Bonnies Head to Saint Louis for Key Road Test
Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | Saint Louis
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St. Bonaventure (12-7, 5-2), locked in a three-way tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 standings, heads to Saint Louis (16-5, 4-3) in search of a key road victory against the Billikens.
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
The Bonnies scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back in a 62-47 win over Richmond at the Reilly Center on Saturday. SBU held Richmond to just 26.5 percent shooting (13 of 49) and its lowest point total in almost four years. Richmond, which was coming off a 102-58 win over Fordham on Wednesday, last scored as few as 47 in a 61-47 loss to Saint Joseph's on March 13, 2008. Against Fordham, Richmond made 16 3-pointers, and was held to just 6 of 22 on Saturday. Charlon Kloof and Chris Johnson added 11 points each and Demitrius Conger chipped in 10 for St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies shot 52 percent in the first half (13 of 25) and led 34-27 at halftime Kendall Anthony was Richmond's only double-figure scorer with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
St. Bonaventure will take its weekend bye before completing the back-to-back road stretch at Massachusetts Feb. 8.
Player of the Year?
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 (17.9, 4th) and rebounding (7.6, 7th) - one of just three players on both lists - while shooting 60.5 percent from the floor and 81.6 percent from the line.
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.
SLU: Last Time Out
Raphiael Putney recorded a double-double and Chaz Williams scored 19 points as Massachusetts beat Saint Louis 72-59 on Saturday in Atlantic 10 action. Putney finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five steals, while Williams added seven assists, six rebounds and a game-high 11 free throws. UMass (16-5, 5-2) held a 23-21 lead before Williams hit a jumper, sparking an 18-5 run and helping the Minutemen take a 41-26 lead with 2:20 left in the first half. Putney scored 10 points during the run, including two 3-pointers, and Williams added six. The Minutemen pushed their lead to 19 in the second half and did not allow the Billikens (16-5, 4-3) to get any closer than five. Brian Conklin led Saint Louis with 17 points but the Billikens shot just 34.3 percent (23 of 67) from the field compared to 50 percent (25 of 50) for UMass.
When Last They Met
Ogo Adegboye hit six 3-pointers en route to a career-high 29 points, Andrew Nicholson scored 20 of his 22 in the second half, and Da'Quan Cook tied his career-high 21 points with eight boards to guide St. Bonaventure (14-10, 6-5 Atlantic 10) past Saint Louis, 83-73, Wednesday night at the Reilly Center. Tied 15-15 in the first half, St. Bonaventure went on a 14-2 run over a six-minute span to open up the lead for good, although the Billikens (8-17, 3-9) would make it interesting in the closing moments.
Points will likely be at a premium when the Bonnies and Billikens meet, as the league's top scoring defenses collide. At just 57.0 points allowed per game, Saint Louis sits eighth nationally and leads the Atlantic 10 and also ranks 20th nationally in scoring margin. The Bonnies on the other hand, have surrendered just 62.2 points on average and are holding A-10 teams to under 40 percent from the field.
Best Start to A-10 Play
St. Bonaventure's 5-2 start in A-10 play in the best since the 2000 team posted the same mark through seven games, while the team's 12-7 overall record is tops since 2001-02. With a win, the Bonnies will match their best start in conference play since the 1994-95 team went 6-2 in its first 8 league tilts.
1,800 and Counting
With his 14 points in the win over Richmond, Andrew Nicholson became just the sixth player in school history to crack the 1,800-point barier (1,809). The senior also secured his 750th rebound (754). He is on pace for 5th place on both historical charts with 1,949 points and 818 caroms by the end of the regular season.
Spread the Wealth
The Bonnies placed four in double figures in the 62-47 win over Richmond, the 11th time this season that three or more players have cracked double digits for SBU this year. SBU is 11-0 in those games.
Four Straight A-10 Wins
SBU is seeking its fourth straight conference win, a feat not accomplished since the 2009-10 season and just one other time since 2002-03.
Finding Road Wins
The Bonnies have been effective in defending the home court (8-1) but are just 4-5 in away games so far. The Bonnies average 12.6 fewer points on the road (74.9/62.3) and have yet to win consecutive road games. Home and away season stats breakdowns can be found at the back of these notes.
Closing it Out
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 nine games when holding a lead with 4:00 minutes to play (12-3).
'Quan Coming On
Senior F Da'Quan Cook has scored in double figures in three of his last five games, including 18-point outputs in back-to-back games versus Fordham and Rhode Island. Cook is averaging 11.6 points per outing and shooting 86.7 percent (26-30) from the charity stripe over his last five.
Blowing the Doors Off
The Bonnies' 44-point margin of victory vs. Fordham 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 16th nationally in free throw percentage at 75.6 percent (329-435). SBU has shot more free throws in 11 of its 12 wins this season.
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. Back court mates Charlon Kloof (47 assists) and Matthew Wright (56) combine for a 1.7 A/TO ratio on the season.
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 43.8 percent of SBU's points (569-1300) – the largest percentage of a team's points by Canadian players in the nation.
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 (211).
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 41-45 from the charity stripe, good for a 91.1 percent clip, which would be third in the nation and third all-time at SBU. The catch? He fails to qualify for the NCAAs free throw (2.5 makes/gm – 47.5) 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: 88) have significantly upgraded the schedule - and the program - during Mark Schmidt 's tenure. 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.