Bonnies defeat Saints, best start since 2012

photo courtesy of

By: Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — “You can always defend and rebound,” St. Bonaventure women’s basketball coach Jesse Fleming said. 

The Bonnies grinded out a win against rival Siena on Tuesday night at the Reilly Center 50-42. The win came in spite of poor offensive execution, according to Fleming.

“I’m not happy, as far as execution goes,” Fleming said. “I don’t think we got a lot through the offense. Against the top teams in the A10 that’s not gonna work.”

Instead, the Bonnies secured the win through suffocating defense and control of the glass. Siena shot 22% from the field and St. Bonaventure outrebounded the Saints 44-39.

Down 22-21 at the break and finding offense sparingly, the Bonnies looked for a spark in the second half. Newcomer Tianna Johnson provided a boost for her squad with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

“Jesse is always on us about rebounding and crashing hard,” T. Johnson said. “If I get boards it’s just for my team.”

Senior guard Asianae Johnson helped the Bonnies close out the Saints at the end. She scored eight of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a perfect 4-4 from the foul line. 

To Fleming, Johnson’s defensive efforts proved the biggest factor in winning the game.  

With 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter, A. Johnson drew a charge on Siena guard Amari Anthony and proceeded to draw another foul at the offensive end. She hit both free throws and tied the score at 34-34 before the fourth quarter. 

“That was huge. I thought that was a big-time play by a senior,” Fleming said. “If she can do it, then everyone else on the team is gonna go and sacrifice their body.”

Siena guard Rayshel Brown had 14 points for the night. She and A. Johnson traded baskets throughout, reminding Johnson of their previous matchup in the PSAL in New York. 

“It felt like high school, honestly,” Johnson said. “It was a little scuffle during but it was all love at the end of the day.”

Neither team hit shots from the outside, but St. Bonaventure capitalized in key areas. The Bonnies outscored the Saints in the paint 28-14. They also made 14 free throws to only 11 from Siena. 

“Getting to the free-throw line was very much crucial to us,” A. Johnson said. “We didn’t hit a three but we made that up with getting to the line.”

The 2-0 start to the season marks the best for the Bonnies since 2012. They look to build on their hot start when they face the Cleveland State Vikings in their first road matchup of the year.

Too little, too late: Bonnies fall to Siena

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

It has often been said that in rivalry games, you can toss records and statistics from previous games out the window.

Wednesday night’s Franciscan Cup game between the St. Bonaventure Bonnies and Siena Saints was a shining example of that old adage.

The inexperienced Bonnies saw their frenetic comeback attempt fall short on Wednesday night, dropping a 73-70 contest to a Siena Saints team that entered the game 0-2.

The young Bona team showed flashes of offensive brilliance, but they couldn’t find a consistent shooting stroke, shooting just 38.7 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from the free throw line in an abysmal offensive performance.

One of the main factors in the poor shooting performance was Siena’s 2-3 zone, which worked like a charm for the first time in the young season and proved to be too much for Bonaventure to handle.

“We didn’t attack the zone like we needed to,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “Siena was smart to stay in it.”

“We need to execute better both offensively and defensively,” Schmidt continued. “We’re going to come back tomorrow and see what we did wrong.”

Back-to-back three-pointers by Marcus Posley and Jaylen Adams cut the Siena lead to just four with two minutes left, but the Saints made a couple layups to pull away again with a minute left. Andell Cumberbatch’s two threes and Marcus Posley’s buzzer-beating triple proved to be mere stat-stuffers on the score sheet in the end.

“It’s a good sign that we kept on fighting,” said Schmidt. “We could have easily laid down, but no one on this team is going to quit.”

Cumberbatch led SBU with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Marcus Posley added 22 and seven. Unfortunately, for the brown and white, the rest of the team was only able to muster 26 points combined.

The 1-1 Bonnies face Canisius in another rivalry game on Saturday afternoon. If Golden Griffins coach Jim Baron is wise, he will take advantage of the Bonnies’ lack of execution against the zone and implement that into his game plan.

It’s up to Mark Schmidt’s team to learn how to execute against a zone defense to avoid another long game of misses and disappointments.

Mens basketball vs Siena: Quick hitters

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

Bonnies fans were sent home from the Reilly Center depressed as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies men’s basketball team fell to the Siena Saints for the second year in a row.

Can’t dig a hole: After a sluggish start vs. Dartmouth the Bonnies were able to pick it up in the second-half of that game and get the win. This time, it just didn’t happen and there is no one person to blame. The brown and white found themselves down 10 at halftime and ended up losing by only three. However, they trailed almost the whole game. The score says it was close, but it was never that close.

Free-throw misery: There’s nothing more frustrating for a fan than sitting in the bleachers and watching your team miss free-throw after free-throw. The Bonnies gave everyone at the Reilly Center that feeling tonight as they went 14 for 24 (58.3%) as a team.

Trouble with the zone: Only thing Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos could say after the game was “It’s my fault we haven’t been playing it more.” The Bonnies guards struggled to shoot from outside and the big men look stumped as if Siena was actually Syracuse and this was Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone and not Jimmy Patsos’.

Give ’em credit: “Give Siena all the credit,” said head coach Mark Schmidt in the media room after the game. “We didn’t execute.” This is true, and while the Bonnies held them under 40-percent shooting on the night, they hustled harder from the opening tip and gathered eight steals to the Bonnies four. Once down, foul trouble killed Bonaventure down the stretch and even though they fought hard to cut the lead into single digits with just a couple minutes left, they fell short. “It looked like we were trying to make 10-point plays and you can’t do that,” said Schmidt. Siena had 20 points off turnovers to Bonaventure’s five.

Foul trouble: Jaylen Adams, the freshman that Schmidt has been starting at the point picked up three fouls in the first half and picked up his fourth early in the second half, eventually fouling out. He wasn’t the only one; Wright had four, Posley had three and Idris Taqqee had three for most of the second-half limiting Schmidt’s options.

Ndoye not a factor: Youssou Ndoye played his first game of the season after missing the opener vs. Dartmouth for playing in an impermissible game over the summer. He went 1-4 from the field, 2-6 from the free throw line, committed three turnovers and scored four points in his opener. Still, Patsos praised the Bonaventure big man after the game saying he was lucky and thankful they had to play against him in his first game when it was their third.

“I’ve been watching this kid since high school,” said Schmidt. “I think he’ll be a backup center in the NBA next year,” said Patsos after the game.

The Bonnies (1-1) will take on Canisius College Saturday night at the Reilly Center.




Men’s basketball: Siena Preview


[Image courtesy of]

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The Franciscan Cup will be on the line when the 1-0 St. Bonaventure Bonnies host the 0-2 Siena Saints Wednesday night at 7.

Since the sides agreed to play on an annual basis in 2010, Bonaventure leads the series 3-1. The Siena win came last year, when Saints guard Marquis Wright went coast-to-coast for a game-winning layup.

Will the Bonnies reclaim the Cup, or will the Saints bring it back to Albany? Let’s break it down.

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 107-110 as Bonnies coach.

Siena: Jimmy Patsos. 20-19 as Saints coach.

Key players for Siena:

Rob Poole- 6-6 senior guard. Poole was the team’s leading scorer last year with 14.6 points a game and has averaged 20 over the team’s first two games. One thing that jumps out on his highlight tape is that he doesn’t settle for bad jumpers. He’s aggressive, using his size to burrow his way to the hoop for a layup or to create his own shot if he can’t get inside. He has also made steady improvement defensively, going from 3.3 rebounds his freshman year to five boards a contest last season. Poole is a lethal threat on offense and an impact player on D, and containing him is going to be a main priority for the Bonnies.

Brett Bisping- 6-8 junior forward. Bisping has struggled in the Saints’ first two games, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has double-double potential on any given night. He averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, with 18 games of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. He’s not a consistent three-point threat, but he made 31.6% of his chances from behind the arc last year so you can’t rule out the possibility. Bisping’s ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him a dangerous forward to watch for.

Marquis Wright- 6-foot sophomore guard. The hero of last year’s game, Wright fits the role of an efficient point guard, with 8.7 points and five assists a game and 42% shooting last year. As a sophomore, he has more experience and showed increased care in protecting the ball in the first two games this season. Wright isn’t the go-to scoring option on this team, but he will be counted on to facilitate.

Keys to victory for Siena: The Saints will need to fix a couple of things that put them in an 0-2 hole if they hope to get their first win of the season. Firstly, they need to have better perimeter defense. Their first two opponents, UMass and Vermont, were a combined 11-26 from three-point land, a 42.3% clip. Bonaventure went 9-21 from behind the arc in their season-opening win over Dartmouth, with Jaylen and Jalen Adams going 6-7. With potent shooters like those, Siena needs to close out hard and deny them the good looks they were getting on Saturday. Getting Poole the ball is obviously essential as well. He has the size advantage over Bonaventure’s guards, so he will have to use that to his advantage. The athletic Bonnies will go on some runs, so Poole is going to have to score in bunches to keep the Saints in the game.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: Bonaventure has to continue to share the ball. Mark Schmidt’s mantra is that every player is going to have his day in the sun, so they have to be unselfish and let it happen. If they’re swinging the ball and getting everyone involved, the Bonnies are a tough team to beat, especially with this much depth and talent. Drawing fouls will also be a path to victory. The Saints committed 63 fouls in the first two games, giving UMass and Siena a combined 90 free throws. The Bonnies got to the line with some regularity in the first game, shooting 22 free throws; Andell Cumberbatch scored six of his ten points from the stripe. Schmidt should be imploring his team to attack the basket tonight and see if Siena continues to play with a lack of discipline. Rebounding is the key on defense.

Youssou Ndoye’s absence led to some understandable struggles on the glass against Dartmouth, but he’s back and ready to grab those boards. Ndoye’s improvement is one of the main reasons SBU will win this game. He committed four turnovers in last year’s loss to the Saints, including a travel on the last Bonaventure possession to set up Wright’s game-winner. The Atlantic 10 Tournament sparked a change, however, and Ndoye has played with much more control since then. He’s going to have a big game tonight, leading the Bonnies to victory in another close Franciscan Cup rivalry game.

The Prediction: 75-68 Bonnies

Taqqee will provide value for #Bonnies

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

A lot of the students that decided to attend St. Bonaventure University come from Western and Central New York, and because of this many were wearing the Syracuse orange and blue before they put on the Bonnies brown and white.

And, because Syracuse basketball is so popular in the area many of us have heard all the hype surrounding the Orange’s new point-guard, Kaleb Joseph. But, his high school teammate, Idris Taqqee, a 6’4, 190-pound freshman for the Bonnies, could be a steal for Bonnies head coach, Mark Schmidt.

Both Joseph and Taqqee attended Cushing Academy in Ashburnam, Mass., and were roommates.

“We played together since we were freshman in high school,” says Taqqee. “He’s very good, and a great player to play with.”

Taqqee is listed as a guard and could probably pass for a small-foward, but we’ve already seen his versatility in the Bonnies exhibition win vs. Mansfield and their home opener win vs. Dartmouth.

In the exhibition, Taqqee proved that he could stroke it from beyond arc with a solid 2-4 from deep performance. He also snagged three rebounds, had three steals, dished out two assists and scored eight points in a solid 18 minutes of action. In the home opener Taqqee saw 12 minutes of action, scored two points, had two offensive rebounds and garnered one steal.

“I’m definitely going to take the shot if it’s open. We try and play fast-pace so you have to take good shots and if we need a three I’m comfortable taking it,” says Taqqee.

After losing senior guard Matthew Wright at the end of last season to graduation, the Bonnies are in desperate need of a three-point shooter. Taqqee will provide value with his size, vertical and impressive defense, but if he can hit a couple three’s down the stretch that will be huge for Mark Schmidt’s young team.

While at Cushing Academy, Taqqee won back-to-back class AA state championships, and averaged 15.8 points-per-game and 7.8 rebounds-per-game. He was named a “Late-Stock Riser” by the New England recruiting report.

Nonetheless, the transition from high school to college is almost always tough for some of these young athletes, and Taqqee has had to adjust accordingly.

“It definitely hit me in the summer when we got in the gym for lifting,” says Taqqee. “It was so fast-paced.”

Lately, Schmidt has been blessed with flush of talent that the people of Allegany, Olean, Bonaventure, and surrounding towns have not seen in awhile.

Taqqee saw St. Bonaventure as the perfect opportunity.

“My decision to come her really was because of the coaches,” says Taqqee, who chose Bonaventure over Towson and Vermont. “And, the opportunity to be in a small-school setting in the classroom.”

As the weather gets cold, Bonnies fans hope Taqqee and the rest of the team stay hot. They are 1-0 and take on Siena, tomorrow night at 7 pm.





Behind The Wolfpack: Bona Defense Leads To Victory Over Siena


[The St. Bonaventure Bonnies cruised to a 58-43 win over Siena, forcing them into 17 turnovers – Photo by Daulton Sherwin]


By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure may have the talent to score at will prompting cheers from the fans in the Reilly Center but in last night’s game against Siena, all they heard was the clank of the rim.

The ball clanked, banged and hit the rim a total of 37 times as the Bonnies only shot 35.1 percent from the field, yet they defeated Siena 58-43 to retain The Franciscan Cup for the third consectuive year.

How is that possible?

Because this team knows how to play defense. In fact, over the final 8:09 of the second half, the Bonnies (5-2) held Siena (2-7) to just three points the rest of the way.

“This is the prime example of stressing to your team that defense has to be the staple,” Bona head coach Mark Schmidt said following the lowest amount of points his team surrendered since Nov. 20, 2009. “Offense is fickle. Jump-shooting is fickle. If you defend and take care of the basketball, you have a chance to win.”

An offense being fickle would be an understatement for this night.

It seemed for much of the game, Bona was so inept offensively that they couldn’t hit net if it fell on top of them. And knowing full well it was one of those nights that threatened to put basketball back into the 1920s, Charlon Kloof took control of the defense.

In his second season with St. Bonaventure, Kloof has shown the shut-down ability he has on defense. Much like Darelle Revis does in the NFL, Kloof does on the basketball court.

With his long arms, quick feet and determination, Kloof routinely shuts down the opposing team’s best guard.

“He has a gift,” Schmidt said after Kloof held Siena’s Evan Hymes to 5 points on just 2-for-10 shooting. “He has that mentality. He wants to be a stopper. When we play good defense, it starts at the point guard position.”image

And it’s the willingness to take on the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best player that fueled Kloof’s desire to play basketball in the states.

“The first reason I came to America was because of all the great guards,” Kloof said after his 8-point, two assists and two steal effort. “I enjoy it. I enjoy slowing them down.”

But Kloof had help on the defensive side of the ball. Seven different Bona players recorded a steal on the night — Bona had eight in total — with Jordan Gathers being a spark plug off the bench.

Even though the sophomore guard played just 13 minutes, he was able to record a steal and force Siena into a turnover off of an inbounds trap play.

“They’re a great defensive team,” Siena head coach Mitch Buonaguro said after his team’s 17 turnover effort. “They played us well, forced us into mistakes. We knew going in they were a good defensive team.”

But you can’t win without scoring and Bona’s senior captain took care of that with a stat-sheet stuffing of a night.

Demitrius Conger shot just 4-for-11 from the field, but he was able to rack up 14 points, grab eight rebounds, dish out four assists, block two shots and topped it all off with one steal.

Conger put his importance to the team on display in the nationally televised game, showcasing how he can affect the game in many different ways as he played the full 40 minutes.

While the team has confidence in their senior leader, having a defense that can win games also helps.

“I told the guys in the locker room that we shot 2-for-20 from 3-point range and still won by 15,” Schmidt said. “Each year you are going to have nights where you don’t shoot the ball well and the good teams win those games because they defend.”

On their two poorest shooting nights of the season, at Cornell where they shot just 41 percent and against Siena, Bona earned victories.

Luckily for the Bonnies, there is no BCS system in college basketball. They don’t have to be pretty, you just have to get the win. And with a defense that never relents, Bona can have the confidence to know they can overcome the most tragic of offensive performances.