COLUMN: Bona’s recent impediment of opposing stars key to defensive success

photo by Megan Lee/The Commonwealth Times

By Jeff Uveino

DAYTON, OH — St. Bonaventure knew it needed a plan to slow down Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland.

The players knew that stopping Hyland, the Atlantic 10 player of the year, would be essential in defending VCU. They weren’t worried, however, about figuring out how they’d do it.

That task, as junior forward/center Osun Osunniyi said before the game, would be head coach Mark Schmidt’s responsibility. And, while Osunniyi and junior guard Jaren Holmes didn’t yet know on Wednesday what Schmidt’s plan for stopping Hyland would be, they knew he’d have the Bonnies ready.

“Schmidt, he’s a basketball genius,” Osunniyi said four days before Sunday’s final. “He’s going to look at film and find ways to see where (Hyland) has struggled and try to use that to our advantage.”

Holmes, despite calling Hyland a “tremendous shooter with unlimited range,” agreed with Osunniyi.

“Like (Osunniyi) said, we’ll let Schmidt deal with that,” Holmes said. “We’re just going to go out there and play. Schmidt’s going to have us ready and they’re going to have a game plan.”

Then came the final, played at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

When the teams retreated to their respective locker rooms at halftime, the Bonnies led by seven points. Hyland had zero. And he was 0-of-3 from the field.

Hyland picked up three fouls in the game’s first seven minutes. Two were offensive; one defensive. The sophomore guard subsequently sat for the rest of the half.

Hyland’s first point of the game came just under over two minutes into the second half, when he got to the line and hit a pair of free throws. His first field goal didn’t come for another seven minutes, as a layup with 9:11 left in the game broke his scoreless streak from the field.

Bona eventually won the game, 74-65, and led by double digits before Hyland got going offensively. Hyland finished with a game-high 21 points but only made four field goals, shot 4-of-11 from the field and scored 11 of his points from the free-throw line.

Schmidt and the Bonnies, the A-10’s best defensive team, slowed down Hyland when it mattered. They frustrated VCU’s top scorer. While impressive, the circumstance wasn’t isolated.

SBU held Jordan Goodwin, Saint Louis’ leading scorer and a first-team all-league selection, to 11 points in its A-10 semifinal win over the Billikens. Nine of those points came in the second half, when Bona maintained a double-digit lead.

In the A-10 quarterfinals, SBU held Duquesne’s Marcus Weathers, the Dukes’ leading scorer and a second-team all-league selection, to six points.

In their final two regular season games, the Bonnies held two more first-team A-10 players, Davidson’s Kellan Grady and Dayton’s Jalen Crutcher, to two and six points, respectively.

Notice a trend?

In the last month, SBU has repeatedly limited the offensive output of opposing stars. That’s helped the team to a league-best 60.4 points allowed per game.

The only members of the A-10’s six-man first team that the Bonnies haven’t held to single-digit scoring this season are Hyland and Tre Mitchell, the UMass forward which the Bonnies did not play against this season.

The numbers are one thing. The players’ trust in Schmidt’s ability to game plan, however, is another.

Schmidt has said multiple times that he’s felt the teams that have had the most success throughout college basketball’s COVID-ridden season are those that stick together and rally around adversity. When a roster wants to play for a coach, as trusts a coach, as much as the Bonnies do Schmidt, those challenges become easier.

After winning the A-10 regular-season title and tournament on its way to a 16-4 record, ninth-seeded Bona finds itself pitted against No. 8 LSU (18-9) in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.

If Schmidt plans to defend LSU by limiting its best player, he’ll have his hands full in doing so. Cameron Thomas, a freshman guard that will have his sights set on the NBA Draft in the near future, leads the Tigers’ offense with 22.6 points per game.

Checking in just behind Thomas are Trendon Watford (16.7 points per game) and Ja’Vonte Smart (15.9 ppg).

While we’ll learn of Schmidt’s defensive strategy against LSU on Saturday, his team’s success in limiting opposing stars this season has been undeniable down the stretch.

The nation’s eighth-best scoring offense, led by a top-20 NBA prospect, will be Schmidt’s biggest defensive challenge to date.

Bona-GW postponed due after Colonials report positive test

photo courtesy of

By Nic Gelyon

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — Another day and another postponement within Atlantic 10 men’s basketball.  

St. Bonaventure’s contest against George Washington, slated for noon Saturday at the Reilly Center, was postponed Friday amid COVID-19 concerns within the Colonials program.

“George Washington notified Atlantic 10 and St. Bonaventure officials of a positive COVID-19 test result from a Tier 1 staff member in the team’s traveling party on Friday,” a statement released by the SBU athletic department read.

Tier 1 personnel includes student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials. According to the statement, the Colonials men’s basketball program will remain on pause per Atlantic 10 coronavirus guidelines until contact tracing and further testing is completed.  

The cancelation comes a day after George Washington’s game Wednesday against UMass was also postponed due to a curfew in Washington D.C. following that day’s riots at the United States Capitol.  

Both teams have been impacted by the virus on multiple occasions this year, both with opponents dealing with COVID-19 and with cases in the programs themselves. 

SBU’s game against Buffalo last month was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns amongst the Bulls, while the Bonnies were forced to pull out of a tournament at the Mohegan Sun bubble in Connecticut in late November due to a positive test within their Tier 1 personnel.

GW, meanwhile, had a game postponed against William & Mary and a game cancelled against South Carolina due to those programs’ COVID-19 issues. 

The Colonials are next scheduled to play Jan. 13 against VCU in Washington, while the Bonnies will be back in action at Fordham the same day. 

Bonnies lose to UMass in heartbreak finish

By Jeff Fasoldt

Everyone at the Reilly Center could picture it in their head—Marcus Posley stepping back beyond the three point line and nailing a three to give the Bonnies a win and a perfect 2-0 record against the UMass Minutemen on the season: not to mention giving Posley his third game winner in a row—but it didn’t happen. In fact, Posley never even got the ball in the final seconds with St. Bonaventure trailing 55-53, as the UMass defenders swarmed him in unison.

Instead, Andell Cumberbatch, who had arguably his best game of the season took a three for the ‘W’ and listened to the students and fans sigh in disbelief as the shot clanked off the back of the rim, and the Bonnies dropped a heartbreaker in front of their home crowd.

Perhaps it should’ve never gotten to the point of having to attempt a game-winner because St. Bonaventure had the lead a good portion of the second half, even as much as by six with under three minutes to play. But, key turnovers down the stretch, including two huge ones that led to UMass points in the final minute, doomed the brown and white.

“I thought we did the job defensively, we just didn’t play 40 minutes,” said Bona’s coach Mark Schmidt. “We didn’t execute.”

Cumberbatch was the bright spot for the Bonnies who struggled to shoot in the first half at just over 30 percent from the field. He had 12, including a couple threes—something that would be nice to see consistently from him for the remaining games.

Posley picked it up in the second-half, scoring 10 of his 13. Still, you could see his rhythm wasn’t there and neither was his shot. At this point it’s almost unfair what everyone expects from the Bona junior after he’s hit two game winners in a row and been in the national spotlight of late.

Dion Wright, the most consistent player on this Bonnies squad had 10 and a team-high eight rebounds.

As much as this was a tough loss for Bonnies fans, you have to give this UMass team credit. They have solid leadership that has helped turn a dismal season around as they’ve won their last five.

Trey Davis, UMass’s starting point guard, led the team with 12 points and also had a big-time steal at the end of the game that led to a trip to the foul line and ultimately helped destroy the Bonnies lead.

Cady Lalanne, the big man inside for the Minutemen, also played well with 10 points and five rebounds. But, the MVP for UMass goes to Jabarie Hinds, who despite just taking five shots and two threes—hit the biggest three of the night to put UMass up by two with eight seconds left and sink the Bonnies hopes.

“They hit a big shot,” said Schmidt. “You have to give them credit.”

Next game for the Bonnies will be a tough road trip to Dayton who defeated them earlier in the season 78-61 at the Reilly Center.

Quick Hitters: UMass

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies dropped a heartbreaker to the UMass Minutemen on Wednesday night, losing 55-53 at the Reilly Center. Here are some quick hitters from the game:

Agonizing ending for Bona: The Bonnies had possession up by one with 22 seconds left when inbounder Andell Cumberbatch had a miscommunication with Marcus Posley, which resulted in a turnover. UMass took full advantage, swinging the ball to Jabarie Hinds for the go-ahead three-pointer. With no timeouts, Bonaventure had to go the length of the floor and got the ball into the hands of Cumberbatch, who missed a three. Youssou Ndoye had a chance to tie the game with a tip-in when the ball went off the iron, but missed as time expired. The Minutemen celebrated as they improved to 8-3 in the A-10, while the Bonnies walked off the floor 6-5 in the conference.

Davis leads UMass: UMass guard Trey Davis had 12 points on 5-11 shooting, a much more impressive 12-point game than he had against Bona on Jan. 3, when he was 4-14, 1-9 from three. The improved shot selection led to better results.

Bonnies struggle offensively: The team shot 36.7 percent (22-60) from the field, a disappointing performance after their 43.1 percent mark against VCU. Marcus Posley struggled to find a rhythm, shooting 4-16 from the floor and 1-10 from three. Andell Cumberbatch and Dion Wright each made five of their 11, but the rest of the team was left looking for answers.

Outrebounded: Last time out, the Bonnies outrebounded UMass by seven. Tonight, they were outrebounded, 32-31.

Not much time at the stripe: The Bonnies only shot eight foul shots, going 5-8. The Minutemen shot 18, going 15-18. The disparity hurt SBU as the Bonnies did not show their usual aggressiveness getting to the rack.

Men’s basketball: UMass (Home) Preview

( photo)

By Chuckie Maggio and Jeff Fasoldt

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies and UMass Minutemen meet for the second time this season on Wednesday at 7 at the Reilly Center.

The teams met in the opening game of conference play on Jan. 3rd at the Mullins Center, a game the visiting Bonnies won in convincing fashion, 69-55. Marcus Posley played the entire game and led Bonaventure with 16 points, while Youssou Ndoye had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Cady Lalanne and Trey Davis had 12 points each for the Minutemen, but their efforts were not enough.

Both teams are coming into this game with some momentum. Everyone knows what Posley and the Bonnies have done the past two games, but UMass is on a four-game winning streak in their own right with wins over Dayton, Saint Louis, Fordham and La Salle, launching them to fifth in the Atlantic 10.

Can the Bonnies sweep the season series against their bitter rivals, or will UMass get the split? Here’s the breakdown:

The Coaches:

St. Bonaventure- Mark Schmidt. 119-117 as Bonnies coach, 5-5 against UMass.

UMass- Derek Kellogg. 123-95 as Minutemen coach, 4-5 against St. Bonaventure.

Key players for UMass:

Maxie Esho, 6-8 senior forward. Esho was one of my key players the first time these two teams battled. He had one nice reverse alley-oop but was held in check for the rest of the game. Esho leads the team in scoring at 12 points per game but what he really brings to the table is the ability to turn games around with his momentum and some of his highlight-reel dunks.

Cady Lalanne, 6-10 senior center. Lalanne got his “you know what” handed to him the first time he battled in the post this year with Bonaventure’s Youssou Ndoye. While these two are similar size, Ndoye had a field day in the post going for 14. Lalanne did have 12 but most of those were meaningless points at the end of the game.

Keys to victory for UMass: 

Derrick Gordon has to do something. Last game he took plenty of shots but struggled to finish, scoring only two points. Last game UMass was 4-21 from three-point land with 15 turnovers. Limiting turnovers and sinking some shots will certainly help the Minutemen cut the edge that the Bonnies have coming into this game.

Keys to victory for St. Bonaventure: The key to the Bonnies’ road victory over the Minutemen was defense. They held UMass to 35.2 percent shooting from the floor and 18.2 percent shooting from three while winning the rebounding battle 37-30. Davis, a 38 percent shooter, was held to a 4-for-14 performance and went a career-worst 1-for-9 from three. Bona needs to keep him in check once again and Youssou Ndoye and Dion Wright need to dominate Cady Lalanne inside again to win the game. The brown and white need to capitalize on those defensive stops to get on big runs and energize the rowdy Reilly crowd, which will not be as big as the VCU game but should still be fairly packed.


Chuckie- The Bonnies matched up so well against the Minutemen last time out that they are surely capable of completing the sweep of Kellogg’s crew at home. Wright is showing an incredible level of consistency with six straight double-digit scoring outputs and would have been the player of the game against VCU before the events of the last 30 seconds. Jay Adams is showing exceptional poise for a freshman point guard, limiting turnovers and making the right pass in nearly every situation. And Posley is in a “2011 Kemba Walker” kind of zone, hitting the clutch shots and doing whatever he needs to get his team the win. UMass is on a roll, but the Bonnies are the more potent team right now, and I’ll take them at home. 67-57 Bonnies

Jeff-  If the first matchup told us anything it was that UMass is not the same team they were last year. This is a team that looked lost, unorganized and completely out of rhythm. Since then, they have played much better and they’ve won their last four including a road win at Saint Louis and a win at home against the Dayton Flyers. The Bonnies are coming off a huge win against VCU, and they will win this one as well. But, don’t expect any court storming from the students after this one as this UMass team is much weaker than last years. 71-62 Bonnies 


Men’s basketball: Bona’s run ends against Saint Joe’s

By Joe Pinter, @JPinter93

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (March 15) — If someone would have told Mark Schmidt back in October that his St. Bonaventure Bonnies would win 18 games and make it to the Atlantic 10 semifinals, he wouldn’t have been sure how to respond.

“I would have looked at them a little bit sideways,” the coach said.

Turns out it wasn’t such a far-fetched thought.

The Bonnies’ unexpected run to the A-10 semifinals came to an abrupt end today as their lack of depth was exposed against a deeper, more rested St. Joe’s team. The Bonnies fell 67-48.

Continue reading “Men’s basketball: Bona’s run ends against Saint Joe’s”

St. Bonaventure Halts Skid Against UMass

By: Joe Phelan, Assistant Sports Editor, @jphelan13

Mosley for Three:
 Eric Mosley had a career-high 39 points, including five three-pointers as the Bonnies defeated the Minutemen 99-94

Freebies:  St. Bonaventure took advantage of UMass’ 29 fouls. The Bonnies connected on 32-33 free throws (97 percent) 

Senior Stars: Seniors Mosley, Demitrius Conger, and Chris Johnson and Marquise Simmons combined to score 85 points. 

CJ Delivers: Johnson scored a career-high 22 points. He also had seven rebounds and three assists. 

Complete Game: Conger had 16 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and one block. He netted timely three-pointers in the second half. 

KO’d: UMass had four players (Sampson Carter, Terrell Vinson, Maxie Esho and Raphiael Putney) foul out. 

Key Postgame Quotes: 

Coach Mark Schmidt: “Eric (Mosley) couldn’t have played better offensively.” 

Coach Mark Schmidt: “Some how, some way we scored more points then them.” 

Coach Mark Schmidt: “You are going to hit some adversity. It how you deal with that adversity that determines the outcome. 

Coach Mark Schmidt: “A team scores 63 points in the second half, and you still win.”

Chris Johnson: “We trying to get to Brooklyn.”

Chris Johnson: “Looking at the playoff picture, we needed this win.”