Bonnies Host Loyola (Md.) Looking to End Greyhound Streak
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After an eight-day break, St. Bonaventure (4-4) returns to the hardwood to battle a Loyola (Md.) team that has won eight straight.
Leading From the Front
Senior All-America candidate Andrew Nicholson is in his final season with the Bonnies. 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
Chris Johnson scored a career-high 19 points to pace four Bona players in double figures as St. Bonaventure (4-4) earned an 81-62 victory over Canisius (1-7) Saturday night at the Reilly Center. Matthew Wright added 16, Andrew Nicholson booked his 19th career double-double with 10 points and 10 boards and Da'Quan Cook chipped in 10 as the Bonnies sent their Little Three rival to their sixth straight loss.
Bona Ties to Loyola
Tidbits on the Bonnies connection to Loyola: (1)Bona head coach Mark Schmidt served as assistant at Loyola during the 1993-94 season, helping the Greyhounds to their first-ever NCAA tournament berth. (2) Bob Lanier secured a program-record 27 rebounds and had 34 points as a sophomore in a 94-78 win over Loyola Dec. 22, 1967.
Johnson Steps Up
Junior guard Chris Johnson enjoyed a career day against Canisius (Dec. 10), totaling new high-water marks in nearly every statistical category: points (19), assists(2), field goals made (5) and attempted (9), free throws made (7) and attempted (8), 3-pointers (2) and attempts (4) and minutes played (25). his game-best 19 points matched the Bonnies margin of victory over their Little 3 rival.
St. Bonaventure had new banners on display at the Reilly Center for the first time against Canisius, hanging one from the rafters for each postseason appearance, with special pennants for the 1970 Final Four and 1977 NIT Championship.
Cleaning the Glass
The Bonnies leading rebounder in each of the last six games has been the same player: Andrew Nicholson. The senior boasts a career-best 8.1 boards per game this season and has posted double-digit caroms twice this year.
Hitting the Century Mark
Senior Andrew Nicholson will play in his 100th career game and make his 95th start with the Brown and White on Sunday. David Messiah Capers is the Bonnies' all-time leader in games played (126), but Nicholson could become just the second player in school history to play more than 120 games if he remains healthy the rest of the season (19 remaining games scheduled).
Don't Judge a Book…
Digging a little deeper into the Bonnies' 4-4 record reveals that the combined record of opponents who have defeated SBU is 32-9 and that no team is below .500 (as of Saturday): Cleveland State 10-1; VT 7-3; Arkansas State 5-5; Illinois 10-0. Two of those teams (rv/rv Cleveland State, 19/19 Illinois) are listed among the nation's top teams.
New York, New York
St. Bonaventure is in its second game of a six-game stretch that will keep the Bonnies in the Empire State. After defeating Canisius in the RC, SBU will serve as the host team in three games over a five-day stretch, including a trip to Rochester to face NC State at the Blue Cross Arena. SBU travels to Niagara Dec. 30 before concluding the travel-friendly span Jan. 4 against GW to open conference play.
A-10 is Top Heavy
Peeking ahead at the upcoming Atlantic 10 schedule, 11 of the league's 14 teams have records at or above .500, led by an undefeated Xavier team that has climbed to eighth in the national rankings and a Saint Louis squad that is receiving votes. Just three of the league's 14 teams have marks below .500 and only one (1-9 Rhode Island) is more than two games off the break-even mark.
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 (196).
Sharing the Sugar
Sophomore G Matthew Wright leads the team with 26 assists to just 10 turnovers through eight 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 two games (Cleveland State, Illinois).
Ndoye Draws a Start
Freshman C Youssou Ndoye, 6-foot-11 Senegal native, earned his first career start against 24/22 Illinois. Ndoye helped limit Big 10 Player of the Week Meyers Leonard to just three shots, while logging 11 minutes of game action.
No. 300 for Schmidt
The win over Buffalo was 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.
Let Me Upgrade Ya
There's no debating that the Bonnies have significantly upgraded the schedule during Mark Schmidt 's tenure. Three of the four losses this season are to RPI-top 55 teams (CSU 39, VT 55, UI 38) and the Bonnies' 77 rating in the RPI this season (as of Dec. 17) would be its lowest since an NIT season in 2001-02 (81).
Sophomore guards Charlon Kloof and Matthew Wright have guided SBU to a 2-1 mark since being inserted into the starting lineup against Buffalo. Wright is the team's third-leading scorer (8.9ppg) and top assist man (2.6:1 A/TO) while Kloof's energy, athleticism and savvy (2:1 A/TO) give SBU a spark.
It's Been How Long?
Andrew Nicholson grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and added six points versus Arkansas State. He battled bronchitis earlier this season 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.
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.
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 18-of-20 this year.
It Runs in the Family
Redshirt senior Da'Quan Cook ranks second on the team at 6.0 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 hot from beyond the arc so far, hitting 13-of-31 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.
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.