January 7, 2012

Bona, Duquesne Continue A-10 Play Saturday in Pittsburgh

Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | Duquesne
Duquesne: Roster | Schedule & Results | Statistics
Twitter updates: @Go_Bonnies | #Bonnies

In Brief
St. Bonaventure (8-5, 1-0) travels to Duquesne (9-6, 0-1) for its first A-10 road game of the season. St. Bonaventure has won five of its last six, including its league opener over GW, while the Dukes ad their three-game win streak snapped with an overtime loss to Saint Joseph's (11-4, 1-0) on Wednesday.  

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
Andrew Nicholson and Chris Johnson tallied 15 points apiece, Demitrius Conger and Eric Mosley had 11 and 10, respectively, and St. Bonaventure (8-5, 1-0) won its third straight game with a 66-56 triumph over George Washington (5-9, 0-1) in the Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both squads. Leading by 19 early in the second half, the Bonnies endured a seven-minute stretch without a field goal and saw their lead dwindle to five until Nicholson converted traditional three-point plays on consecutive possessions. Johnson scored 10 of his 15 in the second half and combined with Conger to answer the GW rally and push the Bonnies to victory.

Next Up
SBU hosts Dayton at the Reilly Center on Wednesday in a game televised live by Fox Sports Ohio. In their only meeting last season, Dayton overcame a 35-point, 11-rebound double-double from Andrew Nicholson and hung on down the stretch to claim a 63-61 decision against the Bonnies.

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 Dukes
Duquesne, coming off an 84-82 Atlantic 10-opening overtime loss to Saint Joseph's on Wednesday, concludes a four-game homestand. The Dukes, who led Saint Joseph's by 16 with 9:18 left, were the lone home team to lose on the opening day of Atlantic 10 play.

Last Meeting
Sean Johnson and B.J Monteiro each had 19 points and St. Bonaventure turned the ball over 23 times in a 70-64 loss to the Dukes at the Palumbo Center. SBU's (15-13, 7-8) Andrew Nicholson scored all 12 of his points in the second half and cut the Duquesne (18-10, 10-5) lead –which was as large as nine - to 63-62 on a free throw with 1:24 remaining. Mike Talley found reserve guard Sean Johnson open for a 3-pointer with 54 seconds to play, giving Duquesne control. Johnson's free throws with 5.8 left sealed it up, snapping the Dukes' three-game losing streak and sending the Bonnies to their second loss is as many games.

Back to Back vs. GW
The Bona triumph over GW marked SBU's second straight over the Colonials. The Bonnies had not defeated George Washington in consecutive contests since Jan. 3 and Feb. 11, 1989, at the very end of five game unbeaten streak against their DC foe.

2-0 Start to A-10 Play?
St. Bonaventure earned its third A-10-opening win in the last five seasons on Wednesday.  Since 1990 the Bonnies have started league play 2-0 just twice, most recently in 2000-01 and in 1994-95 prior to that. Both Bona squads that started 2-0 in league play advanced to the NIT.

Since You've Been Gone
Michael Davenport suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Canisius and the Bonnies have benefitted from the production of Chris Johnson. In the six games Johnson has stepped up – starting with Canisius when Davenport played just four minutes – the Nova Scotia native is averaging 11.0 points in 17.2 minutes per game, setting and matching a career-high 19 points, upping his career high rebounds (6) and scoring in double figures in three straight games. His game-by game stats can be found page 10.

(Almost) Among National Leaders
Demitrius Conger is now shooting exactly 60.0 percent from the field this season (60-100), a mark that ranks as the second best in school history and would tie for the 17th-best nationally this season. Chris Johnson is 27-for-29 from the charity stripe, good for a 93.1 percent clip, which would be fourth in the nation and second all-time at SBU. The catch? Niether player meets the NCAA's minimum to qualify for the free throw (2.5 makes/gm – 32.5) or field goal percentage (5 makes/gm – 65) leaderboard.

The 'Duke' of This Matchup
Andrew Nicholson averages 21.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while shooting nearly 65 percent from the floor in his seven-game career opposite the Dukes.  Nicholson has tormented the Dukes with 12 or more points in each game, including back-to-back 29-point outings in his freshman and sophomore seasons. Check the back page of these notes for current players' career numbers vs. Duquesne.  

Canadians Lead the U.S.
St. Bona boasts three Canadian players on its roster in Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ontario), Matthew Wright (Toronto) and Chris Johnson (North Preston, Nova Scotia). The trio have combined for 42.8 percent of SBU's points (374-874) – the largest percentage of a team's points by Canadian players in the nation.

Double-Double Demitrius
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 18.2 points per game over a 4-1 stretch for SBU and is just .7 of a point behind Andrew Nicholson for the team scoring lead overall. The junior Brooklyn native has five consecutive games of 10 or more points so far (see page 8).

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.

They're Heating Up
SBU has won five of its previous six games, with its only loss coming against NC State on a miracle buzzer-beater in Rochester. 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 four 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 16.

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 solid free throw shooter for his career – 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 5-1 on the season. The Bonnies have used three different lineups to begin games this season. Check page 19 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' 8-5 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
Saturday's contest marks the first time in six games that the Bonnies have left the Empire State, a 5-1 span for SBU.

Block Party
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 16). 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.

Easy E
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.