St. Bonaventure (7-8, 0-2 A-10)
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 | 8 PM
TV: CBS Sports Network (National)
Game Notes: St. Bona | Xavier | Atlantic 10
Twitter: @BonniesMBB | #Bonnies
St. Bonaventure looks to snap its five-game losing streak when it welcomes Xavier to the Reilly Center in a rematch of last year's Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship game, won by SBU, 67-56. The Musketeers are off to a 2-0 start in conference play with victories over Temple and George Washington. The Bonnies, meanwhile, are 0-2 in the A-10 and are aiming to avoid losing six games in a row for the first time since the 2007-08 season, head coach Mark Schmidt's first at St. Bonaventure. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network, and is not allowed to be video streamed.
Last Time Out
St. Bonaventure battled VCU tough, but the then-No. 24 Rams proved too much in their inaugural conference road game against the defending league champions as they pulled out a 72-65 victory Saturday at the Reilly Center. VCU, which led nearly the entire game, shot 59 percent in the second half (13-22) to turn a three-point halftime lead (32-29) into its 11th straight victory, despite tallying its third-lowest 3-point total (5-17) of the year. The Bonnies hit a season-best 11 3's (11-25), but allowed their fifth straight opponent to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor as VCU connected at a 52-percent clip (26-50).
A Look Back
Behind a near triple-double from Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure won its first Atlantic 10 Championship title and clinched its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 with a 67-56 win over Xavier on March 11, 2012.
Nicholson, who has made nine starts and is averaging 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a rookie with the Orlando Magic, finished with game highs of 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks en route to being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Performer.
The Musketeers led on only two occasions – both coming in the first four minutes of the game – as the Bonnies led by as much as 17 early in the second half to claim their first win over Xavier since Feb. 9, 2002.
Senior Chris Johnson enters the game just one point shy of surpassing his entire scoring output from last year. The combo guard has scored 197 points through the first 15 games of the season (second on the Bona roster to Demitrius Conger's 210), and tallied 198 all of last year. The Canadian has already knocked down 22 3-pointers (once again second on the Bona roster, this time to Eric Mosley's 36), after hitting just 15 shots from long range all of last year.
'E' For 3
Senior Eric Mosley is unquestionably the Bonnies best shooter from long range as he's knocked down 45 percent of his 3-point attempts this year (36-80). Entering the week, Mosley's 3-point shooting percentage ranked fourth in the A-10. No one else on the Bona roster has more than 22 makes (Johnson), and Mosley has done his work from deep in just 285 minutes of action (7th most minutes on the team). His 36 3-pointers account for more than a third (33.6 percent) of Bonaventure's 107 3-pointers on the season. Additionally, he's the only SBU player who has knocked down four or more 3's in multiple games this year, something he's done three times (4 at Canisius, 6 at Ohio, 5 at NC State).
^ Xavier snapped its four-game losing streak by defeating Temple, 57-52, in its Atlantic 10 opener and followed that win up with a 71-56 triumph over George Washington on Saturday
^ Led by 21 points each from guards Brad Redford and Semaj Christon, the Musketeers never trailed against the Colonials, who topped the Bonnies, 78-59, last Wednesday
^ One of the Atlantic 10's top freshmen, Christon leads Xavier in scoring (14.1 ppg), assists (4.8, fourth in the A-10) and steals( 1.4)
^ Forward Travis Taylor paces the Musketeers in the frontcourt with 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game
^ Redford drained a career-best seven 3-pointers against George Washington, and the senior ranks third in the A-10 in 3-point field goal percentage (47.1 percent, 33-70)
^ Xavier leads the A-10 with a 47.1 field-goal percentage
^ The Musketeers are especially stout defensively, ranking third in the conference in scoring defense (60.3 ppg), and second in both field-goal percentage defense (39.7 percent) and 3-point field-goal percentage defense (29.8 percent)
^ Four of Xavier's six losses have come by a combined 11 points; the Musketeers' greatest margin of defeat is 15 to Cincinnati
Conger Reaches Rarified Air
Demitrius Conger reached 1,000 points and 200 assists for his career with 19 points and three assists in St. Bonaventure's loss to VCU on Saturday. Conger became the 39th player in the storied history of SBU basketball to net 1,000 points, and with 543 career rebounds, the senior also became the third Bona player to amass 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists.
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.
Bonnies Statistically In The A-10
St. Bonaventure ranks in the top-5 in the A-10 in six different statistical categories:
Scoring Offense: 71.9 per game, 5th
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.8, 5th
3-Point Percentage: 35.5, 5th
Assists: 14.1 per game, 3rd
Turnover Margin: +2.1, 5th
Offensive Rebounds: 12.3 per game, 5th
Also, in the abbreviated A-10 schedule to this juncture, the Bonnies lead the conference in free-throw percentage in league games only, connecting at an 84.6 percent clip (22-26). The next closest team is Dayton at 73 percent (27-37).
Individually, senior Demitrius Conger ranks 14th in the A-10 in scoring per game (14.0) and despite playing out of position checks in at 10th in the league at 6.9 rebounds per outing.
Coaches Have Connections
St. Bonaenture head coach Mark Schmidt was an assistant coach at Xavier from 1994-2001, and worked with current Xavier head coach Chris Mack when Mack was the director of operations for the Musketeers from 1999-2001. During Schmidt's tenure on the XU sidelines, the Musketeers went to the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT twice.
Additionally, current SBU assistant coach Jeff Massey is a 1995 Xavier graduate. Massey played for the Musketeers for two seasons after transferring into the program, helping XU to the 1994 NIT and 1995 NCAA Tournament. During his senior season in 1995, he was the team's leading scorer at 18.9 points per game.
St. Bonaventure's current five-game losing streak can be traced almost entirely to its field goal percentage defense as the Bonnies have uncharacteristically allowed each of those opponents to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor. Xavier enters Wednesday's game leading the Atlantic 10 in field-goal percentage (47.1), while Bonaventure is last in field-goal percentage defense at 45.4.
Shining In The Spotlight
St. Bonaventure will be making its third national TV appearance of the year, and the Bonnies are 2-0 so far this year in such games. SBU opened its road schedule with a 72-68 win over Cornell on NBC Sports Network and added another victory on NBC Sports Network against Siena, 58-43, on Dec. 4. SBU was 2-3 in national TV games last year, but all three losses – at Illinois, vs. Temple and vs. Florida State – came by a combined 14 points.
St. Bonaventure heads to Philadelphia to face Temple for the final time during the regular season as a member of the A-10. The game against the Owls on Saturday is set for 1 p.m. and will once again be shown nationally on the CBS Sports Network.