Men’s basketball: Atlantic 10 Week in Review 1/18-1/24

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

After three weeks of Atlantic 10 play, we have a scenario that many envisioned at the season’s commencement: an absolute logjam in the middle of the standings. Seven teams have an in-conference winning percentage over .500, while VCU is the only perfect team left.

Here are the current standings:

Team Conference Overall
VCU 7-0 15-5
Dayton 6-1 16-3
St. Joe’s 5-1 16-3
George Washington 4-2 15-4
St. Bonaventure 4-3 12-6
Davidson 3-3 11-6
Rhode Island 3-3 11-8
Duquesne 3-4 13-7
Saint Louis 3-4 8-11
Richmond 2-3 10-7
Fordham 2-5 11-7
UMass 1-5 8-10
La Salle 1-5 5-12
George Mason 1-6 7-13

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Atlantic 10 Week in Review 1/18-1/24”

Women’s basketball: Bonnies start challenging road trip at Dayton

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

 

Men’s basketball: Bonnies’ furious rally falls short against Dayton

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The age-old saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” was flipped on Tuesday night at the Reilly Center when the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and Dayton Flyers faced off.

On this night, the final result, an 85-79 Dayton win, had everything to do with how Bona started the game.

The Bonnies stared a 45-18 deficit in the face as they headed into the locker room at halftime, a performance that had a portion of the previously-fired up student section heading for the exits. It looked like the second half was going to feature more of the same, as Dayton led by 31 points with 13:07 remaining.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bonnies’ furious rally falls short against Dayton”

Men’s basketball: Quick Hitters- Dayton

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

Slow out the gate: The RC was packed, the students were loud and the Bonnies were strolling into the game at a solid 12-4. The feeling in the air was that with the students back, the Bonnies would secure a thirteenth win tonight. Then, when Dayton took a 45-18 lead into the locker room at half, you could feel the confidence of the Bonnies fans dwindle.

Posley not enough: Marcus Posley, the clear leader on this Bonnies team, came into the game averaging 18 points per game and had another huge game tonight. Posley was 12-of-23 from the field, including five threes— with 31 points total.

Where was the D?: Bonaventure’s defense has struggled this year, however it’s usually hard to notice because the Bonnies offense normally is hitting on all angles. Tonight, with just 18 points for the Bonnies offense in the first half, the spotlight revealed some of the defense’s weaknesses, with 45 points allowed in the first half and 40 points in the second.

Second half fireworks: A 61 point second half for the Bonnies was not enough to secure a “W” at home, but it did show just how capable this offense is of catching fire; it all comes down to if the shooters are hitting from beyond the arc. In the first half, the Bonnies were 1-of-10 from deep, with Dion Wright connecting on the only three, but a 10-of-18 second half from three sparked a huge run for the Bonnies that almost gave them the key win.

Cooke was cooking: Charles Cooke III led a deep Flyers team in points with 21. He couldn’t miss early and went on to shoot 7-of-10 from the field, including a 4-for-5 mark from beyond the arc.

Key Postgame Quotes:

“Those guards are as good as anyone in the country.” – Coach Archie Miller on Posley and Adams

“I thought the game was lost with 10 minutes left in the first half.” – Coach Mark Schmidt

Men’s basketball: Bonnies return home to host Dayton in Whiteout

(Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies and Dayton Flyers come into Tuesday night’s game in the Reilly Center with identical Atlantic 10 records, but make no mistake: Bona is the team with more to prove.

Dayton has won 20 or more games in seven of the last eight years and is 102-50 since Archie Miller was hired as head coach in 2011. The Flyers have defeated the brown and white in five straight games, the last Bona win coming in Jan. 2012, when star big man Andrew Nicholson had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

After a surprising loss to La Salle on Jan. 9 bounced them out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Flyers bounced back with wins over Davidson and George Washington, two of the league’s top contenders.

Miller’s team is currently tenth in the nation in Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which takes winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage into account. The Bonnies are 51st in that index, good for fifth in the league.

What makes the Flyers the arguable class of the conference? The key to their success is represented in their slogan, “True Team.” Not many teams play with more unity and unselfishness than Dayton, who has four players averaging in double figures and averages 15.2 assists per game.

“There’s a reason they’re successful: they have really good players, they play together and they’re well-coached,” said SBU coach Mark Schmidt.

After losing leading scorer Jordan Sibert to graduation at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, there were questions about who would take control of the “True Team” scoring load. The logical answer over the summer would have been 6-foot-6 senior forward Dyshawn Pierre, who averaged 12.7 points last season.

In September, however, Pierre’s future at Dayton was uncertain after he was suspended from school after an investigation into allegations of sexual assault that were reported in May. Pierre was not charged with a crime and sued the school, but his ban was upheld and he missed all but one non-conference game.

In Pierre’s absence, junior Charles Cooke, a transfer from James Madison, became the team’s leading scorer. He is currently averaging 15.7 points a game on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor, including a 43 percent mark from three-point range.

It’s still early in the A-10 slate, but Cooke is not far behind from Sibert’s offensive output last season, and he averages about three more rebounds a game as well. The seamless transition is a major reason his team is 14-3.

“He’s as good as Sibert was,” Schmidt said. “He shoots (43 percent) from three, he takes guys off the dribble and he’s bigger than Sibert. He may be better than Sibert, so he presents a lot of problems.”

Cooke is exceeding expectations, aided by All-A-10 candidates Kendall Pollard and Scoochie Smith, but Pierre is still the main attraction after scoring 26 points and grabbing five rebounds in the win over George Washington. 15 of those 26 points came by way of the three-ball, providing a glimpse into a part of his game that isn’t always on display; last year he attempted about three triples a game, while he is averaging about five tries from behind the arc so far this year.

“He’s a big difference; he makes them that much better,” said Schmidt. “He can shoot the ball from the perimeter, he can pass the ball, he can defend the post… they can do different things with him than they can with the other guys. With him, they’re a much better team.”

Sophomore point guard Jaylen Adams was forced to watch two of the three games against Dayton last season from the bench due to finger surgery, and the one he was able to play in was a 17-point drubbing at the Reilly.

Bona’s 0-3 record against Miller, Pierre and co. since he set foot on campus motivated Adams, who said, “that’s incentive enough; we’ve gotta beat them.”

“This is a very important game,” Adams continued. “I think we’ve got to establish that we’re for real in the league and that our wins aren’t jokes in any way. This is a big-time game.”

The Bonnies will get an extra boost on Tuesday night in the form of their Wolfpack student section. The game is being billed as a “Whiteout,” with the first 800 students receiving a white shirt to wear and all fans being encouraged to wear the color.

SBU went 4-0 at home when the students were on break, but Adams cracked a smile when he discussed the section’s return.

“We’ve got the zoo back, so it’s good to have the students back in full effect,” he said.

“I think we’re a tough team to beat when they’re loud.”

Men’s basketball: Bonnies lose to Dayton in heartbreaking fashion

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies won some thrilling nail-biters in the 2014-15 basketball season. On Friday night, however, they just didn’t have enough as they fell 75-71 to the Dayton Flyers in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.

Unlike Thursday night’s game against St. Joseph’s, the Bonnies had a very strong first half. They shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including a 4-of-9 mark from long range. Dion Wright, who had made one three all season before the game, hit two triples in the span of two minutes to give Bona a huge boost. Marcus Posley led all scorers with 16 points going into the break, including two threes and 4-of-4 foul shooting.

Wright was able to continue his incredible shooting night in the second half, when he hit two more threes and scored 12 more points, giving himself 24 for the game. Posley added 10 more points in the second half to give himself a team-leading of 26.

“Dion couldn’t have played better, Marcus couldn’t have played better,” Schmidt said.

“Coming into the game, we knew the game plan,” Posley said. “We knew we were going to have to shoot the ball a lot better than we did the first two times we met them and depend on the three-point line.”

Bona led 67-66 with a minute and a half to go when Andell Cumberbatch saw his layup roll out and Flyers guard Jordan Sibert hit a three to put Dayton up three with a minute to go. On Bona’s next possession, Denzel Gregg was unable to connect with Posley on a pass, resulting in a Sibert steal and score to put the Flyers up five.

Posley went up the middle for a quick layup with 39 seconds to play, followed by an intentional foul that sent Sibert to the line. He made one of two and Posley made a layup to cut the Flyer lead to one. Sibert made one of two foul shots once again, giving SBU one more possession down 73-71. Posley drove to the basket but Kendall Pollard stole the ball, leading to a Kyle Davis layup to ice the game for Dayton.

“Seeing the gap, (I) thought I could make a basket,” Posley said. “Unfortunately he got his hand on the ball.

“Unfortunately it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to, but proud of the guys. It was a great effort today.”

Bona committed 16 turnovers in total, eight more than the Flyers. The lack of ball protection was a large part of Bonaventure’s undoing in the end.

Unless the Bonnies accept an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI), which they did not do last year, this game was the last in the college careers of seniors Youssou Ndoye, Andell Cumberbatch and Chris Dees.

Ndoye, who was hobbled by a knee injury for much of the game, finishes his four-year Bonaventure career with 967 career points, 697 rebounds and 204 blocks. Cumberbatch and Dees were junior college transfers. Cumberbatch scored 558 points over his two years and Dees scored 85 in his.

“(It’s) most disappointing for the seniors because you know it’s the end and (you know) how much work you put in… and you build up such great relationships with them,” Schmidt said.

The Bonnies finish the season at 18-13. They made the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in two of the last three years.

Men’s basketball: A-10 Awards

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The Atlantic 10 Tournament is less than a week away. Before the conference converges on Brooklyn, it’s time to hand out some awards. The Intrepid doesn’t have an official ballot, but here’s how I would vote on each league honor:

Player of the Year: DeAndre Bembry, St. Joseph’s. I originally had Dayton’s Jordan Sibert winning this award because he’s the best player on the team I think is the best in the conference. However, the award is for the best overall player in the conference, and Bembry has been just that this year. The sophomore leads the league in scoring at 17.8 points per game and averages 3.5 assists a contest. He has scored or assisted on 45 percent of his team’s baskets, which is absolutely insane, and he’s seventh in rebounds as well at 7.9 a game. The Hawks aren’t the best team in the A-10 by any means, but Bembry has kept them afloat; there’s no way they are 7-10 in the league without him. All those factors make the St. Joe’s forward the Player of the Year.

Honorable mention: Sibert, Jordan Price (LaSalle), E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island)

Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Martin, Rhode Island. Martin leads the league in blocks at 3.14 a game and is eighth in rebounding at 7.7 a contest. He has had nine games with double-digit rebounds and six games with five or more blocks. All the more impressive: he has more blocks (88) than personal fouls (73). The sophomore’s most impressive game this year was against La Salle on Jan. 22, when he registered 10 blocks and nine rebounds to go with his 14 points. You don’t see a forward come a rebound short of a triple-double every day, but Martin is not your average forward. He should take home the hardware.

Honorable mention: Shevon Thompson (George Mason), Youssou Ndoye (SBU)

Rookie of the Year: Christian Sengfelder, Fordham. If Jaylen Adams hadn’t missed the last third of the conference slate due to injury he would have definitely been the front-runner, but Sengfelder had an incredible freshman season as well. He led a young Rams team in rebounds (7.3 a game) and field goal percentage (49 percent) while playing just under 34 minutes a game. Teammate Eric Paschall has a strong chance at this award as well after leading the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game, but Sengfelder’s defense will likely give him the upper hand.

Honorable mention: Paschall, Adams

Most Improved Player: Kendall Pollard, Dayton. Pollard went from playing 8.5 minutes a game to playing 28.6, and he made the most of his increased workload. He scored 12.4 points a game after scoring just 2.2 last year and grabbed 5.5 boards a game as opposed to averaging 1.3 last season. His improvement was certainly necessary after the December dismissals of Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson left the Flyers with just seven scholarship players.

Honorable mention: Jack Gibbs (Davidson), Mo Alie-Cox (VCU)

Sixth Man Award: T.J. Buchanan, Rhode Island. In a season where coaches were reluctant to use their benches, Buchanan has arguably been the most productive reserve. He has not started a game this season but has played 22.8 minutes a game in which he is leading the team in assists per game with 2.6 in addition to his average of 5.5 points. Four double-digit point games also help Buchanan’s case.

Coach of the Year: Archie Miller, Dayton. The decision is clearly between Miller and Davidson’s Bob McKillop. The Wildcats’ dominating victory over VCU on Thursday night gave them a chance to win the regular season title and will surely swing some votes McKillop’s way. There is no wrong selection, but Miller has done more with less the whole season, and even coming up just short for the top spot wouldn’t lessen the incredible performance he’s had. Not many coaches go 16-4 after booting their best big men off of the team, and guiding the Flyers through all the adversity should help Miller grab the top spot.

Honorable mention: McKillop, Dan Hurley (Rhode Island)

First Team All-Conference:

Kendall Anthony, Richmond

Jordan Sibert, Dayton

DeAndre Bembry, St. Joseph’s

Treveon Graham, VCU

Hassan Martin, Rhode Island

Second Team All-Conference:

Jordan Price, La Salle

E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island

Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure

Dyshawn Pierre, Dayton

Shevon Thompson, George Mason

Third Team All-Conference:

Jack Gibbs, Davidson

Tyler Kalinoski, Davidson

Patricio Garino, George Washington

Dion Wright, St. Bonaventure

Youssou Ndoye, St. Bonaventure

All-Defensive Team:

Mandell Thomas, Fordham

JeQuan Lewis, VCU

Hassan Martin, Rhode Island

Shevon Thompson, George Mason

Youssou Ndoye, St. Bonaventure

Men’s basketball: Dayton (Home) Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio and Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies look to start Atlantic 10 play 2-0 for the first time since 2000 when they host the Dayton Flyers on Thursday night at 7.

The Flyers come into this one at 11-2 after trouncing Duquesne 81-55 on Saturday. UD played a tough non-conference schedule, with wins over Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech and close losses to Arkansas and Connecticut.

Dayton’s four-game winning streak has been impressive considering the Dec. 17 dismissal of starting center Devon Scott and backup forward Jalen Robinson following a dorm room theft incident. The Flyers have combated their deficiencies in rebounding by shooting lights-out from the floor, with a 50 percent clip during the streak.

Bonaventure is trying to start a winning streak of their own after defeating UMass on the road in its A-10 opener. The brutal two-game stretch against Maryland-Eastern Shore and Delaware looks to be in the past, but a win over one of the conference’s elite teams would make the Bonnies look like serious contenders.

Who will come out on top Thursday night? Here’s the full breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 115-113 as Bonnies coach, 1-6 against Dayton.

Dayton- Archie Miller. 74-40 as Flyers coach, 2-1 against St. Bonaventure.

Key players for Dayton: 

Jordan Sibert-6-4 senior guard. Sibert is a dangerous guard that can sink it from three point land with ease. He is one of the best offensive guards in the A-10 and is leading the flyers in scoring at  15.7 points per game for the second year in a row.

Dyshawn Pierre-6-6 junior forward. Pierre has seen his responsibility take a giant leap for this Dayton team after Scott and Robinson were kicked off the team for violating team rules, leaving Pierre as the tallest player on the Dayton team. He’s averaging 12.2 points per game and almost 6.5 rebounds.

Keys to victory for Dayton: Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Dayton is one of the worst rebounding teams at 227th in the nation and they won’t get many second chances with Bonaventure’s Youssou Ndoye, who is fourth in nation in rebounding, down low. So, the key to a Dayton victory won’t be just to shoot, but to make shots, which they are average at. (108th in the nation for FG percentage)

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: To beat Dayton, coach Schmidt’s “trifecta” of defense, rebounding and taking care of the ball has to be carried out the way it was against UMass. The Bonnies held the Minutemen to just 35 percent shooting (more importantly, 18 percent shooting from three), out-rebounded them by seven, and committed two fewer turnovers. They won all three areas on Saturday, and they will need to win all three areas again on Thursday. Ndoye’s streak of ten games with ten or more rebounds, the longest such streak in the NCAA, is going to have to continue, and Marcus Posley’s defense against Jordan Sibert is going to have to be strong all contest.

Predictions: Chuckie– Dayton won three their last four games against guard-heavy teams; the leading scorers for Duquesne, Ole Miss and Boston U were all guards. The other team, Georgia Tech launched 20 threes themselves, going 20 percent. Scott and Robinson weren’t missed as much in those games because the Flyers didn’t have to control the paint to win. Against Ndoye and Dion Wright, it’s not going to be that easy, and that spells trouble for Dayton. The size disadvantage is going to hurt offensively and defensively, and you can never count on a good shooting night, especially on the road. For example, in last year’s 72-69 Dayton win, Sibert and Pierre were held to a combined 15 points on 6-19 shooting, a below-average performance. Archie Miller can’t count on them to have a great showing tonight, while Mark Schmidt knows that his bigs can be counted on, at least defensively, based on their consistency this season. Advantage: Bonaventure. 76-68 Bonnies.

Jeff- After doubting the Bonnies on Saturday and watching such a dominating win over a decent UMass team I have to believe that the losses to Maryland-Eastern Shore and Delaware was simply a young team playing down to its opponent. There is no reason to believe they will lose to a team with no one taller than 6-6. Youssou Ndoye could score 100 points in this game, watch out. 80-60 Bonnies.