Bonnies Head to Xavier Saturday, Watch on ESPNU
Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | Xavier
Xavier: Roster | Schedule & Results | Statistics
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St. Bonaventure (9-6, 2-1 A-10) travels to the Cintas Center to face Xavier (11-5, 2-1) in a game televised nationally by ESPNU.
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 had 30 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks as St. Bonaventure defeated Dayton 81-73 on Wednesday night. The Bonnies held Dayton to 37.1 percent shooting (13 of 35) from the field in the second half. The game was tied 11 times and St. Bonaventure (9-6, 2-1 Atlantic 10 Conference) put the game out of reach with an 8-0 run in the final minutes for a 78-68 lead with 40 seconds remaining. Demitrius Conger and Da'Quan Cook each added 14 points, and Charlon Kloof had 12 for the Bonnies, who have won four of their past five games. St. Bonaventure made 51 percent (26 of 51) of its field goal attempts. The Bonnies also had their best game this season at the free-throw line, making 24 of 28 attempts. Josh Parker scored a season-high 19 points for the Flyers (12-5, 2-1), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The Bonnies will have their first bye in conference play (Jan. 18) and will return to action at 2 p.m. next Saturday to host Fordham (7-9, 0-3) in a game carried by CBS Sports Network Regional.
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.
Xavier's Last Outing
Freshman Dez Wells dunked his way to 16 points with nine rebounds, and Xavier's defense was back in form for the first time in a month, steadying the Musketeers to a 78-50 victory over Duquesne on Wednesday night. Xavier got back-to-back wins for the first time since a brawl against Cincinnati on Dec. 10 resulted in suspensions and left a formerly No. 8 team struggling. The Musketeers regained their defensive toughness at the Cintas Center, where they've won a league-record 41 straight A-10 games. Xavier pulled ahead 44-16 by halftime, the Musketeers' stingiest opening half in three years. It was by far the worst showing for Duquesne (10-7, 1-2), which led the A-10 in scoring at 77.7 points per game. Four players reached double figures for Xavier, which led by as many as 34 points. Sean Johnson led Duquesne with 12 points.
St. Bonaventure led for all for the first half and into the second, but Xavier's Tu Holloway scored 22 points in the final 20 minutes to give the Musketeers (12-5, 4-0 A-10) the lead for good in a 79-65 win at the Reilly Center. Holloway hit 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 8-of-8 from the line in the second half to lead the comeback. His first field goal of the game cut the St. Bonaventure (9-8, 1-3) lead to one with 16:15 to play, before a steal and assist on Jeff Robinson's fastbreak dunk gave Xavier its first lead of the game at the 15:47 mark. Nicholson fouled out with 7:08 to play.
Andrew Nicholson's 30-point, 13-rebound, six-block effort was just the third 30+/10+/5+ game in the nation over the last two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information Senior Researcher Jason McCallum. He's the first Atlantic 10 player to do it since Ahmad Nivins in 2008. The last "Power 6" conference player with a 30-10-5 game? Kevin Durant. It marked his sixth career 30-point game (first this season), seventh career game with five or more blocks (first since 5 @UMass 1/20/10), and 20th career double-double (third this season).
Tough to Beat
Xavier owns a league-best 41-game home court win streak at the Cintas Center. St. Bonaventure has not beaten Xavier overall since an 80-79 win at the Reilly Center Feb. 9, 2002 (0-10 since). The Bonnies are winless on the road vs. Xavier since the 1972-73 season (0-9).
Cook, He's a Monster
Da'Quan Cook matched a season-high 14 points, including a pair of and-1 finishes, to help the Bonnies defeat Dayton.
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 43.5 percent of SBU's points (439-1007) – the largest percentage of a team's points by Canadian players in the nation.
Nicholson Moves Up
With a two-handed dunk to open the second-half scoring vs. Duquesne, Andrew Nicholson became the 10th player in St. Bonaventure basketball history to surpass the 1,700-point barrier. The senior also moved to ninth on the career rebounds list - his standing on both charts can be found on page 15.
One More Milestone
Nicholson's six blocks vs. Dayton made him just the second player in school annals with 200 or more (Caswell Cyrus, 289). He owns the Bona single-game record (9 vs. Bucknell as a freshman) and sits second all-time (205).
The Bonnies win over Dayton was SBU's first since Feb. 3, 2002, a span of nine unanswered wins for Dayton.
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.
(Almost) Among National Leaders
Demitrius Conger is now shooting 58.8 percent from the field this season (67-114), a mark that ranks as the third best in school history and among the top 25 nationally this season. Chris Johnson is 27-for-29 from the charity stripe, good for a 93.1 percent clip, which would be second 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.
Grounded vs. The Flyers
St. Bonaventure has played a total of 106 games in the last four years, with Andrew Nicholson seeing action in all but one. The only Bonnies' game without Nicholson since the start of the 2008-09 season? Jan. 30, 2010, a 75-58 loss to Dayton, when Nicholson missed the game with illness.
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. Johnson boasts 10.8 points and 4.0 boards in his last five outings, including a 19-point outburst opposite Saint Francis. His game-by game stats can be found page 9.
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 15.4 points per game over over the Bonnies' last five for SBU and is just behind Andrew Nicholson for the team scoring lead overall. The junior Brooklyn native has four 11+ point games in five of the last six contests (see page 7).
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.
A Dish to Pass
Bona's top three guards combined for five assists with no giveaways against Dayton. 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.
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.
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 6-2 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 against Loyola (Md.); David Messiah Capers is the Bonnies' all-time leader in games played (126). The senior also made his 100th career start at Duquesne Jan. 7.
New York, New York
Saturday's game at Xavier will mark just the second time the Bonnies have left the state of New York since Dec. 10, a nine-game span. SBU is 6-2 in the travel-friendly stretch thus far and also plays two of its next three in the Empire State.
Let Me Upgrade Ya
There's no debating that the Bonnies (RPI: 97) have significantly upgraded the schedule during Mark Schmidt 's tenure. The Bonnies are just outside the top 100 nationally in strength of schedule (103) and have been beaten by opponents with an average RPI of 74. By comparison, SBU ended the 2006-07 season (prior to the Schmidt era) ranked 278th in the RPI.
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 Lee Academy (Maine) teammate, freshman Youssou Ndoye.
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.