Bonnies face Loyola Maryland in their final nonconference home game

photo courtesy of gobonnies.com

By: Anthony Goss

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies have hosted their last three games in the Reilly Center. On Wednesday they end their four-game home stretch against the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds. 

St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt stressed the importance of his team protecting its home court. The Bonnies play away from the Reilly Center until a matchup with Fordham on Jan. 5. 

“Every home game is critically important,” Schmidt said. “In order to have a good year, you gotta protect your home court.”

The Bonnies will look to build off their dramatic finish against Buffalo on Saturday. The win gave them a 7-1 record, good for first place in the Atlantic 10. 

“We’re pleased that we’re 7-1, we’re not satisfied,” Schmidt said. “We need to continue to work.”

Loyola enters the game with a 5-4 record. The Greyhounds, out of the Patriot League, have won their last four games.  

“In order for us to have success, we gotta play our A-game and our guys understand that,” Schmidt said. “They’re playing really well. Spencer and Andrews are really really good.”

Schmidt spoke highly of Loyola guard Cam Spencer. The junior leads the scoring for the Greyhounds with 19 points per game and grabs five rebounds per game. 

“He’s got an old man’s game,” Schmidt said. “He’s one of the knowns. He can’t have a great game against us.”

With Kyle Lofton likely out of the lineup again, the Bonnies will need a collective effort to make up for the production from the senior point guard. Schmidt expects the younger players will stay ready with another opportunity on deck. 

“They’ll be ready to play just because they know how important it is,” Schmidt said. “We’re gonna need them as we go forward in the season.”

Loyola and St. Bonaventure are scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN+. 

Lofton injures ankle as Bonnies fend off Coppin State

image courtesy of gobonnies.com

By: Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team hoped to find answers for their early-season miscues Wednesday night against the Coppin State Eagles. Instead, they left Bob Lanier Court with more questions.

The Bonnies started slowly in the first half, unable to separate from 1-9 Coppin State. The inconsistent level of play from the first to second half has become concerning for reigning Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, Mark Schmidt. 

“I didn’t think we played hard in the first half,” Schmidt said. “I thought Coppin played harder than we did. When you play harder, good things can happen.”

A back-and-forth first half saw the Bonnies down 30-29 with just under five minutes to play. The Golden Eagles reeled off 11 straight points, capped off with a Tyree Corbett layup, giving the visiting team a 12-point lead with 2:39 remaining.

The Bonnies quickly responded with an Abdoul Karim Coulibaly three, which cut the deficit to just four at half. The bench production was one of the few bright spots for St. Bonaventure. 

Coulibaly finished with 10 points as the Bonnies looked to give him touches inside. Quadry Adams added just four points, but he made his impact defensively.

“I thought Karim and Quadry came in and gave us a lift,” Schmidt said. “Quadry didn’t have a great line, but I thought he played a great defensive game.”

Once again, the Bonnies improved their play in the second half. A pair of Jalen Adaway free throws with 15:45 remaining in the game gave the Bonnies the lead. 

Adaway finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Senior guard Jaren Holmes led the Bonnies in scoring with 24 points; he also had 10 rebounds.

St. Bonaventure expanded its lead to 13 points, but the Eagles hung around. The starters remained on the court, and senior guard Kyle Lofton took a hard fall with 50 seconds left in the game. Coaches and trainers carried him to the sidelines. 

Lofton had 16 points and 9 assists in the game. When asked about Lofton’s status, Schmidt responded, “I am not a doctor.”

The Bonnies won the game, 93-81, but took no solace in their performance against Coppin State. 

“I’m not really pleased,” Holmes said. “We’re a better team. We’ll get better, we gotta fix some things. We can’t keep coming out like that.”

The Bonnies improve to 6-1. But with the status of their star point guard in question, they face arguably their biggest test this season Saturday against Buffalo. 

The Bonnies need to find answers fast. 

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.”

Moreaux can’t wait for his first experience in the RC

By: Keara Donnelly 

Junior 6’6 forward Melkisedek Moreaux (Melki) has come all the way from Hamburg, Germany to make an impact for the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team.

Before committing to SBU, Moreaux attended junior college at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.  He averaged 14.2 points and 10.3 rebounds over 29 games. He made 48 percent of his shots from the field and 67 percent at the free throw line.  He finished 16th among NJCAA Division 1 players in rebounding and achieved double figures in 14 of his 29 games. He also received honorable mention honors in the Iowa College Athletic Conference.

Reporter Keara Donnelly sat down with Moreaux to get his thoughts on his inspirations, expectations and impressions about playing for the Bonnies.

  1. When did you start playing basketball?

Moreaux: “When I was 15 years old I started to play for fun, but I started to play serious and competitively until the following year in England at Preston Academy. It was different coming from Germany to England and then to Nebraska for junior college to play basketball.”

  1. Why did you choose St. Bonaventure?

Moureaux:  It was mainly the visit and the connections I made with the coaches when they saw me practice. We had built a good connection and felt this place and the environment was meant for me.”

  1. What will you bring to the team?

Moureaux: “I hope to bring athleticism, speed, rebounds, make extra passes and score. I am an all-around player and hope to bring all these techniques to the game.”

  1. What are your thoughts on the Reilly Center?

Moreaux: “I have heard a lot about the RC and have seen some games on YouTube. It looks really fun out there and I cannot wait for my first experience.”

  1. Do you have any rituals you have before the game?

Moureaux: “I pray before every game.”

  1. Who is your favorite basketball player? Does this person impact your game?

Moureaux: “Luol Deng because he is from England. I went to his camps back home and he has helped a lot of people in the UK. He is one guy I really look up too.”

Freshman looks to continue success as a Bonnie

By: Matthew Shalloe 

After a year in which St. Bonaventure finished with a 26-8 record, clinching themselves a NCAA tournament berth, they looked to reload instead of rebuild.

The Bonnies brought in a total of four freshman, one of them being Western New York’s all-time leading scorer, the 6-foot 5-inch 185-pound guard out of Cheektowaga High School, Dominick Welch.

Welch spent a year at Spire Academy, a prep school located in Ashtabula County, Ohio. When asked about how his time in prep school prepared him for this moment, Welch said, “It matured me. I feel as if it got me ready both mentally and physically for the season coming up. It got me away from home and prepared me very well.”

Coming out of high school and through his year at Spire Academy, Welch had offers from Temple, Siena, Buffalo and Hofstra, along with St. Bonaventure.

“Bonnies, for me, was the best choice,” Welch said. “They had recruited me since my junior year. I really liked how they stayed connected with me through the whole recruiting process. Being close to home was a big factor, and just the community seemed like a good place to be.”

Coming out of a high school sport and going into college athletics is always a big adjustment, no matter what sport it is. When asked how he feel his game would translate to the NCAA, Welch said, “I think it translates well.” But like any young player, he mentioned things he needs to work on.

“I would like to improve my ball-handling and getting stronger,” Welch said. “I feel as if I need to study the game more for me to really improve.”

Lastly, Welch talked about his expectations for both himself and the team heading into his freshman season.

“I expect that everybody works hard,” he said. “We want to be even better and carry on the success from last year. For myself, I expect to go hard every time I’m on the court and never let the team down.”

Welch and the 2018-19 Bonnies team continues to get ready to take on the Bucknell Bison to open the season Wednesday, November 7th at home for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Bonnies survive scare against Spiders

By Josh Svetz and Sean Lynch

The Bonnies entered the Capital One Arena with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

They’ve been here before. Two years ago, Bona’s was a contender for an at-large bid when they entered the A-10 Tournament as the 1-seed vs. Davidson. That game ended in an overtime heartbreak.

This time, Bona’s delivered.

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies extended their win streak to 13 with a 83-77 nail biter over the Richmond Spiders in the Quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament.

The first half started off slow for the Bonnies and the Spiders. Both teams did not score until the 16:40 mark off a Courtney Stockard bucket.

Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt emphasized the struggles that they faced offensively in the first five minutes of the game.

“I always tell our guys the first five minutes of the game and the first 10 possessions of the second half are critical,” Schmidt said. “And I thought Matt (Mobley) did a heck of a job to get us going.”

Jaylen Adams started the game off cold. Adams had 0 points in the first half of the game and finished with only five points.

Richmond’s Jacob Gilyard and Khwan Fore proved to be a problem for the Bonnies in the first half. Fore shot 5-6 for 11 points and two rebounds. Gilyard dropped nine points, shooting 3-4 from long range.

The Bonnies went to the locker room tied at 32 a piece.

After a contentious 1st half, Matt Mobley gave the Bonnies the best start possible.

With Adams struggling, someone had to step up. His back court mate Matt Mobley fit the mold. Mobley finished with 29 points, shooting 10-14 from the field and 9-13 from long range.

Mobley talked about his performance from long range and picking his teammate Adams up.

“We told each other last year that no matter what both of us can’t have an off game at the same time, so he was struggling a little bit and wasn’t getting any open looks,” Mobley said. “I had a lot of open looks. My teammates did a great job of finding me and I was knocking down the shots. I just wanted to give us a little bit of confidence.”

Schmidt also placed emphasis on multiple players stepping up for the Bonnies when a teammate has an “off-game.”

“This is not the first time that Jay didn’t play well or Matt didn’t play well,” Schmidt said. “Even in this 13 game winning streak, those guys haven’t played their A-game every game and we’ve had other guys step up and that’s what a team does.”

At one point in the 2nd half Mobley, along with Stockard outscored the whole Richmond team. The Bonnies opened the half on a 21-3 run and kept the pressure up, taking a 53-37 lead. Mobley came back and electrified the crowd again hitting two more threes.

He didn’t miss in the second half until the 10-minute mark. But even with the deficit, the Spiders wouldn’t go away. With nine minutes to go the Spiders knocked down three- straight three pointers and cut the Bonnies lead to single digits. But the Bonnies handled it. And then, Stockard went down. He didn’t return to the game, leaving a big hole on both sides of the ball.

An 11-0 run by the Spiders brought the score to 74-68 with four minutes to play. The Richmond fans took back the Arena from the Bona faithful, out doing the decibel level with their cheers. But as the game went down to the wire; the wolf pack got rowdy.   

“We knew our friends were going to come out and support,” Mobley said. “We have the best fans in the country and they’re going to be everywhere. It definitely felt like a home game, but we’ll need them all back tomorrow.”

The momentum had officially shifted. But the Bonnies held tough, even though the Spiders were down just 2 points with 1:30 to go. However, a familiar face sealed it. Adams knocked down three free throws in the final minute and the Bonnies held on, 83-77.

The Bonnies will play the winner of Davidson vs. St. Louis at 3:30 P.M. tomorrow.

Mobley brought up that there is still work to be done for the Bonnies if they want to be in the NCAA Tournament.

“The only way we can secure our spot is winning [this] whole thing, honestly,” Mobley said. “The snub In 2016, everybody remembers that and we don’t want to go through that again. The only way to avoid that is win [this] whole thing.”

Bonnies clinch 2-seed with 12th straight win

By Isaiah Blakely

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies clinched the 2nd seed in the A-10 tournament with a win over the Saint Louis Billikens (16-15, 9-9 A-10) 64-56, Friday night at Chaifetz Arena.

The Bonnies are now 24-6 and 14-4 in conference, tied for the most conference wins in the program’s history. With a win streak of 12, they are now tied for the second longest win streak in the country only behind Murray State’s 13-game win streak. The Racers clinched the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title on Saturday night.

The Bonnies were led by  redshirt-junior Courtney Stockard. Stockard, a St. Louis native, notched a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Stockard, along with the rest of the team, struggled offensively in the first half. Stockard was 1-8 and the team only shot 39% from the field. Senior Idris Taqqee was a big factor in the first half scoring all seven of his points in that half, including a three pointer that sparked a 9-0 Bonnies run. Freshman Izaiah Brockington scored the last four points of the half to give the Bonnies a 31-25 lead.

The second half was a different story for Stockard. The redshirt-junior shot 7-10 from the field, scoring 16 points at the tail end of the game alone, including a jumper to stop an 11-0 Billikens run with 3:21 to go.

Junior LaDarien Griffin also stepped up, finishing with eight rebounds and scoring all seven of his points in the second half. Sophomore Josh Ayeni also returned to action after missing the last six games due to team suspension for disciplinary reasons .

With that win the Bonnies continue to put themselves in prime position to earn an at-large in the NCAA tournament. With a win or two in the tournament next week there’s a chance the Bonnies could lock up an at-large bid for the first time since 2000 and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.

With this win streak and losses by teams in the top 25, the Bonnies could be a top 25 team heading into the conference tournament for the first time since the 1970-1971 season. For all these reasons, plus first seed URI struggling as of late, losing the last three out of five games including a loss to the Bonnies in the Reilly Center, the Bonnies enter next week as one of the favorites to win it all in Washington D.C.

The Bonnies will face off against the winner of Duquesne vs. Richmond. They won both games against Duquesne, and won their only game against Richmond. Both games against Duquesne were decided by a combined nine points and the Bonnies only beat Richmond by single digits. Neither of these teams will be an easy match up on Friday March 9th at 6:00 p.m.

Still, with a possible return to the top 25 and a win streak that matches the best, the Bonnies are in prime position to make noise next at the A-10 Tournament and ultimately make the dream of March Madness a reality.

 

Quick Hits: Dayton snaps Bona’s win streak

By Jeff Uveino

The last time St. Bonaventure traveled to UD Arena, they shocked the then #15 ranked Dayton Flyers, fueled off 31 points from Jaylen Adams.

But Wednesday night’s contest wouldn’t produce the same results.

After going in as slight favorites on the road and riding an eight-game win streak, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies fell to the Flyers, 82-72. 

The Flyers started hot, turning a 14-4 run to begin the game, into a 14-point halftime lead.

St. Bonaventure closed the gap at single-digits midway through the second half, and again toward the end of the game, but couldn’t catch the Flyers. 

Dayton was hot from the floor the whole game, shooting 56% on the night. Their defense held the Bonnies in check to the tune of just 39% shooting from the field. 

The Flyers received big scoring contributions from multiple players, led by Darrell Davis, who had 28 points. Trey Landers added 17 points, and Jalen Crutcher had 12 points.  

The Bonnies’ backcourt duo of Adams and Matt Mobley filled the score sheet, but were kept quiet enough by the Flyers’ defense to prevent overcoming the team’s overall poor shooting.

Mobley had 24 points, all of which came in the second half. Adams added 15 points and 7 assists. Freshman Izaiah Brockington had 10 points coming off the bench. 

With the loss, St. Bonaventure fell to 11-3 overall, and 1-1 in Atlantic 10 play. Dayton improved to 7-7 overall with the win, and 1-1 in A-10 play. 

The Bonnies will look to rebound as they travel to Philadelphia for a Saturday game with St. Joseph’s.