Bonnies Look to Stay Atop A-10, Host Richmond Saturday
Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | Richmond
Richmond: Roster | Schedule & Results | Statistics
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St. Bonaventure (11-7, 4-2) hosts Richmond (12-9, 3-3) at the Reilly Center Saturday night as the Bonnies look to stay at the top of a tight Atlantic 10 Conference. SBU enters the matchup with the Spiders in a five-way tie with Dayton, Saint Louis, Massachusetts and La Salle for first in the A-10.
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
It took five extra minutes of basketball, but St. Bonaventure (11-7, 4-2) made up a 10-point halftime deficit en route to a 72-66 overtime win over Rhode Island (3-18, 0-6) Wednesday at the Ryan Center. The Brown and White used an 11-0 run to begin the second half and held the Rams to 20 second-half points. Youssou Ndoye's go-ahead dunk with 1:17 remaining in overtime gave the Bonnies their first road win against the Rams since Jan. 6, 2002. Da'Quan Cook led the Bonnies with 18 points and six rebounds, while Andrew Nicholson added 16 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Bonnies travel to Saint Louis (16-4, 4-2) for an 8 p.m. tipoff Wednesday night at the Chaifetz Arena in what could be a battle for sole ownership of first place in the A-10.
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.
Richmond: Last Time Out
Five Spiders scored in double figures as Richmond drilled Fordham (8-11, 1-5), 102-58, Wednesday in an Atlantic 10 matchup. Richmond became the first Division I school to tally 100 points and 30 assits while committing less than 6 turnovers since Michigan State defeated Michigan on March 4, 2000 en route to a national championship.The Spiders hit a season-high 16 three-pointers in the victory, paced by Darien Brothers' 21 points (4-for-10 from long range).
When Last They Met
Justin Harper - the No. 32 overall pick in last year's NBA draft - scored 24 points to push Richmond to an 82-65 victory over St. Bonaventure at the Robins Center on Feb. 20, 2011. Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Demitrius Conger added 17 points. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for St. Bonaventure.
Bonnies Atop the A-10
The Bonnies win over Rhode Island Wednesday vaulted St. Bonaventure into a five-way tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 standings – a deadlock that does not include perennial favorites Xavier and Temple. Saint Louis, La Salle, Massachusetts and Dayton also match the Bonnies' 4-2 league record, with Temple (3-2) and Xavier (4-3) just behind.
Three Straight A-10 Wins
With a victory, the Bonnies will have just their second three-game A-10 win streak since the start of the 2003-04 campaign. Both have come in the last two seasons. The only other three-game A-10 victory stretch came Feb. 5-16, 2010 (DUQ-LAS-SLU).
Home Court Advantage
A few notes about the Bonnies at home: St. Bonaventure is 7-1 at home this season, posting a definitive +16.3 point scoring margin (11.1 when not accounting for the 44-point Fordham win). The Bonnies boast a 408-108 (.688) record all-time at the RC, and have reached double-digit home wins in each of the last two campaigns (10-5). SBU is 11-2 in its last 13 home, regular-season conference tilts since Feb. 27, 2010 vs. Rhode Island.
Climbing the Mountain
The Bonnies (4-2) are off to their best start in conference play under the current coaching regime. SBU was 0-6 in its first six A-10 games of the 2007-08 campaign, and has gone 2-4 in the three years prior to the 2011-12 campaign.
'Quan Coming On
Senior F Da'Quan Cook has scored in double figures in three of his last four games, including 18-point outputs in back-to-back games versus Fordham and Rhode Island. Cook is averaging 13.5 point per outing and shooting 50 percent (15-30) from the floor over his last four.
Don't Look Now...
Don't look now, but Andrew Nicholson is surging in the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year race. After seeing his production dip slightly (14.3ppg/6.9rpg) in the non-conference season, the senior now ranks among the league's best in scoring (18.5, 2nd) and rebounding (7.5, 8th) while shooting 58.0 percent from the floor and 80.6 percent from the line.
Learning to Win
The Bonnies got off to a tough 3-4 start to the season, and let second-half leads slip away in three of those four games (Cleveland State, Arkansas State, Illinois). Following the Canisius game, however, St. Bonaventure has closed the door on the opposition - winning its last eight games when holding a lead with 4:00 minutes to play (11-3).
Blowing the Doors Off
The Bonnies' 44-point margin of victory vs. Fordham last Saturday is the biggest ever in conference play for SBU and just the second time with a 40+ point victory within the A-10. The other two biggest margins of victory have both come against Rhode Island: 1/29/00 (40, 84-44); 1/21/01 (36, 91-55).
He's a Hunter, That Gathers
Freshman guard Jordan Gathers had a breakout performance against Fordham, posting 12 points on 5-of-7 FGs (2-4 from 3) while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists in 20 minutes. The Los Angeles, Calif. native booked career highs in each of those categories and stepped out of a 1-for-14 shooting funk to start his career.
Fine From the Line
The Bonnies lead the Atlantic 10 and rank 10th nationally in free throw percentage at 76.2 percent (291-382). SBU is 11-3 when shooting more FTs than the opponent this season.
The Bonnies placed three in double figures in the overtime win against Rhode Island, the tenth time this season that three or more players have cracked double digits for SBU this year (10-0).
A Dish to Pass
The Bonnies' 22 assists on 31 field goals were both season highs against Fordham, with the team's 1.69:1 A/TO ratio marking a season-best as well.
YOU So Good
Freshman C Youssou Ndoye (YOU-sue EN-doy) used two dunks and went 3-of-3 from the line to record a career-high nine points (3-4 FGs) at Xavier. The Dakar, Senegal native was also active in the OT win over URI with a dunk, drawn charge, block, steal and rebound in the final 77 seconds.
Andrew Nicholson's 30-point, 13-rebound, six-block effort against Dayton 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).
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 43.4 percent of SBU's points (537-1238) – 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 (he's now five away from 1,800). The senior also moved into the school's top 10 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 (210).
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
Chris Johnson is 38-for-41 from the charity stripe, good for a 92.7 percent clip, which would be third in the nation and second all-time at SBU. The catch? He fails to qualify for the NCAAs free throw (2.5 makes/gm – 45) minimum.
Grounded vs. The Flyers
St. Bonaventure has played a total of 108 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.
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.
Let Me Upgrade Ya
There's no debating that the Bonnies (RPI: 86) have significantly upgraded the schedule - and the program - during Mark Schmidt 's tenure. The Bonnies rank among the top 100 nationally in strength of schedule (74) and have been beaten by opponents with an average RPI of 86. 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.