Lofton’s game-winning jumper propels Bonnies over La Salle

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

Kyle Lofton did it again. 

The St. Bonaventure guard hit a go-ahead jumper with three seconds remaining and the Bonnies defeated the La Salle Explorers Wednesday night, 62-60. 

Lofton, a freshman, got the ball to start a Bonnies possession with 10.7 seconds left and the score tied. He dribbled to his right, drove to his left and pulled up from the free throw line to send the Reilly Center crowd into a frenzy. 

“It was on me to take the last shot,” said Lofton. “Coach trusts me and gives me room to make errors, so that makes me more comfortable. I was confident and I hit it.” 

Lofton finished the game with 18 points. 

Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said he has been impressed with Lofton’s shot-making ability all season and that the freshman plays beyond his years. 

“I trust him, he plays 40 minutes a game,” said Schmidt. “He hits big shots and he doesn’t play like a freshman. Out of the timeout, I can put the ball in his hands and know that, for the most part, he’s going to make the right play.” 

The game was close the whole way, with SBU leading by four points at halftime. The Explorers came out of the gates strong in the second half, but an and-one dunk from SBU forward Osun Osunniyi followed by a technical on LaSalle gave the Bonnies momentum. They proceeded to go on a 13-3 run. 

The Bonnies led by as many as 11 points in the second half (50-41), but La Salle’s shooting got them back into the game late. 

The Explorers hit ten three-pointers on the night, as opposed to just three from the Bonnies. 

La Salle appeared as if it would get the last possession of the game, but guard Isiah Deas slipped on a drive and turned the ball over, giving Lofton his chance. 

Schmidt talked about SBU’s defensive performance and its struggles that kept La Salle in the game. 

“I always say, if you defend, rebound, take care of the ball and make your foul shots, you’ll do well,” he said. “We only did two of those things tonight. In the last couple games, we took care of the ball and made our free throws, and that’s why we won by a larger margin. We didn’t do those things tonight, which kept it close.” 

Courtney Stockard scored 16 points and dished out seven assists for the Bonnies. Osunniyi had another big night on the glass with 13 rebounds, nine points and five blocks. 

“Defense has always been the main focus of my game,” said Osunniyi. “We feed off the crowd and want to get them in the game early, so if I can block some shots it gets them involved and helps my teammates on the offensive end.”  

La Salle was led by Pookie Powell, who scored 20 points and knocked down four three-pointers. Deas added 16 points. 

Explorers guard Saul Phiri scored 10 points and hit a big three with a minute left to tie the game at 60 before the Lofton magic. 

St. Bonaventure improved to 12-14 overall and 8-5 in the Atlantic 10, and La Salle fell to 8-17 overall and 6-7 in the A10. 

The Bonnies have now won three games in a row and six of their last eight. 

“It wasn’t a masterpiece offensively, but we gutted it out,” said Schmidt. “It was a blue-collar win.”

Schmidt becomes all-time leader with Bona win over George Mason

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Jeff Uveino

The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team defeated George Mason, 79-56, on Sunday afternoon at the Reilly Center– and after the final buzzer sounded, you couldn’t find a face in the RC without a smile.

The win was the 203rd of head coach Mark Schmidt’s career at Bonaventure. That number breaks Larry Weise’s career record for coaching wins at the school, which had stood for 46 years.

The afternoon was capped off by a tear-jerking postgame video tribute.

Congratulatory messages from former Bonnies star Andrew Nicholson, Bona alumnus and top ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, Larry Weise himself and more were followed by a nostalgic trip through some of Schmidt’s most notable wins.

The milestone victory comes 12 years after Schmidt took over the Bonaventure program.

“When you make family decisions like we did, you just never know if you’re making the right decision or not,” said Schmidt. “But I feel comfortable here. The people here have taken us in and made us feel welcomed, and it feels like home.”

Lost in the Schmidt hype was one of the best performances the Bonnies have turned in this season, and another stellar game by a freshman guard.

Kyle Lofton scored a career-high 32 points and shot 7-8 from behind the three-point line. He also dished out seven assists.

Lofton banked home his first three-pointer of the game, and after that, he caught on fire.

“When you see the ball go in, the hoop gets bigger,” said Lofton. “I’ve stayed confident and put bad games behind me. I’ve been in the gym mornings and nights getting reps up which makes me confident.”

Lofton scored 18 of his points in a first half that saw the Bonnies play inspired and jump out to a 17-point lead at the break (42-25).

SBU led 16-0 after the first media timeout, and Lofton had 11 points. He played the entire game until Schmidt emptied out his bench with a minute to go.

“Kyle couldn’t have played better,” said Schmidt. “Hitting those early shots relaxes you, allows you to play more free and gives you energy on the defensive end.”

The Patriots knocked down some shots midway through the second half to get back into the game, pulling the deficit to as little as 10 points. They were unable, however, to shoot consistently enough to overcome the first-half hole.

GMU was without senior guard Otis Livingston II for a good portion of the game, as he would only play 20 minutes while dealing with an injury.

Justin Kier stepped up for the Patriots, leading them with 21 points. Livingston II would finish with 10 points, and Javone Greene also scored 10. 

For St. Bonaventure, Courtney Stockard added 17 points and Osun Osunniyi turned in another superb defensive effort with 11 rebounds and five blocks. Dom Welch chipped in with 10 points.

The Bonnies improved to 11-14 overall and 7-5 in the Atlantic 10. George Mason fell to 15-11 and 9-4 in the A10.

SBU has now won five of its last seven games, and will next face La Salle at home on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The Bonnies continue to climb in the A10 standings, and now sit just one game out of fourth place.

“We want to get into the top four and get the bye until the quarterfinals,” said Schmidt. “Can you win the tournament playing four games? Yeah, but it’s easier to do it in three.”

In a season that has featured less success than Bonnies fans have recently been accustomed to, Sunday’s game and what the win meant to Schmidt and the program gave them a lot to be thankful for.

“I love it here,” said Schmidt. “And hopefully I’m here for a lot more years.”

St. Bonaventure Starts Off Atlantic 10 Conference Play with Win Against UMass

By: Sean Lynch

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies ended 2017 with their first conference win of the season against The University of Massachusetts Minutemen 98-78 at home in the Reilly Center.

Coming off their first ever win in the Carrier Dome against the Syracuse Orange; the Bonnies continued the hot streak with their eighth win in a row to start off play in the Atlantic 10.

Jaylen Adams proved to be a key factor for the Bonnies, finishing with a game-high 32 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Matt Mobley finished with 28 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

The Bonnies started the game off hot, going on an 11-0 run after UMass scored the first basket of the game. UMass broke the streak at 16:32 with a Rashaan Holloway free throw.

The Minutemen broke off their own 13-0 run to tie the game at 23-23 after the Bonnies went on a four-minute drought. Courtney Stockard ended the scoreless spree with a free throw at 7:04. Jaylen Adams shot a long three to bring the lead back to seven with 3:39 left in the half.

St. Bonaventure opted for the long ball to close out the first half, hitting five straight three-pointers until Matt Mobley missed with 1:05 left in the first half. The Bonnies closed out the half with a 47-38 lead over the Minutemen.

Bonas started another run with a second half with another 10-0 run, once again thwarted by a Rashaan Holloway free throw at 12:34. The second half remained in the Bonnies hands behind Adams 17 second-half points.

A huge factor on offense came through Bonaventure’s three-point shooting. The Bonnies shot 8-11 (72.7%) in the first half and closed out the game shooting 10-18 (55.6%) from deep.

The Bonnies were also successful in defending the three, keeping the Minutemen at 8-23(34.8%) from long range.

The Bonnies will start the new year in Dayton, Ohio as they will take on the Flyers on January 3 at 8:30 p.m. in UD Arena.

Five Takeaways From St. Bonaventure Vs. Alfred University

It may not have counted to their record, but the St. Bonaventure Bonnies dazzled, rolling over the Alfred University Saxons, 109-73 in an exhibition game Saturday night, at the Reilly Center.

Here are five things we can take away from the scrimmage.

1. Injuries may, as they usually do, play a factor

Senior star guard Jaylen Adams went down in the first half after appearing to roll his ankle while driving to the rim, wincing and screaming out in pain before limping off the court. He did not play the rest of the game for “precautionary” reasons. Despite how good the Bonnies may look on paper, there is no doubt that they’ll have to deal with injuries as the season unfolds, as will every team in the A-10. Limiting the extent of these injuries and dealing with the adversity they come with will be a big factor for the Bonnies to succeed this season.

2. Courtney Stockard can be a force off the bench 

Junior forward Courtney Stockard came in midway through the first half and looked comfortable despite a 32-month layoff, missing each of the last two seasons due to a foot injury. He had 20 points in 20 minutes, shooting 6-7 from the field including two three-pointers, and 6-7 from the free throw line. If he can log quality minutes off the bench and give the guards time to rest down the stretch, the Bonnies could have one of the deepest teams in the conference.

3. Free throws, free throws, free throws

The Bonnies went 27-35 from the free throw line, which works out to 77.1%. After shooting a solid 76.9% as a team from the line last season, the Bonnies hope to maintain and possibly better that number this season. Making your free throws is essential in close games, especially in the postseason. Perhaps consistency from the line could decide whether this team lives up to the hype.

4. Big man by committee

Unlike the back-court starters, which are set in stone, it is still unclear who will see the most playing time for the Bonnies at the forward position. Junior LaDarien Griffin and sophomore Josh Ayeni started Saturday night, but neither played as much as freshman Ndene Gueye, who logged 20 minutes off the bench, despite recently coming off a shoulder injury. Griffin and Ayeni each saw 17 minutes. Sophomore Amadi Ikpeze should see some playing time due to his 6-10, 250 frame. He saw 12 minutes coming off the bench. It may take a few weeks to find out who will be the starters going forward, but the Bonnies have a few options to consider, a contrast to years past.

5. Athleticism can play a huge factor.

In Alfred University’s defense, they are just a Division 3 school, but St. Bonaventure completely dominated the physical game. The Bonnies Out rebounded the Saxons 44-32, and more than doubled their points in the paint by a whopping 46-18. It will be much more difficult against Division 1 athletes, but showing signs of physicality early is a good sign for the Bonnies.

St. Bonaventure opens up its regular season Friday night at home with a 7:00 p.m. tilt vs. Niagara University.

 

Basketball: Women’s program claims only Bonaventure triple-double

(Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has recorded nine triple-doubles in 20 games this NBA season. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double later in the season than any player since Oscar Robertson in 1963-64.

Want a Bonaventure example of how impressive the 28-year-old’s scoring, passing and rebounding has been? In 2,305 games spanning 97 years, no St. Bonaventure men’s basketball player has ever achieved a triple-double. The women’s program has played 1,140 games, with just one such performance.

On Feb. 24, 2004, then-sophomore Priscilla Edwards scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in a 75-72 double overtime win over Richmond in Bona’s home finale. Two of Edwards’s 10 points were on a layup that tied the game at 62 with 52 seconds left in the first OT. In a 9-19 season that lacked many highlights, it was a quiet but historic feat.

Edwards, now Providence’s associate head coach former Bona coach Jim Crowley, was surprised that she still owns the only such stat line in school history.

“Wow, I thought for sure that Marques Green, Ahmad Smith, somebody would get one,” she said.

“Afterwards, (sports information director) Pat Pierson came over and was going crazy,” she recalled. “When he said I had a triple double I (legitimately) thought it was with turnovers.”

Continue reading “Basketball: Women’s program claims only Bonaventure triple-double”

Basketball: Reilly Center ready for practice on Tuesday

Photo by Chuckie Maggio

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s basketball teams will be back in the Reilly Center for practice on Tuesday, a team official confirms.

The teams spent the first week of official practice in the Richter Center, a multipurpose recreation center open to the university community, while construction crews finished maintenance and upgrades to the support beams that hold up the Reilly Center roof. The Richter Center court dimensions are not NCAA regulation.

How the Reilly looked on Friday. Photo by Chuckie Maggio

The work forced SBU administrators to cancel the program’s annual “Select-Your-Seat Day” season ticket event and coinciding open practice that was scheduled for Oct. 2.

The news that the arena will be open for business this week ensures that the Bona Fan Jam, Bonaventure’s midnight madness-type event, will go on as scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 22. The Fan Jam will give the Bonaventure community its first look at the new-look RC in action, as a video board and new court surface were installed in the offseason.

The first game action will be on Nov. 5, with an exhibition doubleheader. The women take on Edinboro at 1:30 p.m., followed by the men’s game against Alfred at 4.

Column: Fans should stop tweeting at recruits

(Mark Schmidt Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

Former NFL coach Herman Edwards always says the league’s players need a “Don’t Press Send” button to stop them from foolish social media posts.

College sports fans may need the same feature.

The scenario plays out a similar way across the nation: a high school athlete tweets that he has received a scholarship offer. The kid is so excited to be on the path to college ball that he can’t help spreading the news, and that’s perfectly acceptable.

Another group of people can’t help themselves either: the fans.

Alumni, students and fans love these tweets; some are borderline obsessed. The second a recruit’s tweet appears on their timeline, they’re hitting the “reply” button, encouraging him to commit and sign that letter of intent.

The posts seem like harmless displays of fan support, and most of the prep athletes appreciate the attention (Millennials, right?).

What most of these fans don’t know is that by pressing send, they are committing an NCAA violation.

Continue reading “Column: Fans should stop tweeting at recruits”

’89 alum, NY Post columnist Vaccaro enjoying Bonnies’ journey

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

As the lead sports columnist at the New York Post, Mike Vaccaro provides his takes on the New York City sports landscape nearly every day.

His opinions on teams like the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Jets may often represent the views of the regular fan, but Vaccaro’s rooting interests have faded due to his writing career.

All rooting interests except for one, that is.

Outside of the newspaper, especially on Twitter, Vaccaro is one of the most visible St. Bonaventure basketball fans you’ll find. His “Unfurl” tweets, which reference the old SBU fight song “Unfurl the Brown and White,” are staples after Bona victories.

After tough losses, like the defeat the Bonnies suffered at La Salle on Feb. 17, “Vac” captures the basketball-rooting community’s thoughts once again, tweeting about how “it’s good to care about something so deeply” despite them breaking his heart once again.

A 1989 graduate, Vaccaro chose to attend Bonaventure because it provided him with the three things he was looking for in a university: a good mass communication program, a small student body and Division I basketball.

Continue reading “’89 alum, NY Post columnist Vaccaro enjoying Bonnies’ journey”