Jason MacBain’s Determination, Age Set Him Apart

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[Sports Information Director Jason MacBain introduces Bona players and coaches to the media following a game at the Reilly Center – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Now batting for the New York Yankees, No. 2, the shortstop, Jason MacBain.

If the following sentence seems weird, that’s because it is. The shortstop for the New York Yankees is Derek Jeter, not Jason MacBain. However, in an alternate universe in which MacBain could have picked his profession, that’s what he would be.

“I wanted to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees ever since I could remember,” MacBain said sitting in his office filled with sports memorabilia. “But look at me! I realized pretty quickly that was not going to happen.”

But while MacBain is not a baseball player, he still has accomplished a feat that no one else has ever done. He’s the youngest Division I Sports Information Director (SID) in the country. 

And his trip to the become the youngest SID has been a long, strange journey, starting with studying Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University.

“If I could not be a baseball player which was a long-shot anyway,” MacBain explained. “I had to be a part of it in someway.”

MacBain took all the required courses, soaking in everything professors had to offer him, but even that was not enough for the man who longed to be on the baseball diamond.

The pop of mitt and the thunderous crack of the aluminum bats brought MacBain to the office of St. Bonaventure’s baseball coach Larry Sudbrook. No, MacBain was not entering the manager’s office for a try-out, but for a way to stick around the game longer.

Sudbrook made him a student manager, a position MacBain held for all four of his years at St. Bonaventure. Sudbrook, impressed by Macbain’s work ethic, said he was a different type of worker.

“You would tell MacBain to do something one time and you would never have to tell him to do it ever again,” Sudbrook said. “And even better is he’d have it done beforehand every time after that. Not only did he make my job easier, but he got along with the team so well.”

The dedication MacBain brought to the student manager position was only equaled by his dedication to be the best journalist he could. He quickly rose through the ranks at The Bona Venture, St. Bonaventure University’s student newspaper since 1926, to become Editor-in-chief.

However, even with the success MacBain had in writing for the sports section and holding the Editor-in-chief role, he sensed that it was not the profession for him.

“I realized that so many people long to be in sports journalism,” MacBain said. “I knew that the only way to make it was to stand out and I didn’t. I needed to find a different way.”

And, while MacBain sat in his first MBA graduate program class, he realized that he was in the wrong graduate program. MacBain’s thought process brought him to the Integrated Marketing Communications program.

“It was an up and coming field. Only about five universities were using it at the time,” MacBain said as he remembered his research. “I saw that this may be another way to get into the field.”

It wasn’t a guarantee, but his thesis on a way to improve marketing of St. Bonaventure University’s Athletic Department, almost exclusively on the basketball programs, earned him high-marks.

But it wasn’t until he received a phone call as he did some landscaping that he knew he would be around the sports field that he loved.

“Steve Watson called me and said he wanted me to interview for the position of Assistant Sports Information Director,” MacBain said. 

But Sports Information Director Dallas Miller was skeptical. 

MacBain had never once interned in the Sports Information offices and did not have the background experiences necessary for the field. But Sudbrook went to bat for his former dedicated student manager. 

“When the job became available, I spoke to Steve Campbell who was on the search committee,” he explained. “Listen, we can search all we want for someone who has a degree in this, but you’re not going to get anyone better than MacBain.”

And while MacBain did not have experience, his dedication allowed him to impress not only Miller, but himself. 

Spending long nights in a cramped office inside the Reilly Center, the stubborn MacBain never once asked for help as he taught himself the responsibilities needed to be a great Assistant Sports Information Director.

MacBain would watch how other universities would use social media to help elevate the status of their programs and discuss how they can do the same at St. Bonaventure. The never-ending work ethic impressed Miller.

“I would say that Jason is a grinder and I mean that in a positive way,” Miller said. “No matter how big the task, no matter how late at night it might take to complete, Jason was the type to really drill down and do the work to get it done.”

And when Miller became hired by the Buffalo Bills as a Social Media Director, there was no one else Bona turned to than MacBain. 

“He see things in way that none of us see,” Assistant SID Matt Moretti said. “While others just see what’s in front of them, he sees how to use the social networking to market a brand. His work ethic never stops.”

It’s that work ethic that has Sudbrook believing that this is just one stop on the way to a more appealing position in just a few years.

“I think his skill set won’t keep him here long,” Sudbrook said. “I think he’ll move onto a bigger school, one with a football program. He’s going to be extremely successful in this line of work.”

While MacBain did not experience the success of hearing his name being chanted in Yankee Stadium, his work ethic has helped him become the youngest Division I SID in the country, success no one else has found.

Lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

Behind The WolfPack: Walker Leaves Lasting Legacy With The Bonnies

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[Alaina Walker embodied what it meant to be a Bonnies’ player over her four years with her determination – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.Alaina Walker stepped through the tunnel of the Reilly Center and onto the court for the last time as a member of St. Bonaventure Women’s Basketball team.

Accompanied by her mother, Walker walked up to Bona coach Jim Crowley and embraced the man who she embodied through her play in each game — all out intensity, hustle and a fighter.

And while the Bonnies had already been eliminated from qualifying for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season, Walker had one more fight left in her. She aimed to snap the nine-game losing streak and end the season on winning note.

However, as Walker took to the court with music playing and the referee about to toss the ball in the air to open play, she could not help but lose focus, knowing this was her last time to make a first impression.

“Yea, it hit me,” the soft-spoken Walker acknowledged. “Then after that final buzzer went off, it kinda set in that it’s my last game. Unfortunately, you can’t come back. You got to move on.”

But before she did, Walker had to leave her lasting mark on a program that for years represented a doormat for A-10 opponents, only to recently become a preeminent power in the conference.

Facing a La Salle team that was on a four-game skid of their own, Walker made sure they would head back to Philadelphia feeling no love from the Bonnies. After Bona stormed out to a 5-2 advantage, the senior guard led a fast break and wiggled her way into the paint for a lay-up and forcing the Explorers to call their first timeout.

It would not change much the rest of the way as Walker was able to drive to the hoop with ease, sometimes taking it coast-to-coast for acrobatic lay-ups and powerful finishes. And on senior day, it was only fitting that Walker was the star, scoring 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting in a 71-58 Bona victory.

It marked just the third conference win of the season for the Bonnies (10-19, 3-11) after a magical run to the Sweet 16 last season. Graduating four seniors hurt Bona in the leadership department.

With only one senior in the starting lineup following Chelsea Bowker’s injury, the bed was made.

“This isn’t where we wanted to be on March 3, 2013, but it is where we’re at,” Crowley said. “I’m glad we could get a win for this kid sitting next to me (Alaina) whose given so much to the program that we could at least send her out on a positive note.”

Right.

Walker has proved invaluable to the Brown and White’s success over the course of her four-year career. While it was Jessica Jenkins, Megan Van Tatenhove and Armelia Horton who received much of the accolades, Bona would not have had as much success without the play of Walker.

“Alaina has the greatest skill we could ever ask for in a player,” Crowley said. “And it’s effort. Effort is a skill and she has it. She’s exactly what we want our players to be like.”

A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference’s All-Defensive Team, Walker helped shut-down opposing guards and forwards alike, keeping Bona ranked in the top half of the conference on defense.

The 5-foot-9 guard racked up 107 steals, 38 blocks and dished out 190 assists during her time with the Bonnies. However, with just 1:23 left in regulation against La Salle, Walker jumped high into the air and corralled her fifth rebound of the contest.

Why is that rebound significant?

It was career rebound No. 600, making her just the 10th St. Bonaventure player to reach that mark as she averaged 4.8 rebounds per game over her career.

Even more impressive?

Only one St. Bonaventure player grabbed 600 plus rebounds and was shorter than the 5-foot-9 Walker. That player was Missy Ward who was 5-foot-8.

“I just do what I do best,” Walker said laughingly. “That’s one of my assets, rebounding. On both ends of the floor, so I tried to keep that going throughout my career here.”

But just like her coach who fought his way through three consecutive nine-win seasons and subsequent one-year contracts to turn the program into a winner, Walker has fought to make herself a better player.

Turn the page to her freshman season and Walker was rarely a threat to take a mid-range jumper. Even last season the sight of her pulling up may have brought groans from the crowd, but this year has been different.

Walker turned in a career-high 21 points against UMass and unveiled a lethal mid-range jumper that helped bump her scoring average in Atlantic 10 play from 6.4 last season to 10.7 points per game this year.

“She scored the ball in high school, but struggled on how to carry that over,” Crowley said of his senior starter. “But she kept working to improve. She probably could have scored more the past few years, but she didn’t need to. She needed to play defense, grab rebounds and keep others involved.”

Selfless.

Walker did whatever was needed for the good of the team and Crowley said her battle with mononucleosis was what derailed Bona from qualifying for the A-10 Tournament to defend their crown.

“I still think this year is a heck of a lot different if mono doesn’t grab her halfway through our conference season,” Crowley said. “She’d come off her 21-point game against UMass, finding her rhythm and we were finding ours with her.”

While Bona never was able to find their groove and qualify or the A-10 Tournament, one can not discredit the impact Walker had on the program. She never relented no matter the score, no matter the record and did whatever was needed to win.

They say the team normally represents the attitude of the coach, but perhaps this time the coach represented the player.

Quick Hits: Bonnies Snap Nine-Game Skid, Win On Senior Day

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

Game Story: St. Bonaventure looked to snap a nine-game skid against La Salle, the Bonnies came out inspired, jumping out to an early 7-2 advantage on Senior Day. Playing tough defense and utilizing the entire shot-clock, St. Bonaventure kept the game close throughout and earned the 71-58 victory in their final game of the season. Alaina Walker and Doris Ortega led the way for Bona with 18 points apiece followed be CeCe Dixon with 16 points of her own.

Senior Day Streak: Under head coach Jim Crowley, the Bonnies are now 9-4 on senior day and are currently riding a five-game winning streak. The streak began with an upset over No. 13 George Washington in the 2007-08 season. 

Walker’ing Away: Alaina Walker has been among the best defenders in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but in her senior season she has erupted on offense. Walker has set a career-high in points this season with 21 against UMass and showed off he offensive skills against La Salle. The senior dropped in 18 points on 8-for-14 shooting in her final game in the Brown and White.

Ortega’s Streaking: Doris Ortega has scored now scored in double-digits for the 10th consecutive game after her 17-point performance on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Ortega’s streak began with 16 points against Rhode Island and she has averaged 12.3 points per game during its duration.

CeCe For Three: The junior guard has rediscovered her 3-point stroke over the last three games, hitting at least two treys in each game. Against La Salle, Dixon nailed two first 3-pointers en route to a 14-point performance on 4-for-9 shooting, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line.

Fighting To The End: While the Bonnies have embarked on a disappointing season following a Sweet 16 run, Bona has never faltered to battle teams to the final whistle. Trailing by 13 points with 37 seconds to then No. 14 Dayton, Bona stormed to within four points before falling to the Flyers. Bona then fought back from a 16-point deficit at Fordham to pull within one before falling to the Rams. The Bonnies have been one possession away, showing hope for a bright future.

Walker On The Glass: After recording five rebounds, Alaina Walker just become the 10th player in St. Bonaventure women’s basketball history to grab 600 plus rebounds in a career. 

Farewell: St. Bonaventure bid adieu to two seniors who were instrumental in forming a winning tradition with the Brown and White. Alaina Walker has played in 125 games during her four seasons at Bona, averaging 6.1 points per game, but her best contribution has been on the defensive end. Her tenacity on that side of the ball has helped Bona shut down numerous All-Conference players, helping the program reach new height. Jordan McGee came to Bona as a junior college transfer and also helped make Crowley’s defense among the top in the Atlantic 10 Conference. 

Eliminated: For the first time since the 2005-06 season, St. Bonaventure will not qualify for the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. That season the Bonnies finished with a 9-18 record and just a 3-13 mark in conference play. This year, St. Bonaventure lost their first two conference games before winning their next two, setting the stage for their season-ending 10 game slide.

Next Up: An off-season to help the freshmen develop from their impressive debut seasons in the Brown and White and once again establish a winning tradition.

Behind The Wolfpack: Bona Surging After Third Straight Victory

[Matthew Wright has rediscovered his lost stroke since dealing with his foot injury as he dropped 20 points in Bona’s 104-84 rout of Charlotte – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — It was around late February to early March of last season when the St. Bonaventure Bonnies finally hit their stride and lived up to their preseason billing and suddenly this years squad is beginning to revisit history.

Facing a Charlotte team that was among the three teams tied with Bona for ninth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings, the Bonnies came out of the locker room on a mission. Bona scored the game’s first four points and the 49ers never came any closer in a 104-83 rout at the Reilly Center.

The 104 points is tied for the most Bona (14-13, 7-7) has scored against an Atlantic 10 opponent and is the first time eclipsing the century mark since a 112-107 four overtime win against Ohio on Dec. 18, 2010.

“I thought in the first half, we could not have played any better,” Bona coach Mark Schmidt said after his team’s third straight victory. “We had a little bit of a let-down in the second half though.”

A little bit of a let-down may have been the only aspect wrong with St. Bonaventure’s dominating performance that surely captured some attention from around the league. The Brown and White connected at a season-high 58 percent clip and played stingy defense, limiting Charlotte (18-10, 6-8)  to just 38.7 percent shooting from the field.

It’s a performance that puts the rest of the A-10 Conference on notice.

While VCU, Saint Louis and Butler get most of the attention, and rightfully so, the defending A-10 Conference Champions are surging at the right time once again.

Charlotte learned of Bona’s penchant for going on second-half-of-the-season runs the hard way as the Brown and White barraged the 49ers with nine 3-pointers in the first half alone, connecting at a blistering 61 percent for the game — also tied for a season high.

But even with the win and statement it sent, Schmidt was not happy with the way his team finished the game.

“We talk about curbing,” Schmidt said. “It’s an IRA term about knock a guy down, open his mouth and knock his teeth out. That’s what you try to do when you have someone down and we didn’t curb them.”

That’s a scary thought for the rest of the league as the A-10 Tournament nears.

The Bonnies did not finish off Charlotte in the manner they would have preferred, but they still captured a dominating 21-point victory. And how did they accomplish that?

It starts with the play of Matthew Wright.

Wright’s importance to the Bona team has never been fully realized until the Bonnies began conference play by dropping their first four games while looking at a road trip to both Temple and Saint Joseph’s, a bad omen. Yet, Wright came out out of the shadows and scored 22 and 18 points respectively in the two Bona wins.

But a left foot injury slowed him down, limiting him to an average of just 17 minutes per game over the last four, not including missing two games against Butler and Duquesne. However, Wright is seemingly getting healthy and he showed it against the 49ers.

Wright followed up a Youssou Ndoye jump-hook with a mid-range jumper from the top of the key himself in the games opening minutes, giving him all the confidence he needed. The Toronto native would hit his first four shots of the game, three of which from beyond the arc as he compiled 20 points on the night, helping Bona pile on Charlotte.

“My high school coach said if you’re going to lace them up, there’s no excuses,” Wright said of dealing with his injury. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to play and I’m going to play as hard as I can’.”

But Wright is not the only player who is playing as hard as he can.

Eric Mosley has been garnering much of the attention over the past few weeks and for good reason. The reigning A-10 Player of the Week dropped in two 30-point games and a solid 16-point effort against Duquense.

However, the senior has continued to catch fire from beyond the arc as he connected on 5-of-8 3-point attempts en route to another 23-point performance against the 49ers. Mosley’s elevation of his game is leaving many to think back to how Andrew Nicholson elevated his game when Bona needed him most.

“I think we are playing more collectively as a team,” Mosley said after Bona racked up 22 assists against Charlotte. “But more importantly guys are making shots, but we have guys stepping up, like Dion tonight.”

Right.

Because it wasn’t just the usual suspects for the Brown and White during this victory. With Marquise Simmons and Youssou Ndoye both fouling out, someone needed to fill their minutes and Dion Wright proved to be more than a place-holder.

The freshman had not recorded a minute of game action since Feb. 6 at Butler, but there was no rust in his game. The 6-foot-7 forward proved agile around the basket, throwing down two dunks and recording two putbacks en route a career-high 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

With 10 Bona players cracking the scoresheet, this Bona team is confident as they hold sole possession of the ninth spot in the A-10 standings with just two games to go.

“Around this time last year we started to hit our peak,” Wright said. “We know how crucial that is going into the A-10 Tournament. So yea, I think we are starting to hit our stride.”

Scoring an average of 93 points over their three-game winning streak, a message has been sent to the rest of the league — The defending champions were not curbed and now they aim to repeat recent history with another magical finish.

Quick Hits: Bonnies Send Charlotte Packing In Rout

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in Chief, @RMLazo13

Game Story: Entering the game, St. Bonaventure was in a four-way tie for ninth place in the Atlantic 10, one of those teams being the Charlotte 49ers. And the Bonnies came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, playing tough defense and nailing their outside shots. Matthew Wright and Eric Mosley scored 28 of the Bonnies’ 53 points in the first half as eight Bona players cracked the scoresheet. After hitting nine 3-pointers in the first half, the Bonnies cooled down in the second, but the lead was never in jeopardy during the 104-83 spanking of the 49ers at the Reilly Center.  The win marked the first time this season Bona eclipsed 100 points and the first time since they dropped 112 in an 4OT victory over Ohio Dec. 18, 2010

Sloppy Play: While the Bonnies handled VCU’s havoc defense well, turning the ball over just 16 times, Bona could not handle Charlotte’s full-court pressure. The 49ers forced Bona into 15 second-half turnovers, mostly off of inbounds plays and in the back court. It will need to be addressed before their next game. 

Stout Defense: The Bonnies defense has never been confused with the Chicago Bulls’, but their effort against Charlotte would have made even Tom Thibodeau smile. St. Bonaventure limited Charlotte to a paltry 25 percent shooting in the first half and a dismal 38.7 percent for the game

Forgotten Man: Due to foul trouble, Dion Wright entered the game in the first half for his first game action since Feb. 6 at Butler. Wright scored a career-high 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. 

The Wright Stuff: Matthew Wright finally found the stroke that has evaded him since a left foot injury derailed his season. The junior sharpshooter tallied 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. 

Three For The Win: St. Bonaventure has lived and died with the three ball for much of the season and against Charlotte, the rim might have well been the Atlantic Ocean. The Bonnies were blistering from beyond the arc in the first half, shooting 7-for-9 from three and finished the game shooting an absurd 61 percent. 

Senior Impact: After scoring 82 percent of the Bonnies’ points against Duquesne last week, Bona’s seniors once again helped key a third straight victory. The seniors combined for 54 of Bona’s 104 total points. Each senior: Davenport, Simmons, Johnson, Conger and Mosley cracked the scoresheet.

Tight Competition: Without even playing on Wednesday night, St. Bonaventure moved from the 12th and final spot to qualify for the A-10 Tournament, into a four-way tie for ninth. The Bonnies hold the tiebreakers over UMass, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and now Charlotte. 

No. 2 equals 44: Eric Mosleyis doing his best Andrew Nicholson impression over the course of his final games among the Brown and White. Mosley tallied back-to-back 30-point games, including a 39-point effort against UMass — the most ever by a Bona player against an A-10 opponent.

History Repeating: Last year, St. Bonaventure struggled through the early part of the Atlantic 10 Conference schedule, but caught fire at the end, winning four of their last five. With their victory over Charlotte, the Bonnies have won three straight with just two games remaining.

Next Up: The Bonnies travel to UD Arena to take on the suddenly surging Dayton Flyers, winners of two straight. Dayton currently holds a 5-8 record, just one game out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. 

Quotes: 

Schmidt: “I thought in the first half, we could not have played better both on the offense and defense. There was a little bit of a let-down in the second half. We try to put them away but we have them life.”

“That’s the best half of basketball we’ve played. The last four or five games we have played really well.”

“When we are shooting the ball around the perimeter, we are hard to guard.”

Matthew Wright “Around this time last year we hit our peak. We know how crucial that is and I think we are starting to hit our stride.”

Behind The Wolfpack: Bonnies’ Recent Play Gives Hope For The Future

[St. Bonaventure may be on the outside looking in at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, but recent play has given hope for the future – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor-in-Chief, @RMLazo13

BRONX, N.Y. — Everyone knew it would be tough for St. Bonaventure to even come close to experiencing the same type of success they had during last season’s magical run to the Sweet 16, but the surprise is success now comes in small increments.

The Bonnies compiled a 31-4 record, capturing the regular season Atlantic 10 Conference champion crown and one Jessica Jenkins’ 3-pointer from being the outright champs, but fell short in the tournament finals against Dayton. Graduating three senior starters in Megan Van Tatenhove, Jenkins and Armelia Horton, part of the winningest class in program history, didn’t help either.

However, this Bona squad still had six players returning from last year’s squad, three of which who figured to be instrumental in continuing the winning tradition. But injuries struck, knocking Chelsea Bowker and her career 39 percent 3-point shooting out for the season.

CeCe Dixon averaged 7.6 points per game last season and was expected to pick up some of the scoring slack, but while she has modestly improved her points per game average to 8.4, it has not been the improvement Bona had hoped.

Dixon’s struggles have mirrored the struggles of the team —  a season once full of hope turned to one of lessons to be learned. And against a Fordham squad that eclipsed the 20-win plateau for the first time in program history, school was in session once again.

Bona won the opening tip and as almost as quick as they gained possession, Fordham struck quick by capturing an early 12-4 advantage. But as Bona has done all season, they fought back almost immediately and this run was led by Dixon.

The 5-foot-3 guard nailed two 3-pointers including one in which she was fouled on and completed a conventional 4-point play to cut the deficit to 12-11.

“That’s us,” Bona coach Jim Crowley said of his young team. “That’s been the most frustrating part of this season is that we haven’t embraced that. But in the last three games at least, we have. We can control how hard we play. We may not be great shooters, but we can play really hard and give ourselves a chance.”

Yes, small baby-steps for these Bonnies.

Slowly, but surely they have learned to play hard no matter what the scoreboard might say or the situation is dictating. It’s a trademark of a Crowley coached team and it finally surfaced in a loss to No. 14 Dayton last week.

Trailing by 13 points with just 37 seconds remaining, the Bonnies fought to the bitter end, stealing inbounds passes and swishing threes with ruthless efficiency to pull as close as 65-61. But that was as close as they would come.

Against Fordham, Bona trailed 41-27 at the half only to roar out of the locker room on a mission. After their No. 14 ranked 3-point defense surrender nine 3-pointers in the first half, Bona locked down and contested every shot. It was their defense which fueled the offense as they went on a 20-7 run to open up the half.

But once again, their comeback efforts were for not as they could not finish the deal.

“It’s good to see them buying in,” Crowley said. “We’ll see if they continue to and that can give us some real good momentum as we head into the offseason.”

The dreaded offseason word.

Yes, the defending regular season A-10 Champions were officially eliminated from the A-10 Tournament with last night’s loss, leaving them on the outside looking in after an historical season.

But Crowley had a point.

While the success may not be easy to find on a grisly 9-19 record, including nine losses in a row, progress is being made.

Crowley has overseen rebuilding projects before and is doing so once again. For three consecutive seasons, Bona’s head man oversaw a nine-win team, but then something clicked. The team no longer feared opponents and their play improved much like it’s doing again.

The last freshmen class turned into the winningest in program history. While it would be unfair to compare the two, there are plenty of similarities between them and it begins with Katie Healy.

Healy has improved as she has played more games, especially within conference play. The freshman forward is second on the team, averaging 11 points and nabbing 6.8 rebounds per contest. However, it’s her game, one that includes polished footwork in the paint and a deft touch from the outside that has made some to compare her to Van Tatenhove.

Emily Michael has not scored a lot this season, but she has started in 20 consecutive games, becoming a reliable option for Crowley. The Ohio native continually makes the right decisions and plays tough defense with an ability to hit from the outside at a 30 percent clip.

Even Nyla Rueter has come alive in conference play, scoring a career-high 15 points against Charlotte. Her 38 percent shooting from the field will only improve as she becomes more confident in her stroke.

Add to them the return of Dixon, Bowker and Doris Ortega who leads the Bonnies in points per game, rebounds and assists and suddenly the team looks promising once again.

“We know what they can be, but we don’t see it on a consistent basis,” Crowley said after his team’s loss to Fordham. “It’s been good the past couple of games where we’ve seen that consistent effort. Now that we have that and as we head into the offseason, we can really focus on getting people better.”

A win against La Salle won’t mean anything to the Bonnies record, but it would send Bona into the offseason on a high note, setting the stage for a rapid turnaround next season with a group who has learned how to compete in the A-10 Conference.

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

Bonnies Rally Late, Fall To No. 14 Flyers

By Ryan Lazo, Editor-In-Chief, @RMLazo13

Game Story: Attempting to end a six-game losing streak, St. Bonaventure hosted No. 14 Dayton in the Reilly Center. And these Bonnies may have turned in their best effort of the season. Bona tightly contested each and every Flyers’ shot limiting them to just ( ) shooting for the night. But a late-rally would fall short, Bona fell to the Flyers, 67-63.

Frantic Finish: Trailing by 13 points with just 37 seconds remaining, the Bonnies went on a 9-0 run to pull the gap to just four points, 65-61. But Bona would not score again until an Alaina Walker jumper went through nylon with just one second remaining.

Moral Victory: Facing the No. 14 team in the country and the A-10’s top-scoring offense which averages 77 points per game, Bona played up to their opponents. They battled Dayton point for point and did not relent until the final whistle, possibly making this game something to build on not only for this season, but for the future.

Board Problems: Bona was out rebounded on the glass by a 50 to 35 margin including Dayton’s 20 offensive rebounds. However, Bona battled Dayton on each possession, limiting the Flyers to just 32 percent shooting on the game. 

Senior Strong: The lone starting senior Alaina Walker turned in another solid outing. Walker led all scorers with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting, grabbed five rebounds while also dishing out two assists and nabbing two steals

Ortega’s Streak: Doris Ortega has now scored in double figures for the seventh consecutive game after dropping in 12 points on just 4-for-7 shooting. 

Solid Half: The Bonnies, losers of six straight, played an all-around first half. The Brown and White only stared at a 32-24 deficit because of limiting their turnovers (eight) and holding Dayton to just shooting 31.4 percent in the half. Emily Michael’s 3-pointer as time expired in the half pulled Bona to within eight at the half.

Freshmen Impact: Emily Michael, Katie Healy and Nyla Rueter once again made significant contributions to Bona’s effort against the Flyers. The trio combined for 32 of the Bonnies’ 63 points on the games, showing the hope for the future with such a young team.

Young Flyers: Dayton graduated seven seniors from last’s championship winning squad, including four starters but have not missed a beat. Their victory over Bona keeps them undefeated in Atlantic 10 Conference play

Rematch: These two team’s faced off in last year’s Atlantic 10 Conference Championship game as the Flyers raced out to a 27-5 lead. But the Bonnies did not wilt, battling back to take a lead in the second half, but Jessica Jenkins’ 3-point attempt as time expired went off back iron.

Quotes: Jim Crowley “This can only be a victory if we understand that if we play hard all the time then this is what can happen. For the first time in a while, we played the game hard. We didn’t worry about the scoreboard, we just played the game hard.”

Crowley, “That looked like a Bonaventure basketball team. Whether it was an extra pass, helping each other out, we did it. We blocked nine shots. That’s covering up for on another.

Doris Ortega “They thought they were going to come in here and blow us out by 30, but they didn’t. We didn’t get the win, but I’m really proud of my team. We could have given up but we just kept coming back, especially in the last minute.”

Dayton coach Jim Jabir, “St. Bonaventure deserved to win. I’m in no way happy with my team. Our record is gaudy. Our ranking is nice. But it doesn’t in anyway shape or form show how we are currently playing.”

Jabir “Coming to hear is like going to the dentist where you know you have to go, but it’s going to hurt. I don’t think people realize how good Jim Crowley truly is.”

Behind The Wolfpack: Mosley’s Historic Night Snaps Bona Skid

[Eric Mosley races up the court for two of is career-high 39 points, helping Bona capture a 99-94 victory over UMass Wednesday night – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]

By Ryan Lazo, Editor in chief, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — After suffering two overtime defeats in the past week and dropping to 12th in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings, St. Bonaventure needed to snap their recent malaise with a victory.

And these Bonnies came out with urgency and determination right from the opening whistle, taking a 7-2 lead over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst just two minutes into the game.

It was a harbinger of events to unfold as Bona used a devastating offensive attack en route to earning a 99-94 victory at the Reilly Center, just their second win in their last seven games at home.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of my guys,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said. “We got down a little in the second half, but we didn’t cave in. We found a way and that’s what you need to do.”

Schmidt’s correct.

The Bonnies (12-13, 5-7) needed to find a way to defeat UMass after comically finding every which way to lose a basketball game. But Schmidt’s club is not filled with wide-eyed youngsters, but battle-tested seniors playing out their last games.

And it was the Brown and White’s seniors who helped down the Minutemen (16-9, 6-6) for the second-consecutive match-up dating back to last year’s A-10 Semifinal contest.

But on this night, no senior shined brighter than the smallest player on the Bona roster — Eric Mosley.

The 5-foot-10 guard entered the contest averaging 22 points per game over the past three contests, but his effort against the Minutemen was historic.

Mosley scored a career-high 39 points on 12-for-18 shooting, scoring the most points by a Bona player in a regulation game since Greg Sanders’ 46-point effort in 1977 against Detroit. It also marked the most points scored by a Bona player against an Atlantic 10 opponent.

“I can’t really explain it,” Mosley said after his career day. “My teammates looked at me and I just tried to make plays.”

But Mosley hasn’t just tried to make plays — he’s made plays and at a frequent clip.

Last season, the Bona faithful were witness to the brilliance of Andrew Nicholson as he developed ice-water in his veins, coming up big when the Bonnies needed it most.

While it would be unfair to compare the two, Mosley is giving his best impression. With Bona needing a clutch shot at Rhode Island, it was Mosley nailed a fadeaway 3-pointer. With Bona needing a two to tie against La Salle, it was No. 2 hitting the shot to force overtime.

And with the hot-shooting, more minutes have come the senior’s way.

“Eric’s defending better,” Schmidt said of Mosley. “And that’s keeping him on the floor longer. And I’m no dummy. When someone is shooting the ball the way Eric has, then I can give in a little bit.”

But Mosley was not alone in Bona’s highest scoring regulation game since scoring 101 in a loss to Ohio in the 2002-03 season.

Chris Johnson has struggled recently because of foul problems, but the senior played smart in logging 38 minutes of game action and scoring a career-high 22 points while grabbing seven rebounds.

Johnson did not make a 3-pointer on the night, but adjusted his game plan and aggressively took the attack to the Minutemen, driving the basket for acrobatic lay-ups and tear drops.

With each swoosh of the nylon, Johnson grew more and more animated: pumping his fists, unleashing a Tarzan-like yell and a trademark jump and fist pump, showing the true importance of this game.

“It’s the urgency of being a senior,” Johnson said. “You only got however amount of opportunities left in this gym and just looking at the playoff picture. We needed this win, so I came with a high energy level.”
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And that urgency was also shown on the stat-sheet after Demitrius Conger posted his third double-double of the season after scoring 16 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out four assists.

But even more importantly was the team-effort Bona showed, especially at the line where the Brown and White proved that they are the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the conference.

Bona shot 32-for-33 from the charity stripe, missing just one shot on the night for a mind-blowing 97 percent.

“No. Nope. I haven’t,” Derek Kellogg said in reply to whether he had ever seen a shooting performance like that.

But Bona fans have seen a game like this before.

Turn the clock back to last year when Saint Joseph’s visited the Reilly Center. The Hawks answered each Bona run, but the Brown and White always answered back and captured the victory.

In their final five games last season, Bona went 4-1 to nab the No. 4 seed in the A-10 Tournament.

While Bona won’t be grabbing a No. 4 seed, an end-of-the-season run could put them in good position after entering the game just two back out of the No. 6 position.

“Our record isn’t what it’s supposed to be,” Charlon Kloof said before practice on Monday. “We still have games left and still have a chance to get on our winning streak.”

If the Bonnies can get a winning streak together it may be deja vu all over again as the Brown and White head into the A-10 Tournament to defend their conference crown.

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu