Bona splits pair of road games at George Mason, GW

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Dustyn Green

WASHINGTON, DC — The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team  put together a three-game win streak last week, but had it put to rest on Sunday against George Washington.

After beating Davidson in back-to-back home games last week, the Bonnies and head coach Jesse Fleming took care of business against George Mason on Friday, winning 72-62, but face-planted in a slow offensive effort on Sunday. The Bonnies were the victims of a 56-39 George Washington win.

Bona junior guard Tori Harris led the Bonnies in Friday’s contest with 16 points and 10 rebounds, her third double-double of the year. Junior guard Deja Francis followed her with 12 points and assisted on six occasions. Junior guard Asianae Johnson and senior Emily Calabrese chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. 

The Bonnies led for 35 minutes, out-scoring the Patriots by no more than four points in a single quarter. Patriots star Rachel Balzer would threaten with 6:36 remaining by making two shots from the charity stripe that cut the SBU lead to eight points, but Francis and Harris made crucial plays. Francis hit one from the charity stripe, and Harris followed down low with a layup. 

George Mason forward Dajjah Jefferson had a game-high 25 points to go with 10 rebounds. 

After winning by double digits on Friday, the team was slowed down on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore guard Olivia Brown attempted to find a pathway to victory. Brown, who led the way in scoring with 13 points, also tallied four steals on the afternoon.  

Despite the 13 points from Brown, the Bonnies could not secure a win. Sophomore guard I’yanna Lops chipped in 12 points, but first-half shooting woes proved too much to overcome for the Bonnies. The team shot a lackluster 26.9% in the first half. The Bonnies found themselves down 25-15 heading into the locker room. 

To start the second half, things looked a little different for St. Bonaventure. Brown came out firing on all cylinders to start the third frame. She hit two big 3-pointers to lead the Bonnies on an 8-0 run, but GW had an answer.  

The Colonials went on a 6-0 run to finish the third quarter, and held on the rest of the way. Ali Brigham had 15 points on the day and led both teams in scoring. 

The Bonnies were out-rebounded in both games, as the Patriots held a 39-24 advantage on the boards, while GW out-rebounded Bona, 30-18.

SBU returns home this coming Saturday, when it hosts Rhode Island at the Reilly Center.

Bonnies cruise past George Mason; continue best A-10 start in program history

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — As the calendar turns to the next month, the Bonnies will enter without a loss in the month of January. 

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team (9-1,7-1) clinched this perfect stretch by cruising to an 84-67 win over George Mason (8-7,4-5) at the Reilly Center Saturday afternoon.  

The Bonnies raced out to a 11-3 lead, which swelled to a 19-5 difference after Bona guard Dominick Welch made a driving layup. The lead would grow to as much as 20 before halftime. 

“I was going with the flow of the game,” Welch said. “I was feeling good today.” 

After not making a shot a week ago against Duquesne, Welch exploded in the first half, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and tallying 18 points.  

“I think Dom goes under the radar a little bit, but he’s a heck of a player,” Bonas head coach Mark Schmidt said. “When Dom plays with confidence, and is rebounding the basketball and shooting the basketball, we’re that much better a team.” 

After taking a 44-26 lead into halftime, Bona’s kept the Patriots at a distance for most of the second half. The three-point shooting of George Mason guards Jordan Miller and Tyler Kolek energized a few spurts for the Patriots, as they shot a combined 5-for-9 from three in the second half. Miller led the Patriots with 19 points in the game and Kolek finished with 17 points.

“I think we relaxed a bit and they got some penetration,” Schmidt said. “We allowed too much dribble penetration, and that’s something we need to work on.” 

Despite the shooting of George Mason, the Bonnies earned their lead and held onto it because of their performance in the paint. Bona center Osun Osunniyi posted his second double-double of the season, finishing with 18 points and 15 rebounds. The Bonnies led the Patriots in points in the paint, 48-24, and also in rebounding, 38-27.  

“(Osunniyi) was aggressive. He was much stronger, much more assertive,” Schmidt said. “We need him to do that, we need an inside presence so it takes some pressure off of our perimeter players.”

In addition to the performances of Welch and Osunniyi, junior guards Kyle Lofton and Jaren Holmes added 20 points and 14 points, respectively.  

For the third-consecutive game, the Bonnies defeated an opponent they were not originally slated to play. At the beginning of the week, Bona’s was scheduled to travel to Davidson, but COVID-19 issues within the Wildcats’ called for a postponement of the matchup.  

“We’re lucky to have a veteran team that understands, that can turn the page,” Schmidt said. “It’s been a challenge.” 

Nonetheless, the Bonnies have fought through a shortened schedule and managed the continuing carousel of postponements and cancellations within their conference. The win against George Mason is their seventh straight and gives the them their best A-10 start in program history.  

 “Bonaventure basketball has rich tradition, and great teams and great coaches,” Schmidt said. “It’s something you can look back on and appreciate.” 

Next up for Bonnies is a road trip to Saint Joseph’s. The Bonnies beat the Hawks, 83-57, earlier this season, and will look to continue their successful start. 

“I think we have a really close team, I think the guys really like each other,” Schmidt said. “If you’re tight off the court and you have good relationships off the court, you’re gonna have good relationships on [the court].” 

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.

Men’s basketball: Bonnies travel to George Mason

(Jaylen Adams Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies men’s basketball team looks to extend its win streak to three games on Wednesday night at 7 when it takes on the George Mason Patriots in Fairfax, Va.

The Bonnies enter their second conference matchup with some momentum after a 97-85 victory over Davidson at the Reilly Center on Saturday night. Sensational sophomore point guard Jaylen Adams, who was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Monday, is shooting a remarkable 24-of-37 from three (64.9 percent) in his last five games, averaging 22.8 points a game over that span.

The 6-8 Patriots, on the other hand, were dismantled in their season opener at VCU, 71-47. The loss snapped a two-game win streak for first-year coach Dave Paulsen’s club, which did have two impressive non-conference victories over SEC members Ole Miss and Oklahoma State and only trailed sixth-ranked Virginia by eight at halftime.

The Bonnies, who went 5-4 in road A-10 games last year, know not to overlook this Mason team, especially away from home.

“You never really expect anything on the road; it’s always tough having road games,” said senior guard Marcus Posley.

“It’s going to be tough,” Posley continued. “To be successful in this conference you have to continue to win home games and steal some on the road.”

Can the Bonnies take one on the road, or will the Patriots grab a major win? Here’s the full breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 133-126 as Bonnies coach.

George Mason- Dave Paulsen. 6-8 as Patriots coach.

Key players for George Mason:

Shevon Thompson- 6-foot-11 senior center. An all-conference third team selection last season, Thompson scored 18 points against the Bonnies last year in Rochester. This season, he is averaging 8.7 points and 10.5 rebounds, with a block a game as well. His best two games thus far came in the Gilden Charleston Classic tournament, where he scored 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against Ole Miss, then followed that performance up with a 20-point, 17-board effort against Oklahoma State.

The Kingston, Jamaica native has scored in double figures four times this season, with seven double-digit rebound games. Considering how well he performed offensively against Youssou Ndoye last year, he is a real concern that the Bonnies must contain.

Otis Livingston- 5-foot-11 freshman guard. Livingston is tied for the team’s scoring lead with Marquise Moore at 11 points a contest. The Linden, N.J. native is a 41.6 percent shooter from the field, including a 16-of-51 mark from three-point range. A 17-point output in the loss to Mercer on Nov. 16 is Livingston’s season high. He has also dished out 37 assists to just 25 turnovers this season.

Marquise Moore- 6-foot-2 junior guard. Moore, who hails from Queens, N.Y., is tied with Livingston at 11 points a game. He is also third on the team in rebounding, with 5.1 boards a contest, while dishing 50 assists and blocking 16 shots, both team highs. He has scored in double-figures 10 times this season, including five of the last six games.

Keys to victory for George Mason: Feed the big fella. With his size and athleticism, Thompson should be averaging more than six field goal attempts a game. Against two freshmen in Derrick Woods and Jordan Tyson, the man who is arguably the best true big man in the A-10 should get touches early and often and try to establish himself inside.

The Bonnies are holding the opposition to just 32 percent shooting from three, but they are allowing teams to shoot 48.8 percent from two-point range. Paulsen should be taking note of that and laying out a blueprint for his star to shine down low.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: Continue to feed the hot hand, whomever that may be. Adams has been on an absolute tear, but in the second half against Davidson Posley was the leading scorer, going 6-of-10 from the field and scoring 17 in the final 20 minutes. Nelson Kaputo is always a weapon from deep as well; if he catches fire, the brown and white know to swing a couple passes his way.

Bona averages 15 assists a game for a reason- a culture of trust has been built between teammates, and it builds confidence from top to bottom. That must continue against a good defensive team like George Mason that is tied for 73rd in the country in field goal defense at 40.8 percent.

 

 

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