NEW: Bonnies rout GW for largest-ever A-10 win

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The George Washington men’s basketball team came to the Reilly Center on Friday looking to pull off an upset over St. Bonaventure. SBU’s red-hot offense made it known early that an upset wasn’t going to happen.

Bona (13-3, 11-3 A-10) erupted for 88 points while shooting 58% from the field and 51% from 3-point range on its way to an 88-41 win over the Colonials (4-11, 3-5 A-10). It was the largest Atlantic 10 win in program history.

Bona junior guard Dominick Welch set the game tempo early by hitting four 3-point shots in the first half. That’s one less than the five triples that Welch hit in the first half at Davidson on Wednesday.

Welch was one of five Bonnies to reach double-digit scoring, as he scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half before sitting for the majority of the second half, as did nearly all of head coach Mark Schmidt’s starters.

“We came off two big wins and it could have been a let-down, we had one day to prepare, but our guys really really responded,” Schmidt said. “It was great to see, and I’m really proud of their effort.”

The Bonnies jumped out to a double-digit lead in the game’s first nine minutes and held it the rest of the way, leading 42-21 at halftime before out-scoring GW 46-20 in the second half.

Bona junior guard Jaren Holmes finished with 18 points, while sophomore guard AJ Vazquez scored 18 off the bench to match Holmes’ game-high total.

“This game was not an easy one at all,” Holmes said. “We just came out and played hard. We played with energy and we were excited to be out here.”

Junior guard Kyle Lofton racked up a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists, while junior forward Jalen Adaway scored 11 points.

“You play one possession at a time, and when you get up by 20 (points), the goal is by the next timeout, you want to be up by 30,” Schmidt said. “You’re up by 30, the goal for the next timeout is you want to be up by 40. That’s how you do it.”

The Bonnies set a new season-high by hitting 15 3-point field goals, which bested the 11 triples they hit in each of their last two games. SBU has now shot over 50% from distance in three-consecutive games.

“It’s always needed,” Schmidt said of his team’s 3-point shooting. “Our guys deserve to make those shots. They’re always in the gym. We were missing (the shots) early in the season, but it wasn’t because we weren’t in the gym working at it. You knew it was going to happen. We have good shooters.”

The Bonnies held the Colonials to 33% shooting from the field and 15% from distance. Jamison Battle led GW with 10 points, while James Bishop, the A-10’s leading scorer entering Friday, was held to six points on 2-of-7 shooting.

“That’s the staple,” Schmidt said of his defense. “That’s how you win. We’re not going to shoot 15-for-29 (from distance) every game. You win championships, you win at this level, by playing defense and rebounding. Our guys understand that.”

With the win, SBU remained undefeated at home and stepped one win closer to the regular-season Atlantic 10 championship title. With a win over Dayton on Monday, the Bonnies can clinch at least a share of the A-10 regular-season title, as well as the top seed in next week’s conference tournament.

“If you take care of your business, everything is fine,” Schmidt said. “We control our own destiny. Even though it’s the last game of the regular season, we prepare the same way for everybody.”

With one game left in its regular season, St. Bonaventure controls its own destiny. After Friday’s win, nearly the entire Bona team crowded around a baseline camera. Each player pointed one finger in the air, signifying the final victory that the team needs to clinch the A-10’s top spot.

“It just feels good to get another win and (be) one step closer to an A-10 regular-season championship,” Holmes said. “We’re on a mission right now. I think we’re completely locked in as a team, and as a family.”

After sweeping Davidson, Bonnies look for strong finish to regular season

photo courtesy of Tim Cowie/gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — After a challenging start to the week, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team is back home to wrap up the regular season and prepare for the postseason. However, the position that the Bonnies are currently stands in did not come without adversity.  

Though his teammates have urged him to hunt for his shot offensively, Bona junior guard Jalen Adaway has hesitated to take that step in his game. Wednesday night may have given him the push he needed.  

“He was hesitant all game. He really struggled,” said Bona head coach Mark Schmidt. “We always talk about dealing with adversity, and he dealt with it.” 

Adaway dealt with this adversity by sinking the go-ahead 3-pointer that sealed St. Bonaventure’s (12-3, 10-3 A-10) regular-season sweep of the Davidson Wildcats (11-7, 6-4 A-10) in a 56-53 victory. Adaway finished with 14 points on 6-of-16 shooting from the field, but believed he could perform better. 

“Sometimes I can be hesitant,” Adaway said. “I’m looking forward to watching more film today so I can correct those mistakes.” 

Overcoming adversity was a key theme for St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night, and Adaway’s heroics were a microcosm of that. After a 9-for-15 start from beyond the arc, the Bonnies went cold. After several long scoring droughts in the final 15 minutes, they saw a 14-point advantage dwindle and the Wildcats found their way back into the game.  

“We could have folded…. we missed some shots, we weren’t executing, missed a lot of layups,” SBU head coach Mark Schmidt said. “It didn’t affect our defense and that’s why we won.” 

As the final buzzer sounded after the win, the adversity was overcome as jubilant coaches, players and managers dashed to embrace one another on Bob McKillop Court at Belk Arena.  

“It was a very good win… it was an up and down game and they came back,” said junior guard Dominick Welch, who secured the game-winning rebound. “We’re all just in an exciting spot right now, we’re all just really happy and motivated.” 

The Bonnies head home now, and will look to stay motivated when they conclude their regular season with a pair of home games, the first coming against the George Washington Colonials on Friday.  

This is the final scheduled regular-season game for a GW team that is coming off a 63-58 loss to George Mason on Wednesday night.  

The Colonials’ 4-10 overall and 3-4 Atlantic 10 record hardly possesses an intimidation factor, but the Colonials have the leading scorer in the A-10 in James Bishop and the fifth leading scorer in Jamison Battle, who average 20.1 and 18.3 points per game, respectively.  

After holding preseason all-conference guard Kellan Grady to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in their last game, the Bonnies will look to carry this defensive momentum into their next matchup.  

“Just attention to detail,” Adaway said. “I think it’s the same mentality going into tomorrow’s matchup. I think we are going to be locked in, and just play from start to finish.” 

Given the offensive ability of the Colonials, they do, however, pose one of the weaker defenses in the league. They are 10th in the A-10 in defensive field goal percentage and defensive three-point field goal percentage. With the Bonnies’ hot shooting from deep as of late, this could be an area where Schmidt’s team attacks. St. Bonaventure has shot 52.4% from 3-point range in its last two contests.  

“It’s really good to see all our shots starting to fall,” Welch said. “We have guys that can really shoot on the team.” 

Bona will tip off against the Colonials Friday night at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN+. 

“We used to be the hunter, now we are the hunted,” Welch said. “So we know we are going to get every team’s best shot.” 

Bonnies “having fun” despite erratic A-10 schedule

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — If frustration had overtaken the St. Bonaventure locker room by now, it would be understandable.

The SBU men’s basketball team has endured over three months of scheduling changes, including more than a dozen game postponements or cancelations. With less than a week remaining in the regular season, however, the Bonnies are just “having fun.”

“It’s always a good time with these guys,” said junior guard Jaren Holmes after the Bonnies beat Davidson on Sunday. “There’s always energy and always laughs, so it’s a great time.”

Holmes, who has averaged 14.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season, scored a game-high 19 points against the Wildcats.

“It’s ultimately just fun,” Holmes said. “We want to go out there and play loose and have energy. I think the vibe right now is that we’re not done.”

Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said that the passion with which his players compete shows him that they enjoy playing the game.

“When you play a game that you love, you’d better have fun,” Schmidt said. “If you have fun, you’re going to play better. If you’re stressed out and all that stuff, then it’s really hard to perform.”

Often times, as Schmidt said, the fun comes from winning. And the Bonnies have done a lot of that this year.

Ahead of its Wednesday rematch with Davidson at Belk Arena, SBU sits tied atop the Atlantic 10 standings with VCU, each of which is 9-3 in conference play this season. The Bonnies have three chances left to improve upon that record, as they host George Washington on Friday and Dayton on Monday after returning from Davidson.

“We have veteran guys that really understand what it takes to win,” Schmidt said. “I’m lucky to have the opportunity to coach these guys. They do have fun, but at the same time, they’re highly competitive.”

Bona’s NCAA tournament hopes remain alive just over a week before the start of the A-10 tournament, but Holmes said that the team’s focus does not span further than its next game.

“We’re not really paying attention to (the bubble) or if we have a chance at the tournament,” Holmes said. “We’re just trying to accomplish the goals that we set as a team.”

NEW: Lofton, Holmes use perimeter shooting to lead Bonnies over Davidson

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team hadn’t beaten Davidson in 1,090 days.

A driving force behind SBU’s four-game losing streak to Davidson (11-6, 6-3 A-10) had been the Wildcats’ perennially consistent 3-point shooting. On Sunday, however, the Bonnies (11-3, 9-3 A-10) used perimeter shooting to their advantage as they shot 52% beyond the arc in a 69-58 win over Davidson at the Reilly Center.

The Bonnies were 11-for-21 from 3-point range, with each of their three starting guards shooting over 50% from distance. Kyle Lofton scored a game-high 19 points while shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Jaren Holmes was 5-for-7 from deep in an 18-point performance, while Dominick Welch shot 3-for-5 from distance on his way to nine points.

“You can go 9-for-11 sitting in the gym by yourself, but to do that in this type of environment against that type of team says a lot about our players,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said.

The trio of caught fire in the second half, shooting 9-for-11 (81.8%) from distance in the second stanza. The Bonnies built their first double-digit lead of the game halfway through the second half when two 3-pointers by Holmes were followed by back-to-back triples from Lofton to put the Bonnies up by 10.

“They’re a joy to coach,” Schmidt said of Holmes and Lofton. “They hit big shots. They deserve to have success because they’re always in the gym working. At times, they haven’t shot the ball well from the perimeter. They don’t stop working and they deserve to have those shots go down.”

Jalen Adaway and Osun Osunniyi each scored eight points for SBU, while Jalen Shaw added five points off the bench in the first half when Osunniyi sat for 10 minutes due to foul trouble.

Despite how well Bona shot the ball, Davidson hit more 3-pointers than SBU did, finishing at 13-for-37 (35%) from distance. Hyunjung Lee was 6-for-9 from deep to account for his 18 points, while three other Wildcats hit multiple triples in the game. Kellan Grady, the team’s leading scorer, racked up 18 points while shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-8 from the perimeter.

“Even though they made 13 threes, I thought we did a decent job defensively,” Schmidt said. “Holding that team to 58 points is a heck of a performance.”

Schmidt said that defense and rebounding were two “critical areas” of the game, and his team out-played the Wildcats in both of them. The Bonnies finished with a 39-25 rebounding advantage over the Wildcats while holding them to under 40% shooting from the field, something that Schmidt has repeatedly referred to as a goal of his each game.

“They’re going to make some shots, but you can’t give them two or three opportunities,” Schmidt said. “I always say, you’ve got to defend, you’ve got to rebound, take care of the basketball and make your foul shots. I thought we did that stuff.”

Before Sunday, SBU’s last win over Davidson came in February 2018, when Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Courtney Stockard combined for 98 points to lead the Bonnies to a triple-overtime victory. The past two seasons, Davidson had out-scored SBU by a combined 56 points in three games.

“The last two years, they got us, and they got us big,” Lofton said. “As a competitor, you don’t want that to happen. The key was just to bring the energy from the start and play with confidence. We did that today.”

The Bonnies and Wildcats will meet again in just three days at Belk Arena in Davidson, North Carolina, where Schmidt’s team will look to complete a regular-season sweep of Davidson for the first time since 2015-16.

“They’re going to make some adjustments, just like we are,” Schmidt said. “They’re not going to allow us to shoot 81% from threes and hopefully we don’t allow them to hit 13 threes. In terms of the scout, it makes it easier. Our guys know them.”

Bona has three games remaining on its schedule before the start of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Schmidt’s team faces three games in six days before heading to Richmond on March 3 to begin the tournament, which was moved up a week from its originally scheduled dates (other than the final).

“Our guys have put themselves in a situation where these games are really important,” Schmidt said. “There are some teams in this country that can’t wait until the season’s over because they aren’t playing for anything. Our guys have done a great job with the pandemic… and now we’re going to try to finish it.”

PREVIEW: Bonnies look to boost tournament resume, snap four-game skid against Davidson

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The last time the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team beat Davidson, it took 55 minutes of game time, three 30-point scorers and four Bonnies fouling out.

That was SBU’s 117-113 triple-overtime victory over the Wildcats in February 2018. Since then, the Wildcats have enjoyed a four-game winning streak over the Bonnies. On Sunday, Davidson (11-5, 6-2 A-10) will look to extend its winning streak over SBU (10-3, 8-3 A-10) at the Reilly Center.

“The last couple times we’ve played Davidson, we haven’t done a good job of keeping the ball in front of us,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “They made 13 threes last year and 15 against us the year before. If they make those numbers and shoot 50% from 3-pointers, it’s going to be a long night.”

Since Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Courtney Stockard combined to score 98 points and beat a Peyton Aldridge-led Wildcats team just under three years ago, Bob McKillop’s team has dominated SBU. The Wildcats bounced the second-seeded Bonnies out of the A-10 tournament later that season, have beat them by a combined 56 points in their three meetings since.

The Wildcats swept a two-game season series in 2018-19, edging SBU at the Reilly Center in early February before beating up on the Bonnies in an ugly, low-scoring Belk Arena game toward the end of the regular season.

Last year, a much-anticipated primetime game at the RC turned sour quickly for the Bonnies when Davidson scored 47 points in the first half and shot 13-for-26 from 3-point range in the game to blow SBU out.

“You just can’t give them open looks,” Schmidt said. “You need to make them earn contested shots. It’s imperative that we get the ball in front of us so that they’re not getting the ball in the paint and knocking down kick-out threes.”

This year, each team finds itself on the NCAA tournament “bubble,” and a win would assist either side’s tournament resume. Until Friday, Davidson hadn’t played a game in nearly a month after COVID-19 concerns had caused a string of six postponements. The Wildcats hosted Southern Virginia, a Division III team, on Friday before traveling to SBU.

The importance of the Wildcats’ matchup with SBU was heightened on Wednesday when the A-10 announced that it would be playing its men’s basketball championship tournament a week earlier than scheduled, leaving one less week for teams to make up games that have previously been postponed.

“I think what they’re doing it smart, and I don’t know all of the details,” Schmidt said. “I know that they’re trying to move it up so if a team gets the virus, there’s time for them to get through it.”

The tournament’s championship game will be played as planned, however, on NCAA “selection Sunday.”

“It will be interesting what you do for that week,” Schmidt said. “This year has been challenging and unique, and this is another situation where it’s the first time. Hopefully we’ll have that opportunity.”

Davidson out-scores its opponents by an average score of 74-64, and does so with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces to Bona fans. Senior guard Kellan Grady, who scored 39 points and shot 16-for-16 from the free-throw line in the Bona/Davidson triple-overtime game as a freshman, leads the Wildcat offense with 17.9 points per game this season.

Sophomore guard Hyunjung Lee, who scored 14 points at the Reilly Center last season, averages 13.3 points per game. Senior guard Carter Collins checks in at 13 points per game, while junior forward Luka Brajkovic averages 10.1 points per game.

“We have to do a good job on transition defense,” Schmidt said. “We have to take care of the basketball so they’re not getting out on the break and getting three’s in transition. If you give these guys open looks, they’re high-quality 3-point shooters.”

Bona boasts its own starting lineup of five double-digit scorers, including a team-high 15.4 points per game by junior guard Kyle Lofton, but will need to slow down a Davidson offense that has averaged 85 points per game against SBU in the teams’ previous six meetings. Of course, the triple-overtime game construes that number somewhat, but Davidson has scored over 80 points in four of those games.

Sunday’s game is scheduled to tip-off at 3:30 p.m., and will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Network.

“Our guys have done a good job of turning the page and going on to the next game,” Schmidt said. “We’re lucky to have an experienced team that can deal with it.”

Bona women beat Davidson on back-to-back nights

photo: Connor Raine/The Intrepid

By Connor Raine

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY —  The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team put up over 70 points on back-to-back nights against Davidson. 

After defeating the Wildcats at home on Sunday, 71-58, the Bonnies once again hosted Davidson on Monday night in the second half of a back-to-back at the Reilly Center. 

This season has been a tough one for the Bonnies, who currently sit at 11th in the Atlantic 10 conference with a 4-10 record. However, the team’s record doesn’t show for the chemistry displayed this weekend to sweep the doubleheader.  

After winning big on Sunday, the Bonnies returned to the court with slow start on Monday, as they trailed 15-7 after the first quarter. The Bonnies shot only 27% from the field in the first quarter. This was their lowest shooting percentage (by quarter) from the field in the contest. 

The Bonnies were able to make up some ground in the second quarter, converting on 46% of their shot attempts from the field. The Bonnies trailed only by four points going into halftime.  

“Today we came out a little flat,” said St. Bonaventure head coach Jesse Fleming. “I was proud to see us battle back.” 

Led by Asianae Johnson, who scored points 20 points and collected and two assists, the Bonnies were able to bounce back and secure the victory late in the third quarter where they were leading by as many as 12 points.  

“It is amazing to win back-to-back, our team had to play 80 minutes in two days,” said Johnson, a junior guard. 

Also contributing to the scoring was I’yanna Lops with 13 points and seven rebounds, and Tori Harris contributed with critical 3-pointers in the game, totaling 12 points and seven rebounds. Jurnee President and Deja Francis each had 11 points.   

Johnson was named A-10 player of the week this past week for her double-digit scoring performances against Saint Louis and Dayton. 

“At the end of the day I am proud of my accomplishments, I have been putting in so much work and everyone can see it,” said Johnson.  

This accomplishment was well deserved, as Johnson also had a career night Sunday in the first game of the double header, shooting 8-for-11 from the field totaling 18 points. Johnson is now averaging 14 points per game on the season and shooting 47% from the field. 

“Well deserving (of her accomplishment),” Fleming said. “I don’t think she has missed a day since the end of July when we returned to campus. She couldn’t shoot outside of three feet a year ago, now she has a very strong pull up jumper.” 

The Bonnies look to continue their two-game winning streak as they travel to Fairfax, Virginia on Friday evening to take on the 3-14 the Gorge Mason Patriots. The Patriots are currently 0-10 in league play and are sitting in last place in the A-10 conference.  

On Sunday, the lady Bonnies will take on George Washington in Washington D.C, which will conclude a two-game road trip. Gorge Washington is currently 1-9 in conference play and 4-12 overall sitting at 13th in the A-10. 

“We have to find a way to win on the road,” Fleming said.  

Three out of the four Bonnies wins this season have come at home. The Bonnies are looking to flip the switch and gain two wins on the road and are coming into the weekend road trip with momentum after winning two straight against Davidson.  

Atlantic 10 men’s basketball preview, part one

photo: David Kohl/USA Today Sports

By Anthony Goss, Ryan Surmay and Peter Byrne

The 2020-21 college basketball season begins on Wednesday, with several Atlantic 10 teams scheduled to begin play over the holiday weekend.

This article is the first of a two-part series highlighting each A-10 team other than St. Bonaventure, which was previewed several weeks ago. After each team completes its respective non-conference schedule, A-10 play is scheduled to begin in late December.

Davidson Wildcats
2019-20 Record: 16-14 
Best Player: Kellan Grady 

For a team known for its precision and consistency, Davidson dealt with many issues last season in terms of injuries and unexpected departures.

This offseason, the Wildcats lost guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson, the 2018-19 A-10 player of the year. Despite a slump early last season, Kellan Grady has shown he has the capability of leading a Wildcat offense that operates on motion and ball movement.

Grady can score the ball at all levels, and his shot is deadly from beyond the arc. Grady will be surrounded by Hyunjung Lee and Michael Jones, who can both knock down three-pointers as well. Luka Brajkovic will shoulder most of the work inside with his skillset inside as a low-post scorer.

Defense will be the issue for Davidson, as it usually is in most seasons, and rough nights on offense could get ugly during A-10 play. However, guarding this offense presents a daunting task for opposing teams.  

Dayton Flyers
2019-20 Record: 29-2
Best Player: Jalen Crutcher

First of all, what a season for the Flyers in 2019-20. They had a legitimate shot to win the NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed. Those chances do not come very often for A-10 teams.

With that being said, the Flyers lost some major talent heading into this season. The big loss is Obi Toppin, the Naismith Player of the Year who was selected No. 8 overall in this year’s NBA draft by the New York Knicks. Dayton also lost Trey Landers and Ryan Mikesell to graduation, a duo who combined to average just under 20 points a game last year. That’s a total of 40 points per game lost. However, the Flyers return Jalen Crutcher, who is arguably the best player in the league heading into this season. They also bring back two guards in Ibi Watson and Rodney Chatham who each should put up double digits points per game. Lastly, Dayton also loves what they see from 6’11 transfer Jordy Thiamine from Nebraska. He should be a force down low for the Flyers.

All in all, this team returns enough talent and solid newcomers to compete for a top-four spot in the conference. Will they go 18-0 again? Doubtful. However, this team is definitely good enough to win 12 or 14 games in the A-10. 

Duquesne Dukes 
2019-20 Record: 21-9 
Best Player: Marcus Weathers 

Since Keith Dambrot took over as head coach, Duquesne has gotten better every season. This upcoming season should be no different, as the Dukes return every starter and seven of their top eight scorers from last year’s team that won 21 games.

They are led by 6-8 forward Marcus Weathers, who averaged 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season. Something to look out for with the Dukes is their offensive efficiency under Dambrot. Last season, they had the fourth-most efficient offense in the A-10 behind Dayton, Richmond and Davidson. Duquesne only scored less than 60 points in only three games last season, so they’re a team that is not afraid of a shootout.

After being picked fifth in the league’s preseason poll,, it is more than fair to say that the Dukes could sneak into the top four when the regular season ends.

Fordham Rams
2019-20 Record: 9-22 
Best Player: Chuba Ohams 

After yet another season of single-digit wins and another last-place conference finish with two A-10 wins, it’s safe to say the Fordham basketball program has taken another step backwards. This season, Fordham will be faced with filling the void left from the graduation of its starting backcourt of Antwon Portley (10.4 points per game) and Erten Gazi (8.9 points per game).

The Rams will look toward Chuba Ohams, a redshirt junior, to continue his success from last season after a knee injury suffered during warmups in January ended his campaign prematurely. Before going down, he averaged 11 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest. While their record may not have shown it, their games last season only had a -3.1 point differential, which gives optimism for Fordham fans coming into this season.

Going into his sixth season with the Rams, head coach Jeff Neubauer’s teams have only gotten progressively worse in conference play, winning eight, seven, four, three and two games per season, respectively. Once again, Fordham was the preseason pick to finish last in the A-10.

George Mason Patriots
2019-20 Record: 17-15 
Best Player: AJ Wilson 

Last season, George Mason constantly adjusted its style of play on the fly to accommodate Justin Kier’s injuries. The inconsistency resulting from this spoiled a historic 11-1 start.

With Kier now gone, the Patriots now turn to redshirt senior AJ Wilson, along with Javon Greene and Jordan Miller, to make some noise in the A-10. Wilson likes to operate from the top of the key, and while he prefers going right, he has the strength to finish around the rim on both sides. Wilson does not hunt a three-point shot off the dribble, preferring to shoot off of a screen or a drive-and-kick.

Last season, the Patriots pressed more often than most teams. This defensive mindset should remain this season, but head coach Dave Paulsen’s emphasis on conservative defensive principles will be noticeable for GM. With a crowded field at the top of the conference, it might be hard for the Patriots to move up much this season, but expect them to play spoiler against conference foes with Wilson as the catalyst.

George Washington Colonials
2019-20 Record: 12-20
Best Player: Jameer Nelson Jr.

This is the second year of the Jamion Christian era, and his mark is already being put on the George Washington program. Christian returns budding young talent in Jameer Nelson Jr., Chase Paar and Jamison Battle, who all played together last season.

Christian also brought in several pieces from the transfer market, notably Sloan Seymour and Brandon Leftwich, who played for him at Siena and Mount St. Mary’s, respectively. George Washington’s offense emphasizes shooting, and the bigs will look to stretch out the floor. Look for Nelson Jr. and the rest of the guards to attack in pick-and-roll action, as the Colonials led the nation in such sets last season and it will likely generate most of their offense this year.

Don’t expect a major jump in the standings, as this team simply is not ready to compete at the top of the A-10. But, with Christian’s emphasis on player development, expect to see the core at George Washington to develop toward a bright future.

La Salle Explorers
2019-20 Record: 15-15
Best Player: David Beaty

Last year, the Explorers finished near the bottom of the pack in the A-10, tied for 10th. They finished the season with a .500 record at 15-15, but struggled in conference play, going 6-12.

To make matters worse, the Explorers lost their best player to the transfer portal in Ed Croswell. Croswell averaged 10.4 points and 7.6 boards for LaSalle last season. Furthermore, the Explorers also lost two senior starters in Isiah Deas and Saul Phiri. The two impact starters that remain are senior David Beaty and Scott Spencer, who combined to average about 20 points per game last season.

The Explorers were picked to finish 13th in the preseason poll, so it could be a rocky year in Philly for coach Ashley Howard and his team.

Davidson dominates second half to beat Bonnies

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

by Keara Donnelly

A much anticipated Atlantic 10 rivalry game Friday night on ESPN2 ended with the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (8-13) falling short to the Davidson Wildcats (16-5), 75-66, after a disappointing second half at the Reilly Center.

The Bonnies led the Wildcats by 10 at halftime, but only scored 22 points after the Wildcats switched to zone defense. The Wildcats shot 8-15 from beyond the arc to earn the win. They started the second half on a 14-4 run.

It was tight match up until Davidson’s Kellan Grady took control with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Wildcats a 64-57 lead with under four minutes left. Jon Axel Gudmundsson followed with consecutive three-pointers to give the Wildcats an 11-point lead with under two minutes left to secure the win.  

The Wildcats’ strong defense caused the Bonnies to shoot 8-27 from the field in the second half. The Wildcats were 13-26.

“(In the second half) as you start missing, the rim gets smaller and things get tighter,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “Our guys didn’t quit, we just didn’t play 40 minutes and that’s what you have to do when you play a good team like Davidson.”

Kyle Lofton led the Bonnies with 24 points, tying his season high.

“(Lofton) plays with a poise, he plays with that swagger,” said Schmidt. “Not overconfidence, but he knows that he can make plays. He’s a good player, and he’s going to be a really good player.”

St. Bonaventure travels to the A.J Palumbo Center on Wednesday, Feb. 6 to face the Duquesne Dukes (15-6) at 7:30 p.m.