Women’s basketball: Bonnies try to keep momentum going at Fordham

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team travels to New York City for a Wednesday night matchup with Fordham at 7 p.m. The Bonnies enter the week at 11-3 in Atlantic 10 play and 22-5 overall after a 70-63 victory over La Salle on Saturday afternoon. Senior Katie Healy registered a team-high 22 points and five assists in the win.

Fordham (12-15, 7-7 A-10) continues to struggle offensively, as it is currently ranked last in the Atlantic 10 in scoring with 53 points per game.

The Rams have just one player averaging double-figure scoring in Samantha Clark with 12 points per game. The senior averages 37 minutes of playing time and leads the league with nine rebounds per contest. The 6-foot-2 G’mrice Davis averages nine points and seven rebounds.

Continue reading “Women’s basketball: Bonnies try to keep momentum going at Fordham”

Men’s basketball: Bonnies face Fordham at Rose Hill

(Nelson Kaputo Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team puts its five-game winning streak at Rose Hill Gymnasium to the test on Wednesday at 7 against Fordham.

The Bonnies may have defeated the Rams in eight of the last nine meetings, but this is an improved team under first-year coach Jeff Neubauer. The 3-7 A-10 record is less than stellar, but has the program tied for 10th place; it has finished in the bottom three of the conference standings every year since the 2007-08 season. Nine non-conference victories brings its overall record to 12-9.

Fordham’s wins are not all that impressive- La Salle, George Mason and UMass are currently the bottom three of the standings- but its defense has been strong this season.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bonnies face Fordham at Rose Hill”

Women’s basketball: Bonnies host Fordham on Thursday night

(Miranda Drummond Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20



Men’s basketball: Bonnies use second-half surge to top Fordham

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The start of Saturday afternoon’s game had fans reverting back to the finale of the 2012-13 season, when Fordham came in and shocked St. Bonaventure.

In the final 20 minutes, however, the Bonnies showed that things would be different this time around.

After trailing 28-23 at halftime, SBU outscored the Rams 43-24 in the second half to secure a 66-52 victory in front of 3555 fans at the Reilly Center. With the win, the Bonnies finish the regular season at 17-12, with a 10-8 record in the Atlantic 10.

The Rams had the halftime lead thanks to 42.3 percent shooting from the floor and a defense that held Bona to a 36.7 percent mark from the field. Mandell Thomas and Chris Sengfelder led all scorers with seven points each, while Ryan Rhoomes had six rebounds to help Fordham outrebound Bonaventure 20-17 in that period. The Rams shot 4-of-11 from three-point range, while the Bonnies failed to make any of their seven attempts from long range.

After the sluggish start, the brown and white came out of the break with much more energy and toughness than they displayed in the first 20 minutes. Bona started the second session on an 16-8 run, giving them a lead they never relinquished.

“No one played well in the first half, we were just lethargic,” said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. “But in the second half we couldn’t have played better… that’s what you have to do in this league.

“Today was typical of our season. Didn’t go well at times, especially in the first half, but the kids responded.”

“We were down (in) the first half; we were playing terrible, I was playing terrible,” said center Youssou Ndoye. “I just wanted to tell them that I would pick it up and (that) I’ve got their back. Everything’s going to start with me, and we’ve got to start on the defensive end.”

Bonaventure guard Marcus Posley scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to pace the offensive explosion, while Ndoye, playing what was likely his final game in the Reilly Center, had 11 second-half points out of 15 overall. Posley and Ndoye were two of four Bonnies in double figures, with Dion Wright registering 12 points and Andell Cumberbatch adding 10.

Wright and Posley did not get the start, an unusual event for Schmidt’s team. Schmidt went with Iakeem Alston at point, Cumberbatch at the two-guard, Denzel Gregg at small forward, Chris Dees at power forward and Ndoye at center.

Gregg had a productive afternoon, with nine points, four rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block in 33 minutes. Alston played 12 minutes, with two points, two assists and two steals. Dees had a rebound in 10 minutes of play.

The victory gave the Bonnies 10 A-10 wins, tied for the second-most in program history. That fact was not lost on Schmidt, who had nothing but praise for his team reaching the milestone.

“Couldn’t be prouder of our guys to be able to win 10 games in this league… (it) speaks volumes about the talent of our players (and) the character of our guys,” Schmidt said.

“If someone were to tell me that we’d win 10 games in this league at the beginning of the year I would have told them they were crazy, but the kids really fought. We had some adversity during the year… but we found a way.”

Men’s basketball: Fordham Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies close out the regular season on Saturday at 4 when they host the Fordham Rams at the Reilly Center.

Bona (16-12, 9-8 in the A-10) enters the last game before the Atlantic 10 Tournament with a shot at moving from eighth to seventh in the bracket. For that to happen, it needs to take care of business against the Rams (9-19, 4-13) and UMass has to beat George Washington in their 3:30 matchup in D.C. If the Bonnies win, George Washington wins, La Salle beats Dayton and Davidson beats Duquesne, the Bonnies are also seventh in that scenario.

The Bonnies’ first opponent in Brooklyn on Thursday will be either St. Joe’s or La Salle. If they get the seventh seed, they will play at 6:30. If they get the eighth seed, they will play at noon. The eighth seed may actually be more desirable for SBU since Davidson would be the quarterfinal opponent rather than Dayton, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

One notable for the Rams is that leading scorer Eric Paschall is doubtful for tomorrow’s game. Coach Tom Pecora said that unless he’s 100 percent, he’s not going, so don’t expect to see him in uniform.

Can the Bonnies dispatch Fordham and keep these scenarios alive, or will the Rams pull off a big upset in the Reilly Center a la 2013? Here’s the full breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 122-122 as Bonnies coach.

Fordham- Tom Pecora. 43-104 as Rams coach.

Key players for Fordham:

Mandell Thomas- 6-2 junior guard. With Paschall out, Thomas will assume most of the scoring burden. The Rochester native is averaging 13.1 points, four rebounds and a team-leading 3.7 assists this season. He’s a quick and athletic guard that also leads the conference in steals with 2.3 steals a contest. An upset win would rest largely on Thomas’s shoulders.

Christian Sengfelder- 6-7 freshman forward. My pick for A-10 Rookie of the Year is averaging 11.5 points on 49 percent shooting from the floor along with 7.3 rebounds. The individual matchup with Dion Wright should be something to watch, with rookie going against veteran.

Jon Severe- 6-2 sophomore guard. Severe, an All-Rookie selection last year after averaging just over 17 points a game, returned to the team in January after taking a month-long leave of absence for personal reasons. He has struggled to regain his form, averaging just 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds a contest, but had 15 points against La Salle and cannot be overlooked on Saturday. If he gets hot and reverts to his 2013-14 self, he could have a major impact on this game.

Keys to victory for Fordham: Defense has been the pitfall for the Rams this season; they are 0-9 in Atlantic 10 games that they allow 70 points or more. The Bonnies’ offense has struggled at times this year, so for Fordham to have a chance, SBU needs to score less than the “unmagical number” of 70.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: Now more than ever, the Bonnies cannot look ahead or scoreboard watch. Everyone is excited for Brooklyn, and everyone will be keeping a close eye on the seeding scenarios, but the brown and white need to end the regular season strong by playing a solid game on both ends from start to finish. Fordham is not the most formidable opponent, but it’s not like Bona can breeze through this game without a care, and the players know that.

Prediction: The Bonnies will overpower the Rams and get 10 A-10 wins for the first time since Andrew Nicholson and the 2012 team. Look for Marcus Posley to have a great day shooting the basketball. 73-56 Bonnies

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

Women’s basketball: Fordham Preview

By Joseph Phelan, @JPhelan13

The Bonnies meet the Rams in the semifinals this afternoon at 1:30.

The winner advances to the championship game Sunday morning.

Here are some quick thoughts and statistics:

Rematch: On Feb. 1 St. Bonaventure beat Fordham 74-67. Chelsea Bowker sunk three second-half threes, while Katie Healy had a career-high 27 points. St. Bonaventure forced the Rams to shoot under 40 percent from the field. Emily Michael’s defense on Fordham’s Erin Rooney had been fantastic. Rooney shot 3 for 16 on the afternoon.

Continue reading “Women’s basketball: Fordham Preview”

Behind the Wolfpack: Fordham modeling after Bona’s

By Ryan Lazo, feature columnist, @RMLazo13

Fordham coach Tom Pecora sat in the interview room following the Rams’ 82-63 loss at the Reilly Center last February and paid the ultimate compliment to St. Bonaventure.

“I want to build my team in their image.”

Pecora, like Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt, inherited a program that has been a basement dweller for a number of years. The job at hand: to turn a once proud program around and excite its fan base.

Sound familiar?

It should because in his four plus years, Schmidt has done the same for the Bonnies.

Schmidt improved the team every year, recruiting better players, earning more wins and moving the program to respectability.

At Atlantic 10 Conference Media Day, Pecora looked at the preseason polls and saw St. Bonaventure sitting at the No. 4 spot.

He said it’s a credit to Schmidt and spoke of the importance of developing players.

“Developing a program does not happen overnight, and you can’t look for quick fixes,” Pecora said. “You have to build steadily, making good recruiting decisions, and you have to be patient and develop your players.”

In his nine years as head coach of Hofstra, the Pride compiled a 155-126 record and had four post-season appearances (three National Invitation Tournament and College Basketball Invitational).

At Fordham, it didn’t take long for him to bring the excitement back to Rose Hill gym after defeating St. John’s, an eventual NCAA tournament team, one who beat Duke and eventual champion UConn.

Pecora realized how important Fordham’s success is following that game.

“A gentlemen, had to be in his 70s, runs up to me, hugs me and begins to cry,” Pecora said. “He told me that he’s supported Fordham athletics for 50 years and this is what we dream of.

“That’s when it hit me, the tradition of this school, the passion of the alumni, it made me realize what Fordham is all about.”

Sound familiar, right?

The Rams took small steps last season, showing they could compete in the A-10, but finishing with a 7-21 record.

However, they did end their 41-game conference losing streak, propelling them into his second season at the helm.

The Rams have already exceeded their win total from last season (8-9), achieving victories over Georgia Tech and No. 21 Harvard in addition to dominating their home court with a 7-2 record.

Fordham is led by junior Chris Gaston, averaging 16.2 points per game, followed by sophomore guard Branden Frazier, averaging 12.6 ppg, reminiscent of the Andrew Nicholson, Demitrius Conger pairing of the Bonnies.

With nine of its 13 players either a freshman or sophomore, Fordham is in the thick of the rebuilding process.

Like St. Bonaventure, Fordham is a team with a rich tradition and recent lows, but Pecora is already picturing a Bona-like ascent.

“We were selling out the place when we weren’t winning, this place is going to rock when we’re good,” Pecora said of Rose Hill.

Fordham takes on St. Bonaventure Saturday at the Reilly Center at 2 p.m. The Bonnies are 6-1 at home, but lost to what looked to be an unimposing Arkansas State.

There are no easy home games in conference play — and this will be a lot closer than the 82-63 rout last year.

With two signature wins already and a junior leading a team of youngsters, the Rams are ready to keep Rose Hill rocking into the A-10 campaign.

And the Bonnies better be ready.