Bonnies Look to Carry Momentum Into Conference Play
Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | GW
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St. Bonaventure (7-5), with five wins in its last seven games, hosts George Washington (5-8) in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams.
Last Time Out
Demitrius Conger recorded his fifth career double-double with a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds to guide St. Bonaventure (7-5) to a 72-70 victory over Niagara at a sold-out Gallagher Center. St. Bonaventure led by as many as 17 in the second half and held on as Niagara's Juan'ya Green put the Purple Eagles on his back, scoring 26 of his career-high 32 points over the final 20 minutes.
St. Bonaventure heads to Duquesne (9-5) for its first conference road game of the season. As travel partners, the Bonnies and Dukes will meet twice this season with the second pairing coming Feb. 11 at the Reilly Center. SBU also faces URI and Fordham twice.
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.
About the Colonials
GW enters Wednesday's game having most recently snapped a seven-game losing streak with a victory over Delaware State on New Year's Eve. The Colonials won three of four to open the season. Preseason A-10 First Team selection Tony Taylor (13.2ppg) and Lasan Kromah (10.5ppg/5.7rpg) lead in scoring.
Last Year Against GW
Matthew Wright erupted for a career-high 18 points to lead all scorers, Andrew Nicholson chipped in 13 in 19 foul-limited minutes, and St. Bonaventure (10-8, 2-3 A-10) defeated George Washington 62-49 Jan. 22, 2011 for its first road victory against the Colonials (10-9, 3-2) since Jan. 11, 1989. It was the first time the Bonnies held an A-10 opponent under 50 points in a win on the road since a 46-44 decision at Fordham Feb. 21, 1998. The Bonnies hadn't kept a league opponent to under 50 points overall since Jan. 29, 2000 - an 84-44 drubbing of URI in the Reilly Center.
Demitrius Conger's 27-point, 11-rebound effort against Niagara marked his fifth career double-double and first this season. Conger leads the Bonnies in scoring at 17.8 points per game over a 4-1 stretch for SBU and is just .4 of a point behind Andrew Nicholson for the team scoring lead overall. The junior Brooklyn native has seven games of 10 or more points so far, including four consecutive (see page 7).
Conger Clicks at Incredible Clip
The junior swingman is 56-of-95 from the field this year for a 58.9 field goal percentage. That number ties for the second best in school history (behind Andrew Nicholson's 60.2 as a freshman) but does not qualify for the NCAA's ranking (he would tie for 20th) because he has not made at least five field goals per game. He has increased his percentage dramatically in each of his three campaigns thus far (39.2-48.4-58.9)
Get Out Your Brooms
St. Bonaventure earned a sweep of Big Four rivals Buffalo, Canisius and Niagara for the first time in program history with its win at Niagara last week. Bona had not managed to beat all three teams in the same campaign in four prior opportunities: 1995-96 season, 96-97, 98-99, 2010-11. Note that SBU and UB have met just seven times overall, while the Bonnies have played Canisius (160) and Niagara (151) a combined 311 times.
The Bonnies, picked for fourth in the league preseason poll, are 2-2 in Atlantic 10 Conference openers under Mark Schmidt. In last year's debut, SBU and Charlotte went three overtimes with SBU pulling out a 92-88 victory at the Reilly Center.
They're Heating Up
SBU has won five of its previous seven games, with its only losses coming away from the Reilly Center to foes from BCS Conferences (@Illinois, vs. NC State). Demitrius Conger is the team's leading scorer in that span (15.1ppg), ahead of Andrew Nicholson (14.3). Matthew Wright has been dangerous from beyond the arc (16-43, 37.2 pct), while Chris Johnson is a virtual lock from the line (23-25, 92.0 pct). Wright, Johnson and Charlon Kloof each have 19 assists to facilitate a Bona team that is shooting at 45.9 percent while holding opponents to 61.7 points per game on 39.3 pct from the field.
A Dish to Pass
Charlon Kloof passed out six assists to record a career high in the win over Saint Francis. Kloof's passes led to 16 points for SBU, including a trio of 3-pointers from Matthew Wright and a layup each for Demitrius Conger and Chris Johnson. Fellow backcourt mate Eric Mosley doled out a personal-best five dimes in the Bonnies' win over Niagara.
Johnson Steps Up ... Again
Junior guard Chris Johnson matched his career-best with 19 points in a win over Loyola (Md.) Dec. 23. He posted the same total against Canisius 13 days prior with a similar stat line: 5-9 FGs with a plethora of FTs (7-8 vs. Canisius; 9-10 vs. Saint Francis). His game-best 19 points matched the Bonnies margin of victory over Canisius and the North Preston, Nova Scotia product has 10+ points in his last three games with 10+ minutes.
Cracking the Top 10
Andrew Nicholson moved into the top 10 on the career scoring and rebounding charts with his 16-point, six-rebound effort against NC State. His current standing on both charts can be found on page 15.
Ice in His Veins
With the Bonnies trailing 65-63 and the clock running low at the Blue Cross Arena, Eric Mosely worked free for a drive down the lane and drew a two-shot foul with just 3.1 seconds to play (he made his layup, but the ball glanced off the shotclock and was ruled out of play). Mosley - a career 81.4 percent (35-43) free throw shooter including his season at Austin Peay – calmly stepped to the line and connected on the front end before NC State used a timeout. After the break, the junior hit nothing but net again, tying the game for the ninth time and setting the stage for NC State's miracle game-winner.
Ndoye Patrols the Paint
6-foot-11 freshman C Youssou Ndoye boasts a team-best four blocks over the last five games. The Senegal native boasts a 7-2 (86") wingspan and has been a valuable reserve in the post in his first collegiate season, even earning a start opposite then-24/22 Illinois and 7-footer Meyers Leonard.
Released the 'Hounds
The Bonnies scored 14 of the game's first 16 points against Loyola to open it up and held a double-digit lead for much of the game over a Loyola team that had won eight straight. Loyola held the Bonnies without a field goal from the 8:34 mark on and mounted a 14-4 run behind Justin Drummond's 13 second-half points to pull closer, but SBU kept it out of reach from the free throw line.
Fitting the Pieces Together
The Bona starting cast of Kloof-Wright-Conger-Cook-Nicholson is now 4-1 on the season. The Bonnies have used three different lineups to begin games this season. Check page 18 for the start chart breakdown.
Hitting the Century Mark
Andrew Nicholson played in his 100th career game and made his 95th start with the Brown and White against Loyola (Md.). David Messiah Capers is the Bonnies' all-time leader in games played (126).
Don't Judge a Book…
Digging deeper into the Bonnies' 7-5 record reveals that the combined record of opponents who have defeated SBU is 52-21 (as of Jan. 2): Cleveland State 12-3; VT 11-3; Arkansas State 7-8; Illinois 12-3; NC State 10-4. Two of those (Cleveland State, rv Illinois) have been listed among the nation's top teams.
New York, New York
St. Bonaventure is in its sixth game of a stretch that kept the Bonnies in the Empire State. After defeating Canisius in the RC, SBU served as the host team in three games over a five-day stretch, including the trip to Rochester to face NC State at the Blue Cross Arena. SBU then traveled to Niagara Dec. 30 before concluding the travel-friendly span Jan. 4 against GW to open conference play.
Andrew 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 sits just two rejections away from becoming the second player in school history with 200 or more.
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. Four of the five losses this season are to RPI top-60 teams (CSU 54, VT 57, UI 27, NC State 60) and the Bonnies' 97 rating in the RPI this season (as of Dec. 29) would be its lowest since an NIT campaign in 2001-02 (81).
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.
It Runs in the Family
Redshirt senior Da'Quan Cook ranks second on the team at 5.5 boards per game. While at LSU, Da'Quan's uncle Greg Cook averaged 6.5 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.
Eric Mosley, who joined SBU after spending seasons at Cincinnati State and Austin Peay, booked a career-high 17 points and hit 3-of-6 from distance against Siena.
The Kloof is on Fire
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.
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.
Simmons, Davenport Out
Marquise Simmons (achilles vs. Cornell) and Michael Davenport (shoulder vs. Canisius) each suffered season-ending injuries and will not play the rest of the year.