Bona-GW postponed due after Colonials report positive test

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Nic Gelyon

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Another day and another postponement within Atlantic 10 men’s basketball.  

St. Bonaventure’s contest against George Washington, slated for noon Saturday at the Reilly Center, was postponed Friday amid COVID-19 concerns within the Colonials program.

“George Washington notified Atlantic 10 and St. Bonaventure officials of a positive COVID-19 test result from a Tier 1 staff member in the team’s traveling party on Friday,” a statement released by the SBU athletic department read.

Tier 1 personnel includes student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials. According to the statement, the Colonials men’s basketball program will remain on pause per Atlantic 10 coronavirus guidelines until contact tracing and further testing is completed.  

The cancelation comes a day after George Washington’s game Wednesday against UMass was also postponed due to a curfew in Washington D.C. following that day’s riots at the United States Capitol.  

Both teams have been impacted by the virus on multiple occasions this year, both with opponents dealing with COVID-19 and with cases in the programs themselves. 

SBU’s game against Buffalo last month was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns amongst the Bulls, while the Bonnies were forced to pull out of a tournament at the Mohegan Sun bubble in Connecticut in late November due to a positive test within their Tier 1 personnel.

GW, meanwhile, had a game postponed against William & Mary and a game cancelled against South Carolina due to those programs’ COVID-19 issues. 

The Colonials are next scheduled to play Jan. 13 against VCU in Washington, while the Bonnies will be back in action at Fordham the same day. 

Bona set for A-10 home opener Wednesday vs St. Joe’s; will host GW Saturday

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — It’s hard to declare a statement win in the first four games of the season, but Kyle Lofton’s dagger in the Robins Center on Saturday afternoon was a strong response for the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team to conclude a week that started with adversity.  

On the Wednesday before Bona’s win over Richmond, sophomore forward Justin Winston announced his intention to transfer. Just hours later, the Bonnies suffered their first defeat of the season in an ugly game against Rhode Island, during which junior guard Jaren Holmes left early with back spasms. Three days later, the Bonnies responded in dramatic fashion and displayed the importance of experience in conference play.  

Lofton’s game-winner will be the play Bona fans remember from the team’s 69-66 win at Richmond, but a combined from the team resulted in a statement win that could impact the Bonnies going forward.  

“Beating them gave us, myself and the coaches confidence on how good we can be in this league,” Lofton said. “Guys like Jaren (Holmes) and Dom (Welch) that aren’t talked about much, they mean so much to this team.” 

After a week on the road, the Bonnies head home for their first Atlantic 10 conference games at the Reilly Center, the first being a Wednesday matchup against a St. Joseph’s team looking for its first win of the season.  

The Hawks’ current 0-7 record could be deceiving, as they had a daunting schedule that included matchups against Kansas, Villanova, and Tennessee. St. Joe’s has also fallen to A-10 opponents VCU and Rhode Island, the latter of which defeated the Hawks in overtime on Saturday.  

“There’s a lot of teams in this country that would be 0-7 playing the schedule they have played,” SBU head coach Mark Schmidt said. “They are much better than 0-7.” 

The Hawks are led by junior guard Taylor Funk, who averages 16.4 points per game. However, they will be without their leading scorer, senior guard Ryan Daly, who has averaged 17.2 points per game on the season. 

The Bonnies defeated the Hawks twice last season, 74-56 in the first matchup and 89-73 on senior day. Funk missed both games last season with a thumb injury, but as a 6’8 guard, his versatility will be the key for the SJU offense.  

“He can really shoot the ball,” Schmidt said. “He presents a lot of problems because he’s a screen and pop guy and it’s hard for a five man to go out there and get to his shot. “He has a high IQ for the game so he is going to be a handful (on Wednesday).” 

The Hawks like to shoot the three, and will look to sophomore guard Dahmir Bishop to do so. Bishop has averaged 10.3 points per game and has shot 34.8% from three-point range to contribute offensively in the absence of Daly. Jack Forrest, a sophomore guard, has averaged 8.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.  

“They are playing free. If you’re a shooter that’s the type of style you want,” Schmidt said. “It’s imperative we do the best job we can keeping the ball in front of us.” 

St. Joe’s leads the A-10 in three-point attempts, but the Bonnies pose the best three-point defense in the conference.  

“Transition defense and one-on-one defense is going to be crucial (on Wednesday),” Schmidt said.  

After their matchup against St. Joe’s, the Bonnies will welcome George Washington to the Reilly Center Saturday afternoon. The Colonials have a 3-7 record, but have started 2-1 in A-10 play with wins against Fordham and Duquesne.  

The Bonnies swept GW in two games last year, edging them 71-66 on the road before rolling, 72-47, at home.

The Bonnies tip off against St. Joe’s at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon on ESPN+. On Saturday, tip off is scheduled for noon against George Washington. That game can be shown on NBC Sports Network.  

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 and Colonials conclude wild week with Saturday matchup

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

As Count von Count would say on the Emmy Award-winning television program Sesame Street, this week in Atlantic 10 basketball has been brought to you by the number 0.4.

The endings of the VCU/St. Bonaventure and VCU/George Washington games made national headlines, as VCU was able to steal two road wins after surrendering the go-ahead basket with just 0.4 seconds on the game clock. The controversial referee decisions (an administrative technical against Bona and a foul on the inbound against GW) appeared on nearly every ESPN show, with personalities from across the country debating the merits of the Rams’ victories.

On Saturday afternoon, the two “jilted” schools will face off as Bonaventure (15-8, 7-4 in the A-10) visits Foggy Bottom to face GW (12-12, 4-7 A-10) for the first and only regular season meeting between the teams.

“Yeah, I saw a little bit of it,” Amadi Ikpeze said of GW’s loss on Wednesday. “It’s just crazy because we kind of lost in the same way. It’s crazy how the game of basketball just works out.”

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bonnies and Colonials conclude wild week with Saturday matchup”

Women’s basketball: Bonnies come back from as much as 17 to best George Washington

(Katie Healy and Gabby Richmond Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

In the words of Katie Healy, “We told ourselves at the beginning of the year we’re not losing anything in a row, nothing back-to-back.”

The senior was right, as the Bonnies rallied from 17 points down to send the game into overtime and eventually secure the victory over George Washington, 69-67. The Bonnies improved to 21-5 overall and 10-3 in Atlantic 10 play. George Washington dropped to 21-5 on the season.

Despite shooting an uncharacteristic 21.4 percent (3-of-14) from long range, the Bonnies tallied 42 points in the paint with help from Healy. She registered 24 points and went 8-for-9 from the line. Sophomore Mariah Ruff filled the stat sheet with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the stripe.

Continue reading “Women’s basketball: Bonnies come back from as much as 17 to best George Washington”

Women’s basketball: Bonnies must bounce back in big way to knock off George Washington

(Katie Healy Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Katie Faulkner @kfaulkner20

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team returns to action Wednesday night as it takes on George Washington at home in the Reilly Center at 7 p.m. The Bonnies will look to bounce back after a 69-60 loss against UMass on Saturday.

Despite a team-high 16 points from senior Katie Healy, the Bonnies were outscored in the paint 32-22. They shot an uncharacteristic 18.8 percent (3-16) from beyond the arc. The UMass bench also registered 24 bench points to Bonaventure’s six.

Continue reading “Women’s basketball: Bonnies must bounce back in big way to knock off George Washington”

Men’s basketball: Bonnies win fifth straight with “junkyard dog” mentality

(Jordan Tyson Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The sellout crowd at St. Bonaventure’s Reilly Center wanted a ninth Atlantic 10 victory on Saturday afternoon, and the Bonnies delivered.

Bona defeated the George Washington Colonials 64-57 to retain sole possession of fourth place in the conference and keep itself in the NCAA Tournament conversation.

Sophomore point guard Jaylen Adams recorded his second 19-point game in three contests to lead the brown and white in scoring. Adams was 7-of-10 from the field and made all three of his three-point attempts.

Senior forward Dion Wright, who did not start due to being late for a team meeting, scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Senior guard Marcus Posley was hobbled by a hip ailment that has plagued him for the majority of the season, but managed to score 11 points and dish out five assists.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bonnies win fifth straight with “junkyard dog” mentality”

Men’s basketball: Bonnies host George Washington in Alumni Weekend showdown

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

St. Bonaventure’s administration sure picked the perfect game for the university’s Alumni Weekend. The Bonnies will tip off against the George Washington Colonials at 4 p.m. in a matchup rife with postseason implications.

The alumni and fans have responded by buying tickets in droves. The game is sold out, making it the first sellout since Andrew Nicholson’s senior night in 2012.

Bona’s four-game win streak has taken it to fourth place in the Atlantic 10 with an 8-3 record in conference play. GW is one game behind at 7-4. The Colonials had won three straight games, including a three-point win at VCU, before an 84-66 dismantling at home against St. Joe’s.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bonnies host George Washington in Alumni Weekend showdown”