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.

The rivalry of western New York

By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer, @KevSmith88 

The Little Three.

Those three words need no explanation to western New Yorkers.

This rivalry goes back 60 years, involving St. Bonaventure University, Canisius College and Niagara University.

The three schools have 101 miles separating one another, but on the court, it has been nothing but fierce. 

“Many former athletes and alumni here at Bona’s can tell you what they experience from this rivalry and how important it is for them to win every time out,” Senior guard Michael Davenport said. “It is as rich a tradition like anything I’ve witnessed in my college basketball career.”

St. Bonaventure won easily over Canisius (2-9) on Dec. 10, 81-62, but face Niagara (4-8) Friday night at The Gallagher Center.

The Bonnies (6-5) have not defeated the Purple Eagles since 2001, a 10-year drought too much for the Bona faithful and players to endure.

Senior forward Andrew Nicholson said after the 69-61 loss at home last season that he has “no respect” for Canisius’ program after the coach and players took unsportsmanship to another level. 

“(Niagara’s) coach was harping on us during the game — you don’t really see that — but, I mean, I just think as a program, that was disrespectful. I have no respect for what they did that time,” said Nicholson, who had 17 points, 12 rebounds, five turnovers and a technical foul on that Dec. 11 game.

Davenport said the players remember their losing record against their rivals.

“We were 1-2 going into this season against our rival teams,” he said. “We don’t want to leave Bona’s with a losing record against them. If we win our game against Niagara, it would give us bragging rights for the rest of the season.”

Coach Mark Schmidt said it’s important to win each game, regardless of a rivalry.

“There’s a lot that comes out of this rivalry even though it’s not as popular as it used to be back in the day,” he said. “But we still have to make a difference and show we’re the better team come game time.”

Matthew Wright said he is determined to change the outcome from previous seasons.

“I hope for a better outcome when we play these guys every season, especially after last season,” the sophomore said. “The atmosphere is crazy, and I have another couple seasons in which to leave Bona’s with a winning record.”

SBU avoids co-ed housing, Canisius refines it

Male and female Bona students have lived on the same floor, but only on rare situations

By Kelly O’Dell, guest writer

ST. BONAVENTURE (March 24) – On the last selection day of their freshman year, juniors Marissa Morill and Cassie Stubbs entered The Reilly Center, thinking they would be choosing their housing.

With no more rooms available, Morill, Stubbs and about 30 other St. Bonaventure University students wrote their desired roommates on a list.

“We didn’t know where we were living until August — when bills came out,” said Stubbs, a journalism and mass communication major.

Morill and Stubbs lived on Falconio Hall’s first floor — on which both men and women lived — last year.

If it would better utilize available space, the university should implement co-ed floors, said Morill, an education major.

The Residence Life staff creates co-ed floors when necessary to ensure all students have a room.

 “The decision is made strictly based on the numbers (students needing housing) and the space available,” said Chris Brown, St. Bonaventure’s coordinator for residential education and housing.

Matthew Mulville, Canisius College’s director of Residence Life, a university Bonaventure competes with for enrollment, implemented co-ed housing in 1996, creating more flexibility when housing freshmen.

Yearly housing damage fines have decreased, he said.

“Prior to 1996 we averaged about $25,000 in damage fines per year,” Mulville said. “Now it’s more like $3,000.”

Nichole Gonzalez, St. Bonaventure’s director of Residence Life, said the first floor of Falconio, the university’s only co-ed floor, has fewer housing issues than the other single-sex floors.

“I don’t want to say there’s less documentation because it’s co-ed,” she said.

Mulville said women’s behavior influences men’s.

He said the women on co-ed floors do not tolerate immature behavior. Mulville added the men, not wanting to look foolish, do not cause housing damage, decreasing yearly fines.

Andy Malpiedi, ’10, agreed.

“All-guy floors can just be obnoxious,” he said. “If there were girls living on the floors, I think they’d keep it cleaner.”

Sophomore Jessenia Andujar said all-women floors have too much drama.

“I think guys would mellow things out,” the physical education major said.

Freshman Carrie Wozniak agreed.

“I think I would’ve made more friends faster because girls tend to be standoffish when it comes to meeting other girls,” the undeclared major said.

Canisius sophomore Abby Formella said she loved living on a co-ed floor her freshman year.

“This year I am on the only all-girls floor, and I don’t like it as much,” she said. “It’s a lot quieter and cleaner, but it’s not as fun without the boys.

“The guys on our floor watched out for us girls, and sometimes the girls would bake cookies for the guys,” said Formella, a marketing major. “We became like a family.”

Formella said she never felt uncomfortable living with guys.

Stubbs agreed.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I was never worried about anything.”

If St. Bonaventure implemented more co-ed housing, Brown said bathrooms would never be co-ed.

“We also will only consider making a floor co-ed when we can separate the areas and create distinct male and female wings, like in Rob/Fal,” he said.

Brown said Robinson and Falconio halls have doors separating each of the buildings’ three wings. Each wing has its own bathroom.

Gonzalez said students would have the choice to live on a co-ed floor.

“I would hate to see all floors go co-ed,” she said. “I would want to preserve (single-sex floors) for first-year students and upperclassmen.

When Canisius implemented co-ed floors, Mulville said it received grief from some conservative Jesuits only — but none from students or parents.

Gonzalez said the idea of co-ed housing has not been explored at St. Bonaventure.

St. Bonaventure sophomore Mike Terry prefers it that way, too.

“Because we are a Catholic school we are just more conservative,” the political science major said. “No one has felt strongly enough to push for some sort of change.”

Even though it’s not in the immediate university plans, Gonzalez said co-ed housing may happen at St. Bonaventure.

“I don’t want to say it will never be explored in the future,” she said. “It’s not something that’s just mine or Chris Brown’s decision. It would need to go through a lot of different channels.”