Game Notes: St. Bona | A-10 | Duquesne
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St. Bonaventure (12-9, 5-4) begins a three-game homestand by hosting Duquesne (14-9, 5-4) in a meeting of teams tied for sixth in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings. The game will be televised live by CBS Sports Network and available on Comcast, Comcast Southeast, Cox Rhode Island (Connecticut only), Verizon and Time Warner (Rochester & Buffalo).
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
St. Bonaventure (12-9, 5-4 Atlantic 10) nearly withstood a pair of big runs in the second half, but Massachusetts (18-6, 7-3) was too much for the Bonnies in a 76-67 decision at the Mullins Center on Wednesday. Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies with 24 points and nine rebounds, but UMass, which started the second half on a 14-0 run, put together a 17-2 advantage over a five-minute span down the stretch to lock up what had been a three-point game with 8:41 left.
SBU continues its three-game homestand by hosting rv/rv Temple on Wednesday in a game televised live by CBS Sports Network.
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 (15.9, 7th) and rebounding (7.1, 10th) - one of just three players on both lists - while shooting 61 percent from the floor and nearly 80 percent from the line.
Duquesne: Last Time Out
Eric Evans scored 17 points to lead five scorers in double figures for Duquesne, which never trailed in beating Richmond 81-72 last Saturday. The Dukes had lost 14 consecutive games against the Spiders (12-12, 3-6). Duquesne scored 15 first-half points on nine Richmond turnovers, while the Spiders scored one off five Duquesne turnovers. Kendall Anthony helped Richmond come out of the half trailing just 35-31 by making 4 of 4 shots, including two 3-pointers, for 12 of his 21 points. Evans' three layups in the first 4:15 of the second half helped Duquesne widen its lead to 43-32, and it led by double figures nearly the rest of the way. Jerry Jones and Sean Johnson scored 14 points each for Duquesne, T.J. McConnell scored 13 and B.J. Monteiro 10. Derrick Williams scored 16 points and Cedrick Lindsay had 11 points and 11 assists for Richmond.
When Last They Met
Andrew Nicholson scored all 11 of his points in the second half to put the Bonnies in striking distance, but Duquesne (10-6, 1-1 Atlantic 10) responded with a 13-0 run to pull ahead en route to a 66-52 victory over St. Bonaventure (8-6, 1-1) at the Palumbo Center. The senior became the 10th player in school history to score more than 1,700 in a career (1,710 - ninth all-time) and moved to ninth on career rebounds ledger (711). Nicholson – who played six first-half minutes due to two fouls – scored on a dunk, put back and fadeaway, all before a traditional three-point play ignited SBU in the final frame. Duquesne junior guard Sean Johnson sparked the Dukes rally though, netting 15 of his game-high 17 in the second half as DU put together a decisive 13-0 response over a 4:28 span. Johnson converted back-to-back three-point plays in transition to put the Dukes in control for good. Duquesne played the game without key G/F B.J. Monteiro.
Home Sweet Home
SBU has won seven straight home games this season and is 12-2 overall in its last 14 home, regular-season conference tilts since Feb. 27, 2010 vs. Rhode Island. In their eight home victories overall (8-1), the Bonnies have posted a double-digit win in all but one (Dayton, +8), including a 44-point victory over Fordham Jan. 21. SBU averages a 16.1-point win and scores 12.2 more points per game in games at the RC.
Where We Stand
SBU is tied for sixth with Duquesne, just a half-game out of fifth (La Salle) and 1.5 games back of a three-way tie for second (Saint Louis, UMass, Xavier).
The Bonnies have two games remaining against teams ranked ahead of them in the standings (Temple, La Salle) and four games left opposite teams currently below sixth (Charlotte, Rhode Island, Fordham, Saint Joe's). SBU is 0-4 vs the top six teams; 5-0 vs. the rest of the league.
Remember That Game?
The last time Duqesne came to the Reilly Center, the Dukes had won all eight of their A-10 games and 11 straight overall. Google "Bonnies Highlights vs. Duquesne" to see Mike Davenport's highlight-reel game-winner with 1.6 seconds left.
Johnson Ranks 2nd in FT%
Chris Johnson is 46-50 from the charity stripe, good for a 92.0 percent clip, which would be second in the nation, and currently ranks second all-time at SBU. He fails to qualify for the NCAAs free throw (2.5 makes/gm – 52.5) minimum and met for the school's single-season standard (50 attempts) in the loss at UMass.
Something's Not Wright
Sophomore shooter Matthew Wright has endured a tough stretch since a 4-for-7 outing from beyond the arc Dec. 23. Since then, Wright is 6-for-31 from deep including: 1-6 (Niagara); 1-7 (Duquesne); 0-5 (UMass).
That's Just Foul
Senior Andrew Nicholson has been hampered with foul trouble in three games prior to UMass, fouling out after an average of just 20 minutes played. Nicholson played a combined seven minutes in the first halves against Rhode Island (six minutes) and Saint Louis (one) after being whistled for two early infractions.
That's What I Like
Andrew Nicholson went 11-of-17 from the floor and carried SBU with 24 points and nine rebounds in the loss to UMass. It marked his second-highest scoring output of the year and helped him come up just a rebound shy of his 21st career double-double.
Keys to Victory
Coach Mark Schmidt has stressed three keys to the Bonnies' success on the hardwood throughout the season: Rebound; Defend; Take Care of the Ball. To that end, SBU is 9-3 when outrebounding opponents, 7-1 when holding the opposition under 40 percent from the field and 8-1 when posting fewer turnovers.
Start Me Up
Andrew Nicholson and Demitrius Conger have been staples of the Bona starting five over the past three seasons. Nicholson has started in 64 straight since missing the Dayton game as a sophomore, while Conger has started 52 straight since the beginning of his second season.
Fine From the Line
The Bonnies lead the Atlantic 10 and rank 13th nationally in free throw percentage at 75.6 percent (357-472). SBU has shot more free throws that its opponent in 11 of its 12 wins this season.
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 (1,835). The senior also secured his 750th rebound (767). 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.
Against the Grain
Three Bona players scored 10 or more points in the loss to Saint Louis, the 12th time this season that three or more players have cracked double digits for SBU. The Bonnies are 11-1 in those games, with the only loss being that Saint Louis game.
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 losses (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).
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.
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 43.2 percent of SBU's points (617-1,429) – the largest percentage of a team's points by Canadian players in the nation.
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.
Let Me Upgrade Ya
There's no debating that the Bonnies (RPI: 93) 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.