WBB: Bonnies bested by Rhode Island on senior day

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Last Friday, the St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team had won its third straight game and seemed to have turned a corner in its season. Just over a week later, they had their senior day spoiled at the hands of the Rhode Island.  

URI (9-7, 9-4 A-10) defeated St. Bonaventure (5-12, 4-10 A-10), 69-49, at the Reilly Center Saturday afternoon, handing the Bonnies their second-consecutive loss.  

Once the Rams grabbed the lead in the early minutes of the first quarter, they were in complete control until the final buzzer sounded. Up 10-5 in the first quarter, Rhody guard Marie-Paule Foppossi made a run of her own by scoring eight of the final 11 URI points in opening period, extending the lead to 21-12. 

Foppossi and the Rams continued their hot start into the next quarter, adding four more three-pointers to a total of eight for the half. URI shot 60.7% from the field and 8-for-13 from three in the first twenty minutes.  

“We just didn’t have the urgency to dribble through it and get it up there,” Fleming said. 

After taking a 43-29 lead into the break, URI continued to make separation and grew the lead to as much as 22 in the second half. The scoring from both sides dwindled in the final two frames, and the Rams won by a score of 69-49.  

The Rams controlled the tempo from start to finish, and their defense gave the Bonnies fits. URI brought guards up to pressure the ball, then dropped into a zone which seemed to disrupt the flow of the Bona attack. 

“We needed to make some quicker decisions on the catch,” Fleming said. “Sometimes we would catch it on the wing and make a slow decision.” 

Transition was an issue for Bona, as the Rams burned them with 18 fast-break points compared to just two from Jesse Fleming’s squad. URI forced the Bonnies into uncomfortable shots and pushed the ball for easy baskets.  

“That’s what they wanted us to take was that mid-range,” Fleming said. “I think a lot of it though was our offense leading to their offense.” 

Rebounding and free throw shooting were other areas where Bona struggled. The Rams outrebounded the Bonnies 37-24 and did not allow any foul shots from the Bonnies. 

“I think we needed to take it to the rim stronger a little bit more,” Fleming said. “I think we need to get to our spots quicker.” 

Leading scorer Asianae Johnson finished with only eight points and Tori Harris added nine points. The only Bonnie in double figures was I’Yanna Lops, who finished with 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting.  

“She’s showing some really good flashes,” Fleming said. “I’d like to see her rebound a tick better, but other than that, I liked her efficiency today.” 

Foppossi led all scorers with 22 points and had a plus-minus rating of 27. Johanna Muzet finished with 14 points and sharpshooter Catherine Cairns added 11 points on 3-4 from beyond the arc. 

The Bonnies will be back in action when they host Duquesne on Monday night at 6 p.m. That game can be seen on ESPN+. 

“We gotta get a move on and get ready for Duquesne.” 

Bona women drop pair of games at Fordham, Rhode Island

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Nic Gelyon and Dustyn Green

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team played back-to-back road games this weekend, and it wasn’t handed any favors. 

The team, led by head coach Jesse Fleming, played two conference matchups in a span of 24 hours, the first on Friday against then 4-2 Fordham, and the other Saturday against 4-2 Rhode Island.  Both games ended in disappointing fashion for the Bonnies, a team that was looking to build on its momentum from a home victory over La Salle on Jan. 15. Instead, SBU lost by 19 points to Fordham and by 14 points to Rhode Island. 

The Bonnies led just over two minutes combined between the two weekend games, both by an early 2-0 score.

Despite double-digit scoring efforts from senior Emily Calabrese, who had 11 points against Fordham, and sophomore I’yonna Lops, who tallied 14 points in Kingston. Bona continued to struggle behind the three-point line, shooting under 25% from there in both games.  

The Bonnies did not lack in toughness or physicality in either game, and they were successful in forcing and creating success off Fordham’s mistakes, including six steals and 12 turnovers. Throughout the game, the Bonnies were not able to keep up with Fordham’s attack on the inside giving up 21 second chance points to the Rams. However, Bona scored 22 points in the paint and nine more points off turnovers. 

The Bonnies also were unable to shut Fordham down from three-point range, allowing the Rams to go 13-for-30, but Bona hurt itself by not being able to hit from long range, going 2-for-10 from deep on offense.  

The Fordham halftime lead was only 12 points, despite being able to knock down seven three-pointers in the first half. The Bonnies could only answer one of those, which allowed the Rams to expand their lead. 

Both teams scored the ball at about the same clip, but it was clear that Fordham’s ball-sharing opened up its opportunities from deep, as they paired their three-point shooting numbers with 18 assists, compared to St. Bonaventure’s seven. The Bonnies were out-rebounded by the Rams, 26-20. 

Against Rhode Island, the Bonnies dug themselves a hole early, as SBU unsuccessfully tried to create offense from the perimeter. The first quarter didn’t see either team shoot particularly well, but by the time the clock hit zero, the Rams had hit 11 three-point baskets. 

A 12-3 run early in the second quarter allowed the Bonnies to cut the Rams’ lead to four points, with Olivia Brown on the court for the entirety of the run. The Bonnies played physical, disrupting Rhode Island at seemingly every turn, including a block by Tori Harris and a forced turnover that led to a Harris three-pointer. Once again, however, the well ran dry for St. Bonaventure, and the half ended with the Rams up by eight points. 

The Bonnies were able to keep their deficit manageable, until the missed shots and 11 turnovers became too much to overcome. Despite giving up 34 points in the paint and 11 points off of turnovers the Rams never let up the reins, as the teams traded baskets down the stretch, but the Bonnies found the deficit to large and fell against the Rams 76-60. 

The Bonnies will now return home for three games, starting with a Friday night slate against Saint Louis on Friday. You can catch the game next Friday at 6 p.m., on ESPN+ 

Bonnies begin A-10 play with pair of road games at Rhode Island, Richmond

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Mark Schmidt breaks each college basketball season down into three parts: non-conference play, conference play and the postseason.

For Schmidt and the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, the first part of the season didn’t go according to plan. The team had six of its eight scheduled games canceled due to a variety of COVID-19 concerns, but won both of the games it was able to play.

After beating Akron and Hofstra, the Bonnies enter Atlantic 10 play undefeated for the first time in program history.

“You just accept it and do the best job you can,” said Schmidt, who is in his 14th season as head coach at SBU, of the team’s unprecedented non-conference slate. “We knew this was going to happen. When it happens, it’s like a punch to the gut, but it is what it is. We’re 2-0, and now we turn our attention to the A-10. It would be just like that if we would have played 11 or 12 games in the non-conference.”

Bona begins A-10 play with a pair of road games against two of the conference’s perennial championship contenders. SBU will first travel to Rhode Island on Wednesday, where they will take on the 3-5 Rams.

“(Rhode Island has) got good size,” Schmidt said. “They’ve got high-major transfers. They’re very aggressive offensively and defensively.”

The Rams, who were picked to finish sixth in the league (Bona was picked to finish fourth), have not only already played eight games this season, but have played three games against Power Five conference opponents. URI’s losses include Arizona State, Boston College and Wisconsin, while the Rams own wins over South Florida, San Francisco and Seton Hall.

URI has lost three games in a row after previously enjoying a three-game winning streak. The Rams have already played one A-10 game, falling at home to Davidson on Dec. 18.

“We’ve got to try to keep them in the half court offensively, and take care of the ball so we don’t turn it over so they can get out on the break,” Schmidt said. “If this is a game that is in the 80s or 90s, they’re probably going to win. We’ve got to try to control tempo as much as we can and do a good job of keeping the ball out of the paint.”

Rhody is led by senior guard Fatts Russell, who has averaged 14.4 points per game and over three assists per game this season. The last time the Bonnies played the Rams, Russell scored 29 points in an 81-75 URI win at the Reilly Center.

“It’s very important for us to take care of the basketball and get shots up,” Schmidt said. “If we can do that and hopefully get some second shots, we’ll be okay. They are a tremendous athletic, physical half-court team.”

Senior guard Jeremy Sheppard averages 9.3 points per game for the Rams, while Antwan Walker, a forward who transferred to the program from Georgetown, averages 8.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

For Bona, Osun Osunniyi has been a bright spot in the middle of Schmidt’s offense. The junior forward/center has averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds per game in Bona’s two victories, while junior guards Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch trail closely behind, each scoring 16.5 points per game over SBU’s young season.

Bona will enjoy the return of transfer guard Anthony Roberts, who missed the team’s first two games due to an extended quarantine period. Roberts averaged 12.7 points per game for Kent State last season.

Despite the lack of in-game reps that the Bonnies have gotten to prepare for A-10 play, Schmidt said that his team is excited to play “no matter who they’re playing.”

After playing URI, Bona will travel to Richmond to play the Spiders, who were the preseason favorite to win the A-10. The Spiders enter A-10 play with a 6-2 record, owning wins over Kentucky and Vanderbilt. On Dec. 22, Richmond lost at home to Hofstra, a team that Bona had defeated three days prior.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Schmidt said. “We’ve played two games.”

Bona and URI are scheduled to tip off at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. That game can be seen on ESPN+. The Bonnies will tip off against the Spiders at 5 p.m. on Saturday in a game that can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

“These two games aren’t going to tell us how good we are or how bad we are, just like the first two games that we played didn’t tell us how good we are or how bad we are,” Schmidt said on Tuesday. “I’ll probably tell you in three or four weeks where we’re at.”

Men’s basketball: Rhode Island Preview

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

After an unbelievable comeback win at Duquesne on Thursday night, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies head to Rhode Island for a Sunday matinee at 2 in the Ryan Center.

The Bonnies snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Dukes. Down by 11 with 2:46 to go, it looked like they were about to lose another game in the Palumbo Center, an arena they had lost seven of their previous eight games at under coach Mark Schmidt. But then Marcus Posley took over, with 12 points in the final 2:35 of regulation on the strength of three three-pointers and a three-point play. The last three-pointer with six seconds on the clock sent the game into overtime, where Jaylen Adams scored six points and Bona prevailed, 100-97.

Posley’s performance was reminiscent of Eric Mosley’s 39-point display in a win over UMass in February 2013. The two guards share definite similarities, as both spent their first season at a Division I school, transferred to a community college sophomore year and transferred to Bonaventure before their junior year. Like Mosley, Posley is stepping up when he needs most, with that three-point shooting ability leading the way.

In Mosley’s first season in brown and white, the Bonnies won the Atlantic 10 Tournament and went to the NCAAs. If Posley’s team is going to do the same, they are going to have to win games like this one against a good Rhode Island team.

The Rams, like Bonaventure, come into this one at 4-2 in the A-10; they are 12-5 overall. They beat Nebraska, who was ranked number 21 at the time, by four in overtime, then lost to Kansas by 16. In conference play they have wins against Saint Louis, Fordham, Duquesne and La Salle, with losses to VCU (by five) and UMass (by four). A well-coached team with Dan Hurley at the helm, the Rams won last year’s meeting at the Reilly Center, 87-78.

Can the Bonnies grab their fourth straight win, or will Rhody win two in a row? Here’s the full breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 118-115 as Bonnies coach, 5-4 against Rhode Island.

Rhode Island- Dan Hurley. 25-40 as Rams coach, 1-1 against St. Bonaventure.

Key players for Rhode Island:

E.C. Matthews- 6-5 sophomore guard. Matthews, last year’s A-10 Rookie of the Year, is one of the most dynamite playmakers in the conference. With 17 points and 4.8 assists a game, he gets it done on both sides of the court. He’s not the best three-point shooter, but he has a nice release from deep and his athleticism is off the charts. He has scored double-digit points in 15 of the 17 games this season and had 24 against the Bonnies last season, so he’s going to get his points.

Hassan Martin- 6-7 sophomore forward. Martin is the guy for the Rams down low. With 11.9 points and 7.2 boards a contest, his production has increased significantly from last year, where he averaged about six and six. He has 3.1 blocks a game, just in front of Youssou Ndoye for first in the league. He was also the league’s blocks leader in his freshman year. The matchup between he and Ndoye is going to be a pivotal one.

Keys to victory for Rhode Island: Shutting down Posley is key. He showed on Thursday that he can singlehandedly take over a game, and the Rams cannot let that happen. That means E.C. Matthews has to do a bang up job defensively, which he is certainly capable of. Adams had a very efficient game last time out as well, with 14 assists and no turnovers. He will be a priority as well. If the Bona guards aren’t producing, Rhode Island has the upper hand in this matchup

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies can’t fall behind the way they did in the first half Thursday night. Giving up 51 points in the first stanza will not be excusable against a Rhode Island team that has thrived in second halves this season. Coming out with a defensive mindset is crucial to victory on Sunday, and Bona will have to revert to their shutdown performances against UMass and George Mason.

Prediction: Posley and the Bonnies have momentum, and even in a hostile road environment against a good defensive team, they have seemingly figured it out offensively. It’s going to be another close contest, but I’m going with SBU. 73-69 Bonnies