January 12, 2013

@BonniesMBB Hosts No. 24 VCU In Rams First A-10 Road Game

St. Bonaventure (7-7, 0-1) vs. RV/24 VCU (13-3, 1-0)
Saturday, Jan. 12 | 4 PM | Reilly Center (5,480)
TV:
Time Warner Sports
Game Notes: St. Bona | VCU | Atlantic 10
Twitter: @BonniesMBB | #Bonnies
Sign Up For Free Text & Email Alerts

Gameday Info:
A limited number of tickets remain, and fans are encouraged to arrive early. Those who cannot make it to the Reilly Center can watch the game on their local Time Warner Sports channel. The game will be shown live to all New York State Time Warner subscribers, and also on CBS 6.3 in Richmond, Va. The game will be streamed for free on GoBonnies.com for residents in 49 states, but will be blacked out in New York State, including New York City, per a contract between CBS Sports and Time Warner.

For a complete list of gameday-related items, please visit our Gameday Central page.

Opening Tip
St. Bonaventure looks to snap out of one of its worst losing streaks in more than 20 years on Saturday when it welcomes VCU to the Reilly Center for the Rams first road game as a member of the Atlantic 10. The defending A-10 Champion Bonnies have lost four straight games by 19 or more points – their worst such streak since the 1990-91 season. VCU enters ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and is the first team out of the top-25 in the Associated Press rankings.

Last Time Out
St. Bonaventure allowed its fourth straight opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor as the Bonnies opened their A-10 title defense with a 78-59 loss at George Washington Wednesday night. After a Matthew Wright 3-pointer a minute-and-a-half into the game gave SBU a 5-4 lead, the Bonnies never again led as GW shot 57 percent, including a sizzling 65 percent in the first half. Senior Chris Johnson scored 17 points to lead the Bonnies – the most the Nova Scotia product has tallied since netting 19 at Arkansas State on Dec. 8.

Conger Nearing Rarified Air
Demitrius Conger is closing in on 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists for his career. The senior enters the game against VCU with 983 points, 536 rebounds and 198 assists. Conger's season high for points is 26, set against Iona, and if he reached 1,000 points he would become just the 39th player in the storied history of St. Bonaventure to reach the milestone.

The only other St. Bonaventure players to reach 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists are Ahmad Smith, who registered 1,261 points, 536 rebounds and 245 assists from 2002-2006, and David Vanterpool, who posted 1,474 points, 630 rebounds and 401 assists from 1991-95. Additionally, Conger needs just 29 more steals to reach 100 thefts in his career. If the Brooklyn native were to get to that milestone, he would join Vanterpool as the only two players in St. Bonaventure history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 100 steals.

Scouting VCU
^ The Rams are nationally ranked during the regular season (No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll) for the first time since the1984-85 season
^ VCU advanced to the 2011 Final Four where it matched up with fellow A-10 newcomer Butler
^ The Rams have won 10 straight games, and opened conference play Wednesday with a 74-62 win over Dayton
^ This will be VCU's first road game as an A-10 member
^ VCU's three losses were to Wichita State, 53-51, then-No. 5 Duke, 67-58, and then-No. 13 Missouri, 68-65
^ Senior Troy Daniels is the reigning A-10 Player of the Week after knocking down a league-record 11 3-pointers at East Tennessee State on Jan. 2
^ The Rams rank in the top-10 nationally in scoring margin (+18.8) and 3-pointers per game (8.8); VCU leads the country in steals per game (13.6) and turnover margin (9.1)
^ Individually, Daniels leads the nation with 4.3 3-pointers per game and Briante Weber leads the country in steals per game (3.7)
^ VCU has won 37 of its last 38 games when it scores 65 points or more

History With VCU
Saturday's matchup marks just the third all-time between St. Bonaventure and VCU, with SBU holding a 2-0 advantage. The first came in the 1978 ECAC Championship game in Rochester, a 63-61 win which clinched Bonaventure's berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Rams and Bonnies faced off again the next year – this time in the Reilly Center – and Bona once again came away with a victory, 84-76, on Feb. 19, 1979.

St. Bonaventure In A-10 Home Openers
In the first game at the Reilly Center each Atlantic 10 season, St. Bonaventure is 21-12 overall in its 33 years as a member of the league. That record is 20-13 when factoring in a win which was later vacated during the 2002-03 season.

The Bonnies have won each of their last two conference openers at the Reilly Center. Last year they defeated George Washington,66-56, and the year before that the Brown and White downed Charlotte, 92-88.

It's Becoming A Hostile Home Again
Throughout much of its history, the Reilly Center has been feared by many opponents as one of the most difficult places to play in the country, so much so that in 2003 it prompted ESPN's Jay Bilas to label it as one of his top-5 "Hostile Homes" in the nation. While that may not have been the case throughout much of the last decade, the RC is gradually becoming the feared venue it once was. SBU is 5-1 already this year on Bob Lanier Court, and has won 15 of its last 17 regular-season home games, and 21 of 24 dating back to the 2010-11 campaign.

Additionally, there is a stark contrast between Bonaventure at home and Bonaventure on the road this season. The Bonnies are 5-1 at home and just 1-6 on the road. Below is an in-depth look at the statistical differences between the Brown and White in the confines of the RC and on the road.

                                                Home                          Road
Points Per Game:                    77.2                             67.3
Points Allowed Per Game:       63.3                             76.7
Scoring Differential:                +13.8                           -9.4
Free Throw Percentage:         75% (104-139)            66% (98-148)
Turnovers Per Game:              11.2                             14
Turnover Margin:                    +6.3                             -0.9
Steals Per Game:                    8.5                               6.3

*Additionally, in the last 5 minutes of home games, Bona is 81 percent from the free-throw line (17-21). Over the final 5 minutes of road games, Bona is just 62.1 percent (18-29).
**Also, senior Demitrius Conger is shooting 54.4 percent from the floor (37-68) in home games, while connecting at just a 28.1-percent clip from the floor (18-64) on the road. Conger averages 17.2 points per game at home (nearly 7 points more than anyone else), but averages just 10 per game on the road.

Drastic Improvement
Senior Chris Johnson enters the game just 12 points shy of surpassing his entire scoring output from last year. The combo guard has scored 187 points through the first 14 games of the season (second on the Bona roster to Demitrius Conger's 191), and tallied 198 all of last year. The Canadian has already knocked down 20 3-pointers (once again second on the Bona roster, this time to Eric Mosley's 33), after hitting just 15 shots from long range all of last year.

All-Time Vs. Ranked Teams
Although St. Bonaventure is a program steeped in history, the Bonnies have struggled against ranked teams over their 92-year existence. SBU is just 9-57 all-time against ranked teams, and have lost 20 straight. The last win came against No. 20 Temple on Feb. 24, 2000, when J.R. Bremer hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to take down the Owls, 57-56. What is working in the Bonnies favor against VCU is that all nine of the victories over ranked opponents have come at the Reilly Center.

Rich, But Not Spreading The Wealth
While St. Bonaventure's offense has remained relatively consistent during its four-game losing streak (74.4 points per game before the losing streak; 72.4 now), what has not is the distribution of points among players. Starting with the third game of the year, SBU put four players in double-figure scoring in six of the next eight games, including four in a row. However, the Bonnies have not done that since it placed five in double figures against The Citadel on Dec. 19.

Next Up
St. Bonaventure remains at home for a nationally televised contest against Xavier on Wednesday night. The game, which tips at 8 on CBS Sports Network, will serve as a rematch of last year's A-10 Championship game, won by the Bonnies, 67-56.