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Game Notes: St. Bonaventure | A-10 Gameday Notebook | Illinois
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St. Bonaventure (3-3) looks to keep momentum as it travels to No. 24/22 Illinois (8-0) in a game televised nationally by ESPN2.
Leading From the Front
Senior All-America candidate Andrew Nicholson enters his final season in the Brown and White. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward from Mississauga, Ont. has racked up some impressive accolades thus far – A-10 Rookie of the Year, First and Second Team All-Conference selections, Wooden & Naismith Award nominations – and looks to continue that trend for one last run.
Last Time Out
Andrew Nicholson led St. Bonaventure (3-3) with 23 points and eight rebounds as the Bonnies took control in the second half and held on for a 66-60 victory at Buffalo (4-2) on Saturday. Buffalo led 31-29 after a tight first half and 46-41 with 12:54 to play in the game after Zach Filzen – who finished with 26 points on 6-of-8 from 3-point range - converted one of his triples. From there though, the Bonnies rattled off 15 unanswered to build a 10-point lead that would hold up for good, though the Bulls pulled to within four twice within the final minute.
Nicholson Returns to Form
Andrew Nicholson shot just 6-of-22 from the floor in his previous two games, but bounced back in a big way at Buffalo, making 8-of-9 and leading the Bonnies with 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Bonnies deployed a new cast of starters in the Buffalo game, swapping Eric Mosley (point guard) and Michael Davenport (2-guard) for sophomores Charlon Kloof (point) and Matthew Wright (2). SBU used the same starters for all 31 games last year (although a different five) and had not made a change in the first five games of this season.
Sharing the Sugar
Sophomore G Matthew Wright leads the team with 21 assists to just seven turnovers through six games this season. He was two short of tying his career-high seven dimes at Buffalo and has totaled three or more assists in all but one game (Cleveland State).
No. 300 for Schmidt
The win over Buffalo was head coach Mark Schmidt's 300th game as a head coach. Schmidt first coached Robert Morris from 2001-02 to 2006-07, before joining St. Bonaventure in 2007-08.
Ndoye Gives a Lift
Freshman C Youssou Ndoye played a career-high 19 minutes for the Bonnies in the win over UB. The Senegal native grabbed three rebounds and made a foul-line jumper while blocking two shots and dishing out an assist to provide a spark off the bench.
Although Charlon Kloof may not have filled the stat sheet in his first start, his energy and steady play certainly helped SBU defeat the Bulls. Kloof finished with four points, four rebounds and four assists to go with two steals and a block.
Against Ranked Teams
Since 1968, the Bonnies are 12-82 against ranked teams and have not bested a ranked opponent since a Feb. 9, 2002 defeat of #24 Xavier, 80-79 (0-16 since).
The Kloof is on Fire
Sophomore G Charlon Kloof recorded a career-high 11 points on 3-of-7 from 3-point range in the Bonnies' loss to Arkansas State. Kloof hit all of his triples in the first 20 minutes to lead all scorers at the break.
Cook, He's a Monster
Redshirt senior F Da'Quan Cook tallied 14 points and snared seven rebounds against Arkansas State. Cook is averaging career-bests in both categories (7.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) in his final season.
It's Been How Long?
Andrew Nicholson grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and added six points versus Arkansas State. He has battled bronchitis of late and went nearly two calendar years since the last time he was held under double figures in back-to-back games (2pts vs. Illinois State 11/29/09, 4pts vs. Mississippi State 12/5/09). He has not been held under double digits in three straight since his freshman season.
Gotta Have the Freebies
Demitrius Conger missed his first free throw of the season against Arkansas State, dropping out of a group of just five players nationally not to have missed. A career 68.6 percent shooter from the line, Conger has raised his conversion rate each season and is 13-of-14 this year.
Conger averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds and went 9-of-9 from the line while shooting 65 percent from the field as the Bonnies split a pair of games versus Siena and Virginia Tech. He nearly recorded a double-double with 15 points and eight boards to help SBU retain the Franciscan Cup against Siena, before matching his career-high 23 points, while hauling in six boards in a loss to Virginia Tech on Sunday. The Brooklyn native's 13.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game this season are both second on the team to Andrew Nicholson.
A Rare Occasion
Andrew Nicholson had an uncharacteristic outing against VT, scoring just nine points on 4-of-14 from the field. It marked the first time in 18 games and just the second time in the previous 40 that Nicholson did not crack double digits.
It Runs in the Family
Redshirt senior Da'Quan Cook ranks second on the team at 6.2 boards per game. While at LSU, Da'Quan's uncle Greg Cook averaged 6.55 rebounds over his 119-game career, including a trip to the 1981 Final Four. The elder Cook passed away in 2005, and Da'Quan has a large tattoo of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster on his side in his uncle's memory.
PG Eric Mosley, who joined SBU after spending seasons at Cincinnati State and Austin Peay, recorded a career-high 17 points and hit 3-of-6 from distance against Siena. The Louisville, Ky. native has been lights-out from beyond the arc so far, hitting 8-of-16 overall, to raise his season scoring average to 9.0 ppg.
Davenport Nearing 1,000
Senior G Michael Davenport is just 257 points away from reaching the 1,000-point milestone for his career. He would become the 39th player in school history to reach the barrier if he averages 11.6 points over the 23 remaining games.
Nicholson rejected four shots in back-to-back games at Cleveland State and Siena, and already owns three of the school's highest single-season block totals (see page 15). He will likely become just the second player in school history to block 200 shots in his career (195).
SBU improved to 2-0 in Franciscan Cup games against Siena with a 64-58 triumph. St. Bonaventure president Sr. Margaret Carney and Siena president Fr. Kevin Mullen agreed that the schools should play for a traveling trophy when the teams meet on the hardwood. SBU won the inaugural cup last season, 82-79.
Michael Davenport (G), Demitrius Conger (F), Da'Quan Cook (F) and Andrew Nicholson (F) started 36 games straight contests together before the Buffalo game. Nicholson has 68 consecutive starts overall.
House of Toupane
St. Bonaventure announced the signing of Jean Yves Toupane (Jawn two-PAIN) to a National Letter of Intent Nov. 16. The 6-foot-7 small forward from Senegal joins his fellow Lee Academy (Maine) teammate, freshman Youssou Ndoye. With long arms and good size, Toupane has the ability to shoot long range and drive towards the basket.
He's All Wright
Matthew Wright was a key factor in the Bonnies' 79-58 win over Cornell. After the Big Red held him to two points in the first half, Wright went off in the second stanza, scoring 11 points to complement a career-best seven rebounds. The Toronto product also dished out five assists to just one turnover.
Up Up and Away
Nicholson continued his career-long assault on the Bonaventure record books during his double-double performance against Siena Nov. 21. Nicholson moved past David Vanterpool (630 rebounds) and Greg Sanders (637 rebounds). His current standing on the rebounding ledger can be found on page 15.
Simmons Sees Early End
Redshirt junior Marquise Simmons suffered a torn Achilles in just his second minute of action Nov. 11 against Cornell, ending his 2011-12 season. Simmons suffered the injury while driving to the hoop and being fouled, but stayed in the game to hit both of his free throws before leaving.
Moving Up in the World
St. Bonaventure is picked to finish fourth in the league preseason poll, the highest since SBU was slotted second in the East division prior to the 2002-03 campaign. Last year, the Bonnies were picked second-to-last among 14 A-10 schools, but far exceeded expectations by finishing seventh, the biggest disparity between preseason prediction and postseason finish in the league.
Three seniors return for their final campaign in F Da'Quan Cook, G Mike Davenport and F Andrew Nicholson. Cook is in his fifth year at SBU and is the only remaining holdover from previous coach Anthony Solomon. Over their three years together, the duo have forged a 49-49 record and are already guaranteed to be the school's winningest class in 10 years.
Out With the Old
Four players from last year's roster have moved on: G Ogo Adegboye (graduation, now playing professionally in Cyprus); F Brett Roseboro (transferred to UMBC); G Sam de Haas (signed professional contract in Holland); and non-scholarship walk-on Jamil Goodwin (transferred to Independence CC in Kansas).
In With the New
Five new players joined the fold in the offseason: freshman G Jordan Gathers; freshman F/C Youssou Ndoye (YOU-sue EN-doy); sophomore G Charlon Kloof (SHAR-lon); junior F Chris Johnson; and junior G Eric Mosley. The quintuplet are expected to contribute immediately and provide great depth to the Bonnies' roster.
A Legend "Lives On"
Freshman G Jordan Gathers is the nephew of Loyola Marymount great Hank Gathers, one of only two players in NCAA Division I history to lead the nation in both scoring and rebounding. Hank Gathers collapsed on the court during a West Coast Conference quarterfinal game on March 4, 1990 and subsequently died due to a heart condition. Jordan Gathers, whose Twitter handle is @44LivesOn, will wear No. 5 for the Brown and White.
Rolling in the Deep
After spending last year with just 10 scholarship players on the roster, the Bonnies are markedly deeper this season with five new additions and increased experience across the board. SBU used the same starting five in all 31 games last season, with four of those five players averaging at least 32 minutes per game.
Sophomore transfer Charlon Kloof has had an interesting path to St. Bonaventure. The Paramaribo, Suriname native was born in South America, moved to Holland at age four and attended JUCO in North Carolina, all before a prep year at Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain's Canary Islands.