Nicholson returns to the RC; talks pro career and life overseas

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The last time Andrew Nicholson was in the Reilly Center, a banner with his last name and former jersey number was unveiled from the rafters of the building.

On Wednesday night, Nicholson returned to a greeting that was similar to the one he received when his number 44 was retired by the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball program in 2016.

The RC gave a standing ovation to welcome back Nicholson, SBU’s second all-time leading scorer and former first-round NBA draft pick.

Before the Bonnies took on George Washington, Nicholson received his SBU all-time team plaque.

During the game, he talked about what it was like to be back at his alma mater, and the journey that his professional basketball career has taken him on.

“I had dinner with (Bonnies head coach) Mark Schmidt yesterday and saw a bunch of my old professors and friends,” Nicholson said. “Just being able to be on the floor and work out, and to remember when I was here, was amazing.”

Nicholson graduated from Bona’s in 2012 after scoring 2103 career points. The 6-9 power forward averaged 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds his junior year, then 18.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game his senior season.

He led the Bonnies to the 2012 Atlantic 10 championship and an NCAA tournament berth, and was named 2012 A-10 player of the year.

Nicholson was selected 19th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2012 NBA draft. After playing five seasons in the association, he averaged six points per game in just over 14 minutes per game.

“The politics of the NBA are nothing that I could really escape from,” Nicholson said. “It happens to the best of us. But I got what I wanted out of it.”

After the NBA, Nicholson’s career took him to China, where he has quickly become a star in the Chinese Basketball Association.

“It’s definitely different than being (in North America),” Nicholson said. “It was hard to adjust my first year, but now that I’ve picked up on the language and the culture a little bit, it has made it easier for me.”

Playing for the Guangzhou Long-Lions, Nicholson averaged 27.6 points and 10.9 rebounds in 26 games this season before the league postponed the remainder of its season due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

He averaged the same number of points per game over the 2018-19 season playing for the Fujian Sturgeons, and 24.3 points per game for the Guangdong Southern Tigers the year before.

Nicholson said that being back around SBU has been a nice change of pace, compared to life in professional basketball.

“With my lifestyle, I’m always staying in hotels and bouncing around,” he said. “Coming back to somewhere where I was for so long, it’s like coming back home.”

Now at age 30, Nicholson is appreciative that he can continue to play professionally. He said that he has learned to play the CBA style of basketball, and wants to play for as long as he can.

“Wherever the ball takes me, I’m always going to go and try to be the best version of myself.”

 

Bonnies roll past George Washington

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — An electric crowd at the Reilly Center always gives the Bonnies an advantage.

On Wednesday night, this advantage proved to be crucial, as the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team secured a win against George Washington, 72-47.

Once SBU center Osun Osunniyi won the opening tip, it was off to the races.

The Bonnies started the game scorching hot with a 10-0 run in a balanced scoring effort. With George Washington reeling, their offense had to come from someone, and fast.

Despite a GW comeback that balanced the score, the Bonnies continued to torch their opponent with their balanced inside and outside scoring.

At the end of the first half, St. Bonaventure led 39-27.

George Washington kept the game close behind Jameer Nelson Jr.’s 14 points in the first half. He single-handedly brought the Colonials back after an abysmal start.

“In the first half, I didn’t think we played particularly well, especially defensively,” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt said. “But I thought that in the second half, we did a much better job of keeping them in front of us and contesting shots.”

St. Bonaventure would go on a run at the beginning of the second half that their opponent just couldn’t handle. The lead extended up to 26 points with just under seven minutes to play.

Bonnies guard Jaren English had himself a night, as well. He finished with 21 points, 12 of which came in the first half, and he shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.

“I’ve been working on my shot and getting in the gym extra,” English said. “I shot three for four, but I should have made the fourth one. I just have to get better, keep shooting and keep trusting in my progress and process.”

Osunniyi racked up 16 points for the Bonnies, while Dom Welch and Justin Winston scored 11 points each.

Jameer Nelson, Jr. carried the GW offense for most of the game, as he finished with 19 points. Jamison Battle added 13 points for the Colonials.

The win moved the Bonnies to 15-8 overall, and 7-3 in Atlantic 10 play. GW fell to 10-13 overall, and 4-6 in the A-10.

On Saturday, the Bonnies will travel down to Pennsylvania to take on the Duquesne Dukes.

The Dukes boast an overall record of 17-5, making this a tough matchup for the Bonnies.

Men’s basketball: Bonnies sputter in loss to George Washington

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

On Wednesday night, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies faced off against a George Washington team that was about as cold as it can get after losing six of its last seven games.

As Bona fans know, that is often a recipe for disaster, however, and it was once again in our nation’s capital. The Colonials thoroughly dominated the Bonnies in a 69-46 rout in front of 2560 fans at the Charles E. Smith Center.

Much of the confidence Bonaventure had coming into this game was gone in the first ten minutes of play, when George Washington jumped out to a 19-10 lead on the strength of 7-of-10 shooting including four three pointers. The momentous start propelled a commanding first half, and they entered halftime with a 36-18 lead. They shot 66.7 percent in the first half while holding Bona to a feeble 29.2 percent mark from the field.

The Bonnies performed better offensively in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the floor, but the Colonials shot 50 percent as well in addition to forcing seven turnovers. George Washington never surrendered the lead and was even able to let some of its sparsely-used freshmen enjoy a couple minutes of playing time as time winded down.

Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt pinpointed the first half’s defensive struggles as his team’s downfall.

“We didn’t lose the game because we didn’t shoot the ball, we lost the game because we didn’t defend,” Schmidt said. “The game was lost in the first half. A part of it was the offense, but we didn’t defend.”

“We definitely got outworked in the first half,” said junior guard Marcus Posley. “They played more physical than us and guys weren’t ready to play. (In the) second half we played way better and shot 50 percent but at the same time they shot 50 percent.

“We had a chance, chipping away and chipping away, but we just had some careless mistakes at the end. Throwing away the ball like that and not playing as hard as you can until all zeroes, that’s critical.”

The loss had major seeding implications for the Atlantic 10 Tournament next month, and Posley understood that Bona let one get away.

“We were tied (with George Washington), and it was a good opportunity for us to take this tie-breaker and go up to fourth place, fifth place, whatever it may be. But we blew it.

“Our veteran guys gotta do more; that’s just plain and simple. I’ve got to score the ball, Youssou’s got to play better, Andell’s got to play better. We can’t let a team shoot (66.7 percent) in the first half (while) we shoot (29.2 percent); that’s unacceptable.”

One of the key factors in Bona’s oft-inadequate offensive performance the past nine games is Posley’s extended shooting slump. Just when it looked like he was starting to work his way out of it by scoring 16 points against St. Joseph’s, he took another step back against George Washington, missing all six of his three-point attempts. He is now 11-of-66 from behind the arc in his last nine games, and the frustration is obviously evident.

“I’ve got to score the ball. There’s no excuse for that, I’ve just been shooting the ball terrible. I just have to keep getting in the gym and keep shooting until (Saturday) to find that rhythm.”

Another key piece still looking to find his rhythm is Iakeem Alston. In his fourth start since taking over for an injured Jaylen Adams, he missed all five of his shots from the field and had two assists in 16 minutes of play.

When asked if Adams’s absence was having to do with the team’s struggles, Schmidt bluntly replied, “What do you think?”

To Posley, it’s all about rallying around Alston and playing better as a unit.

“(Jay) helps on both sides of the floor, but we can’t do anything about that now,” he said. “We’ve got to just encourage ‘Keem to keep playing as hard as he can and just get better each day. He’s still learning guys’ ways of playing, he’s still learning both ends of the floor, and Jaylen’s helping him (and) coaching at the same time.

“We just have to be more consistent; that’s critical if we want to win these next three games and have momentum going into Brooklyn… If we play the way we did tonight, we’re going to lose the rest of the games of the season. Everyone just needs to play the way they’re capable of playing.”

Bona (14-12, 7-8 in A-10) returns home on Saturday afternoon in its Homecoming matchup against Duquesne. The brown and white are currently ninth in the Atlantic 10 standings.

 

 

Men’s basketball: George Washington Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies hope to continue being road warriors when they head to our nation’s capital to face the George Washington Colonials on Wednesday at 7.

Unbelievably enough, the Bonnies are 4-3 in Atlantic 10 away games and 2-4 in Atlantic 10 home games. The reason for that abnormality is anyone’s guess, but the surprising road performance has helped Bona stay in the thick of the conference race.

Bonaventure snapped a three-game losing streak last Saturday with an overtime win over St. Joe’s, but George Washington was not as lucky. The Colonials lost their fourth straight game when they fell 56-48 at Richmond. The other losses during the streak were double-digit defeats to VCU and Duquesne along with a two-point heartbreaker against Davidson. G.W. has actually lost six of its last seven contests, an overtime win against Dayton being the lone victory.

This game has major seeding implications for the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Bonnies and Colonials are currently tied for seventh with 7-7 conference records. The winner of this game will obviously grab the seventh spot and has a shot at entering Brooklyn with the fifth or six seed. For the loser, the seventh seed is likely the best-case scenario.

Who will win this crucial A-10 contest? Here’s the full breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 120-121 as Bonnies coach.

George Washington- Mike Lonergan. 64-57 as Colonials coach.

Key players for George Washington:

Patricio Garino- 6-6 junior guard/forward. Garino has had five games with 20-plus points this season, but he’s far from a one-way player. The Argentinian was named to the conference’s All-Defensive Team last year in addition to being a Third Team All-Conference selection. His rebounding numbers are up from last year (5.3 rebounds a game this year to 4.4 last season), as are his steals (a marginal increase from 1.6 a game to 1.9). He played FIBA ball for Argentina’s U-19 team, and that has significantly helped him against the stiff competition he has faced in the United States. The matchup against Dion Wright should be very entertaining; both players know how to work their way to the basket and put the finishing touches on when they get there.

Kethan Savage- 6-3 sophomore guard. Like Bonaventure shooting guard Marcus Posley, Savage is working his way out of a shooting slump. After a two-game stretch where he went just 5-of-19 from the field, he went 7-of-12 against Richmond, good enough for 18 points. The Colonials need him to have another 18-point outing rather than a four-point outing like he had against VCU.

Kevin Larsen- 6-10 junior forward. Larsen, George Washington’s rebounding leader with 7.2 per contest, can beat you in many ways. Defensively, he’s a board machine and uses his quickness to his advantage around the rim. Offensively, he’s a consistent shooter (50 percent from the field this season) and a strong passer as well (2.2 assists per game).

Keys to victory for George Washington: To beat the Bonnies you have to hit threes, which means the Colonials have to find a three-point option quickly. They are 270th in the country in three-point percentage at 31.5 percent, 0.1 percent better than Bona, which is 273rd at 31.4 percent. With Dion Wright and Youssou Ndoye clogging the perimeter, along with Denzel Gregg’s defensive improvements, G.W. will be looking for a playmaker to hit some big shots to make up for a disadvantage inside.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: In a very even matchup, Youssou Ndoye needs to be a bigger offensive factor. He made eight clutch free throws in overtime last game, but didn’t make a field goal the entire night. If Ndoye played big, the Bonnies may not have needed overtime. Against a team with George Washington’s caliber, the 7-footer is going to need to be a bigger part of the offense.

Prediction: Ndoye and the bigs will do their job as the Colonials fail to establish much of a threat outside the arc. George Washington is reeling right now and will continue to reel against a Bonaventure team which is not intimidated on the road. 63-57 Bonnies

 

Men’s Basketball: #Bonnies v. GW Preview

By Jeff Fasoldt, @Jeff_Fasoldt

Head Coaches:

St Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt 99-101 as Bonnies coach

George Washington: Mike Lonergan 35-41 as Colonials coach

This Saturday night, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies return to the Reilly Center to take on a much-improved George Washington team. Last season, GW beat Bonaventure 78-59 in Washington, D.C. But, GW has always had a tough time playing in an environment like the Reilly Center, the last time being during the 2011-2012 season where the Bonnies outscored the Colonials 66-56.

Continue reading “Men’s Basketball: #Bonnies v. GW Preview”

Sports: #Bonnies beat GW for first A-10 win

By Matt Strauss 

The St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team welcomed the George Washington Colonials to McGraw-Jennings Field on Friday afternoon.  In a hard fought, defensive battle, the Bonnies came away with a 1-0 victory, their first conference win of the 2013 season.

The breakthrough came in the 27th minute as senior defender Taylor Broderick headed home Brittany Charles’ corner kick.  The corner was one of only three for the Bonnies all game, who were consistently good in the air in the middle of the field and in both boxes.

The Bonnies garnered the majority of the scoring chances in the first half, but George Washington’s lone shot on goal in the first half required a stellar stop by goalie Megan Junker.  Bonaventure tallied six shots in the first half, one a rip from defender Stephanie Jenkins from outside the box, but George Washington’s Nicole Ulrick was there for the stop.

The second half was a different story.  While the Colonials had more scoring chances, the Bonnies still dominated play and possession through the middle of the field.  Kate Elson and Lina Proska each had great strikes for George Washington early in the second half.  Elson hit the post from about 20 yards out, while Junker made another great save on Proska’s shot from the left side of the box.

In the last 15 minutes, the Bonnies increased their pressure on the ball in the middle of the field and in their attacking third, heckling the Colonial back line.  George Washington only had one serious scoring chance late in the game.  With about seven minutes to play, Kristi Abbate took the ball to the end line and then played a drawn ball dangerously across the face of goal, but no Colonial player was there to put it away and Stephanie Jenkins safely played the ball out of bounds.

The game got a bit aggressive late on, and the Bonnies proceeded to pick up three yellow cards in the last seven minutes, one coming due to a delay of game call.

The Bonnies are next in action at home on Sunday as they host Virginia Commonwealth University.  Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at McGraw-Jennings Field.

strausmj11@bonaventure.edu

Column: Jenkins sinks the Colonials

[Jessica Jenkins drains one of eight three-pointers on the day en route to a career-high 32-points – Photo by Melissa Scott]

By Joseph Phelan, Staff Writer, @jphelan13

Following a 32-point outburst from his senior guard in a 80-69 win over George Washington at the Reilly Center, Bonnies coach Jim Crowley spoke his mind to the media.

“She is the player of the year in the conference,” Crowley said emphatically of Jessica Jenkins.

St. Bonaventure (22-2, 9-0) was too much for the undermanned Colonials (10-12, 3-5) who had only six active players. However, even with a full squad available, they may not have been able to stop the dead-eye shooting of Jenkins.

Jenkins had a wonderful non-conference season averaging 14.2 points per game, but has brought her game to a new level during the Atlantic 10 slate.

She is averaging 17.8 points per game, including two 20-point performances, three games in which she has hit at least eight three’s and today’s career-high 32-point shooting exhibition.

George Washington coach Mike Bozeman noted that Jenkins is not just hitting open jumpers either.

“It’s one thing to try to stop a spot-up shooter, but she can shoot under duress,” he explained. “She shoots with a hand up and she has a quick release.” 

It’s not by accident that Jenkins has mastered her craft. She works everyday on her shooting. She’s the first on the court and the last to leave it.

But Jenkins was modest following her career day.

“I missed some open looks,” Jenkins said with a smile. “I had an alright day.” 

Apparently shooting 8-for-15 from beyond the arc is an alright day for a player whose 314 career three-pointers are more than any active player and tied for 24th all-time in NCAA history. 

However, three-point shooting is not the only thing that makes Jenkins stand out. She plays tough defense, primarily on the opponent’s best player, makes good decisions and averages roughly 35 minutes per game.

“There is nobody doing more and that is no disrespect to any other player,” said Crowley.

But Jenkins did receive some key help in a game the Bonnies were not at their best. 

They surrendered 69-points, the highest any opponent has scored this season. The Colonials Tiana Myers also dropped in 27-points, the highest individual output by an opponent this season.

Senior forward Jennie Ashton made her presence felt, recording four offensive rebounds while sophomore guard Alaina Walker contributed 14-points on 6-of-8 shooting.

However, it was Jenkins who picked up the slack when it was needed the most. That’s what big-time players do: rise to the occasion when the situation calls for it.

Four years after falling under the radar, Jenkins is now the focus of every team’s defense, unable to be contained and possibly the front-runner for A-10 Player of the Year.