackson St. out of Mississippi at 7pm.

 

 

Quick Hitters: Canisius

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Canisius Golden Griffins by a score of 59-53 Saturday afternoon. Some quick hitters from the game:

  • Posley rises to the occasion: Marcus Posley has been the go-to scorer for the Bonnies thus far, and he was clutch again today. Posley scored 20 points, 10 in each half, to pace SBU. His four three-pointers came at the right times for Bonaventure, and his team certainly needed the timely scoring.
  • 28… again: Bonaventure’s offense struggled out of the gate again on Saturday, scoring 28 first-half points for a third consecutive game. The ineffectiveness in the first 20 minutes has been a major issue for Mark Schmidt’s club. They shot 27.6 percent in the first half, a performance that was quickly turned around with a 52.6 percent second half.
  • Wright plays all 40 minutes: Dion Wright played the entire game for Bonaventure, scoring 12 points and adding nine rebounds to play a major part in the win. He remarked that he doesn’t care how many minutes he’s out there, but his impressive improvement from freshman to junior year has been an under-reported story with this team.
  • Jay Adams bounces back: The Bonnies’ freshman point guard had 11 points on 4-8 shooting, including a 3-6 mark from three. After the Siena game many people wished for Charlon Kloof back. While he cannot control the comparisons, he is already beginning to make a name for himself in brown and white.
  • No bench points: Canisius outscored the Bonnies in bench points 26-0; no Bona reserve scored on Saturday. The fact that the only points Bonaventure scored were from the starting five is mind-boggling and almost certainly unprecedented. Depth has become a question mark for SBU with Denzel Gregg still sitting three more games and Jordan Gathers’s return uncertain.
  • Up next: The Bonnies face Jackson State on Tuesday night. It figures to be an easier game than the past two for St. Bonaventure, but they won’t be taking the Tigers for granted.

Men’s basketball: Canisius Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio and Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

The St. Bonaventure-Canisius rivalry adds another chapter tomorrow when the Bonnies and Golden Griffins meet for the 163rd time on Saturday afternoon.

The Bonnies have gotten the better of their Little Three rivals the past two meetings and lead the all-time series 97-65. Who will grab the bragging rights this year? Let’s break it down.

Key players for Canisius:

Zach Lewis- 6-3 sophomore guard. Canisius’ leading scorer is just a sophomore, but has stepped up as the leader for the Golden Griffins this season. Last season, he started 19 of Canisius’ 33 games and made seven threes in his career-high 25 points against Monmouth.

Phil Valenti- 6-7 sophomore forward. The former star at Aquinas Institute in Rochester has averaged 13.5 points per game in the Golden Griffins’ wins against Vermont and Lehigh. There’s no doubt Canisius head coach Jim Baron will be hoping for another big performance from Valenti.

Josiah Heath- 6-9 senior forward. This big man is not a huge threat to score but he has seen his minutes increase to 21 per game this season and will spend most of his time guarding the Bonnies’ much larger big men. He is one of the Golden Griffins’ best defenders, with 46 blocks and 39 steals a year ago.

Key players for St. Bonaventure:

Youssou Ndoye- 7-0 senior center. Ndoye gave the Bonnies the big momentum boost in last year’s meeting with his monster putback dunk on the second SBU possession. In Wednesday’s loss to Siena, he only had four points and didn’t get many touches. Mark Schmidt will be looking for a bigger output from his big man against the Griffins.

Andell Cumberbatch- 6-5 senior guard. Cumberbatch was one of the few bright spots for Bonaventure on Wednesday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for another double-double. When the chips are down offensively, he uses his strength and aggressiveness to keep his team in the game. Look for another big game from 23 on Saturday as he hopes to continue his consistent performance.

Jaylen Adams- 6-1 freshman guard. Coach Schmidt freely admitted after the Siena game that his young point guard did not play well. Growing pains are to be expected for the youngest player to crack Schmidt’s starting five in his time in Olean, but the Bonnies are looking for a performance with more resemblance to the Dartmouth game against Canisius. Adams needs to cut down on turnovers, stay out of foul trouble and have more composure under pressure in order for Bonaventure to get the win.

Key to victory for Canisius: The Reilly Center will be packed and loud Saturday afternoon. Ignoring the noise is the most obvious key for Canisius, perhaps something they struggled with last year in the 86-64 loss to the Bonnies. Another would be making free throws like they have so far at 76 percent on the season compared to the Bonnies’ 65 percent. If this turns into a foul for foul, grind-it-out game, the 1-1 Bonnies could be in trouble.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: It will all come down to execution on Saturday. The Bonnies cannot force up low-percentage shots, be careless with the ball or miss many free throws. Getting good looks, protecting the orange and knocking down the free ones is of utmost importance. The Griffins may have been a better team last year with Billy Baron running the show, but in a rivalry game it doesn’t matter; you have to come out and play your “A” game.

The Prediction: 72-63 Bonnies

Business school expanding to boost enrollments

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

(Second in a series on Bonaventure’s enrollment)

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Feb. 5) — Not long after the paint has dried on the walls of the new Swan Business Center, Pierre Balthazard has plans for expansion of the business school at St. Bonaventure University.

The dean of the business school continues to look for ways to broaden the curriculum of the school. Making that task easier is the fact that the school of 500 students has been one of the few at Bonaventure to maintain somewhat steady enrollments the last few years.

Balthazard said the school is waiting on two new majors to be approved by New York State: engineering management and an online program that gives people who don’t have college degrees an easier opportunity to earn one than regularly attending class on campus.

Continue reading “Business school expanding to boost enrollments”

Men’s basketball: Quick hitters from #Bonnies vs. Canisius game

By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt 

Wright Buckets: Senior guard Matthew Wright, typically known as a 3-point shooter, scored a career-high 27 points—all of which came from inside the arc.

Second-half Domination: The Bonnies outscored the Golden Griffins 44-29 in the second half. They shot 64.5 percent from the field while holding the Griffins to 35.5.

Youssou Takes Flight: 7’0” junior center Youssou Ndoye, had a ridiculous put-back slam off of a missed three by Matt Wright in the opening minutes of the game. The dunk gave the Bonnies enormous momentum going forward. Ndoye also racked up 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Owning the Paint: The Bonnies outscored the Griffins 56-30 in the paint, while scoring a season-high 86 points overall. The most impressive part of this may be that the Bonnies made just one 3-pointer the entire game.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Quick hitters from #Bonnies vs. Canisius game”

Behind The Wolfpack: Bonnies Can’t Overcome History, Fall To Canisius

[Matthew Wright soars for two of his season-high 14 points in St. Bonaventure’s 72-69 loss to Canisius – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

BUFFALO, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt called a timeout with 40 seconds remaining, aiming to draw up a play that would put his team on top of Canisius in the waning seconds.

Over the past four years, there was no decision to make for Schmidt — he had Andrew Nicholson to give the ball to — but no more. There was now a mystery as to who would get the ball on the crucial possession.

However, Canisius countered with a zone, changing the entire play before the Bonnies had a chance. Schmidt barked out his zone offense call, and Charlon Kloof’s 3-pointer went off the back iron, and the Griffins had the ball.

“I think I was the only person in the gym who wanted to go into the zone, my assistants thought I was crazy,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said after his team’s 72-69 victory in front of a sold-out crowd in the Koessler Athletic Center. “As you coach, you have some instincts, and I said I’ll take the hit.”

And once Matthew Wright’s desperation 3-pointer clanked off the right side of the cylinder, the Bona faithful went silent, Canisius fans roared and Baron was a genius.

St. Bonaventure (2-1) dropped its sixth straight contest at Canisius (2-0) with the team’s last win coming during the 1995 season.

“We didn’t take care of the ball and didn’t do a good job of guarding them in the second half,” Schmidt said of his team’s 19 turnovers. “On the road, you cannot do that. They deserved to win.”

Sure, the Bonnies did turn the ball over 19 times, but that was not the difference in the game. The Griffins only scored 12 points off of those turnovers.

The difference in the contest came on defense coupled with the offense failing to score a field goal from the 7:03 mark to 0:06 mark.

“More or less, we lost our edge on defense,” Wright said after his 14-point effort on 6-of-10 shooting. “I don’t think we had a problem scoring. We got whatever shot we wanted, but toward the end of the game, we couldn’t guard.”

Losing an edge on defense? Against one of your biggest rivals?

It shouldn’t have happened, but it did.

And inside the high school-like gym, the 2,196 fans created a hectic scene as they taunted players from their seats, seemingly rattling the Bona squad.

“There’s two baskets and a 10-foot rim — it really doesn’t matter where we play,” Chris Johnson said of the hostile atmosphere. “We got to win the game regardless of where we play.”

“We had no excuse —  it was like a home game for us,” Wright quickly added.

And the game seemed to turn on that timeout with 40 seconds left. Bona shot 50 percent from the field for the game and had four players in double digits, but Schmidt took out his biggest weapon at the most crucial point — Eric Mosley.

“They took Mosley out,” Baron said of the Bona guard who went 4-for-6 from 3-point range in a 14-point effort. “I thought he was their big shooter, and he left the point guard in.”

Without Nicholson on the bench, Schmidt had to go with his hot hand, but neither Mosley or Johnson, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range, were given a chance to bring the Bonnies back.

St. Bonaventure may have a lot of players who are capable of scoring, but the question of who can be the go-to man down the stretch is still a mystery.

And on this night, it could have been Johnson or Mosley, but a critical coaching mistake cost the Bonnies a game they should have won. Tough losses emboldened last year’s squad, but what it will do to this year’s version remains very much a question.

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

Bonnies’ Aim To Surprise Little 3 Rivals

[Photo courtesy of gobonnies.com ]

By Tim Harfmann, Staff Writer, @Timharf

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s cross country teams start their season on Friday as they host rivals Niagara and Canisius in the Little 3 Invitational on the St. Bonaventure golf course.

The Bonnies have not had much success against their Little 3 opponents, but head coach Bob Macfarlane is confident that his team has the potential to change that this season.

“Canisius is going to be very good again. Obviously they’re the favorite, both the men and women. I think we have a legitimate shot to be with them in the mix of it,” said Macfarlane.

Canisius’ men’s team won last year’s Little 3 Invitational for the sixth consecutive year, while their women’s team won for the fifth consecutive year. Although the St. Bonaventure men’s team finished in last, the women’s team placed second for the first time in team history.

This year’s invitational will be different as the men will run a 5K race at 11 a.m. compared to a usual 8K race.

The 2012 men’s cross country team, without senior leadership, is made up of four freshmen, seven sophomores and three juniors, two of whom are out for the season due to injury.

“The men’s race will be very tough,” Macfarlane said, “but I think we have some freshmen that can step up and make a big difference.”

The women’s race is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. and will also be a 5K race, which is their normal distance.

Macfarlane, who is in his third year with the Brown and White, hopes to see the women improve from last year’s second-place finish and believes Kady Weisner, a junior transfer from Bucknell University, could make a huge impact in the race.

“Don’t be surprised if you see Kady Weisner win the race,” Macfarlane said, speaking highly of the Saint Marys, Pa. native, “I’m not taking anything away from the other girls, but we brought (Weisner) in to be our number one runner and she hasn’t disappointed me in that aspect. She’ll be very competitive.”

The 2012 women’s cross country team consists of four freshmen, five sophomores and one junior.

This year’s invitational, which St. Bonaventure hosts once every three years, will be held on the golf course compared to the athletic fields, where it has been held in previous years. Macfarlane does not believe the times in this year’s 5K races will be as fast as last year’s, due to Niagara’s flat course, but believes this year’s hilly course should not be a challenge for the Bonnies.

“During high school, the kids were so used to running on hilly courses. That’s all they ever ran on,” said Macfarlane.

Macfarlane said the goal is for each individual runner to have their best times at the Atlantic 10 Championship on Oct. 27 in Philadelphia. However, the 1977 St. Bonaventure alum believes that it should not stop them from being competitive on Friday.

“Let’s put it this way, if we come in last, I’ll be disappointed,” the head coach said.
After Friday’s Little 3 Invitational, the Bonnies will compete in five other races.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have been predicted to finish last in the Atlantic 10 Conference, according to this year’s preseason rankings.

Is Macfarlane surprised that both teams were predicted to finish in the “basement of the A-10”?

“Historically, we’ve never been out of the basement and when I got hired that was one of the goals, not to be the doormat for every team in the Atlantic 10,” said Macfarlane.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to move up a spot or two in the men’s and the women’s this year.”

Unlike previous seasons, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete on a biweekly basis. Macfarlane said the reason is for training purposes.

“We had a stretch last year where we had three meets in three weeks and by the time we got to the Paul Short Invitational, the team was tired,” said Macfarlane.

This year’s cross country schedule is filled with unfamiliar courses. In fact, the Bonnies have not ran on any courses this season.  

“I wanted to check out new courses and the kids wanted to see different colleges,” Macfarlane said.

St. Bonaventure will compete for the National Catholic Championship at Notre Dame on Sept.14 and then travel to Leesburg, Va. for the Mason Invitational on Sept. 29.

“We’re going to see some A-10 schools at George Mason and it will be nice to see a few more A-10 schools that we normally don’t see,” said Macfarlane.

The Bonnies will have another two weeks off before heading to Gettysburg, Pa. on Oct. 13 for the Gettysburg Invitational.

On Oct. 27, both teams will compete in Philadelphia as Temple hosts this year’s Atlantic 10 Championship. Macfarlane said the top 10 runners from each team will compete and out of the top 10 from each team, the top seven will compete at the Northeast Regionals in Boston, Mass. on Nov. 9.

“It will become more of a competitive thing for the kids to strive for,” Macfarlane said.

harfmatp10@bonaventure.edu