Men’s Basketball Opens With Exhibition Tilt Saturday Afternoon

Men’s Basketball Opens With Exhibition Tilt Saturday Afternoon
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St. Bonaventure (20-12) vs. Mansfield (9-17)
Saturday, Nov. 3 | 3 PM | Reilly Center
Game Notes: St. Bonaventure
Twitter: @BonniesMBB Facebook: /BonniesMBB

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team kicks off its 2012-13 season with an exhibition matchup against Division II Mansfield in the Reilly Center on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be the second half of a doubleheader as the Bona women face Edinboro at 1 p.m.

This will be the fifth year in a row that the Bonnies and Mountaineers are meeting in an exhibition contest. Bonaventure has won each of the previous four meetings, including last season's 87-61 victory.

SBU: 2011-12
St. Bonaventure won its first Atlantic 10 Championship in 2012 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000 where it narrowly lost to 3rd-seeded ACC Champion Florida State in the Second Round, 66-63.

The Bonnies will look to replace 2012 A-10 Player of the Year, Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and First Round NBA Draft Pick Andrew Nicholson, who led St. Bonaventure in scoring (18.5) and rebounding (8.4). SBU also lost Da'Quan Cook (7.6 points / 4.6 rebounds) to graduation. While Nicholson has moved on to the Orlando Magic, Cook has taken his game oversees where he signed a professional contract with BC Yambol in Bulgaria's National Basketball League.

Bona returns 10 letterwinners and three starters, including 2012 A-10 All-Championship Team member Demitrius Conger, who averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds – both second on the team to Nicholson. Conger has been named to the 2012-13 Preseason All-Big 4 First Team. Bonaventure had 10 players average at least 10 minutes per game in 2011-12, tied for the most by any team in the A-10. Mark Schmidt was named the Sporting News Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, and also claimed the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Men's Division I Coach of the Year.

Coming off a 2011-12 season that resulted in a 9-17 record, Mansfield is predicted to finish 6th this year in the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The Mountaineers return six letterwinners, including four starters, from last year's team.

The group of returning players is led by 6-6 sophomore forward Joe Bell, who earned PSAC East Freshman of the Year honors and was also named to the All-PSAC East Second Team last season. Bell finished among the PSAC leaders in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg), and led the conference by shooting 57 percent from the floor.

Senior swingman Chuck Harper, junior guard Charles Becoats and junior forward Kevonte McCain also return as starters for Mansfield. Harper finished second on the roster to Bell in scoring last season at 13 ppg. Eighth-year coach Rich Miller also welcomes eight newcomers to his 14-player roster.

By going 10-6 and finishing tied for 3rd in the A-10 in 2012, St. Bonaventure increased its conference win total and bettered its league finish for the fifth straight year since head coach Mark Schmidt took over the Bonnies in 2007-08. Additionally, St. Bonaventure is one of only seven Division I schools in the nation to have improved its RPI in each of the last five seasons.

Charleston Southern, Detroit, Long Beach State, South Dakota State, Tennessee Tech and Wichita State are the other six schools which have improved their RPI each of the last five years. Of the seven teams, SBU is the only one to hail from a conference that has been rated among the top-10 in the country in RPI in each of the last five years.

YEAR              RPI           A-10 Wins           A-10 Finish
2007-08          264            2 (2-14)              14th
2008-09          192            6 (6-10)              11th
2009-10          156            7 (7-9)                 T-8th
2010-11          128            8 (8-8)                 7th
2011-12           76             10 (10-6)             T-3rd

St. Bonaventure held 22 opponents to 69 points or fewer in 2011-12, one of the main reasons it advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The last time SBU held that many teams to 69 points or fewer was in 1999-2000 when it also occurred 22 times. Prior to last year, the 1999-2000 season was the last time the Bonnies advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

St. Bonaventure has picked up another TV game this season, as the Bonnies will be showcased nationally on the NBC Sports Network when they travel to Cornell on Nov. 14.

This will be the ninth televised game that the defending Atlantic 10 Champions have this season. Furthermore, the Bonnies will appear on ESPN3 – an online streaming channel – when they face ACC favorite NC State.

St. Bonaventure's non-conference schedule features contests against six teams which went to postseason tournaments last year, including four versus NCAA Tournament squads. The Bonnies will play 13 non-league contests in total – six at home, six on the road and one at a neutral site. Six of the 13 teams won 20 or more games last year, and two advanced to the Sweet 16. Bonaventure will conclude its non-conference docket with three straight games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams.

                                                     NCAA: Ohio (Sweet 16) | NC State (Sweet 16) | Iona: (1st Round) | Colorado State: (2nd Round)
                                                                                               NIT: Cleveland State | CIT: Buffalo

SBU finished in the top-5 in the A-10 in nine different statistical categories in 2011-12, and closed the season at 16th in the nation in free-throw percentage (76.1) and 25th in the country in rebounding margin (+5.5).

For more news, please click on the preseason guide embedded within this release.