St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: 21/19 Massachusetts Minutemen
Date: Wednesday, January 29
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center
Opening Tip: St. Bonaventure hosts #21/19 Massachusetts in the second meeting between the teams in 19 days. Jan. 11 in Amherst, Mass., the Bonnies led by as many as 13 points in the second half before UMass rallied for a 73-68 win. St. Bonaventure looks to shake off the disappointment of a last-second loss at Duquesne on Saturday.
The Series: UMass leads, 40-21
The Last Meeting: Jan. 11, 2014 at the Mullins Center: UMass 73, St. Bonaventure 68
The Bonnies led for the majority of the game, holding their largest advantage at 54-41 with 16:33 remaining. The Bonnies led by six at 67-61 with 2:56 left but only managed one free throw the rest of the way as UMass rallied. The Brown and White shot 50 percent from the field but committed 20 turnovers. Charlon Kloof led the Bonnies with 15 points and seven assists; Youssou Ndoye had 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
St. Bonaventure Coach Mark Schmidt
At SBU: 100-103 (7th season)
Overall: 182-193 (13th season)
Vs. UMass: 3-5
UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg
At UMass: 102-79 (6th season) / Overall: same
UMass Scouting Report:
• UMass is ranked 21st by the AP and 19th in the USA Today Coaches poll this week.
• Last Wednesday, the Minutemen lost their first A-10 game, a 58-55 setback at Richmond. Sunday afternoon at home, UMass got back on the winning track with a 90-52 victory over Fordham. This will be the final game in a stretch where UMass plays four out of five games on the road.
• Senior point guard Chaz Williams, who was named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list, leads UMass in scoring (15.9 ppg), assists (140) and three-point field goals (36/.424). He is No. 1 in the A-10 in assists.
• The Minutemen look to push tempo with Williams and their athletic big men. Cady Lalanne, a 6'9" forward, averages 13.6 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds with 46 blocked shots. The other top scorers are center Sampson Carter (10.8), forward Raphiel Putney (10.7), guard Maxie Esho (8.9), guard Derrick Gordon (8.5) and guard Trey Davis (7.5).
Last Time Out: Buzzer-Beater Nips Bonnies at Duquesne: Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Derrick Colter made an on-the-run, desperation three-pointer just prior to the horn that gave Duquesne an 83-81 win over St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies had taken an 81-80 lead with 13 seconds left on two free throws by Charlon Kloof in a back-and-forth game. Kloof led the Bonnies with 23 points; he drained a career-high five three-pointers. Matthew Wright scored 22 points. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field and made 11 three-pointers.
St. Bonaventure vs. Ranked Teams: This is St. Bonaventure's third game this season (and third in a six-game span) against a ranked opponent. The Bonnies have lost 24 consecutive games to ranked teams, most recently Jan. 15 at Saint Louis. St. Bonaventure's last win over a ranked opponent came on Jan. 15, 2000, when the Bonnies knocked off #20 Temple at the Reilly Center, 57-56. All-time, St. Bonaventure is 9-60 against ranked teams. The last time St. Bonaventure played three ranked opponents in the same season was 2009-10, when the Bonnies faced four ranked teams (Syracuse, Temple twice and Xavier).
Close Losses: Even including a 15-point loss at Wake Forest, the Bonnies' eight losses have come by an average of just 5.8 points. In four of those losses, St. Bonaventure could have come away with wins if it had made more free throws. The Bonnies missed 12 free throws in a 72-70 decision at Siena, 11 in a 76-72 loss to Louisiana Tech, 14 in a 78-73 final at Buffalo and 10 in an 83-81 decision at Duquesne.
Kloof Leads The Pack: To say that senior point guard Charlon Kloof's role has increased this season is a vast understatement. He is a leader on and off the court, and the Bonnies rely heavily on his production. Start with playing time: he's on the court 33 minutes per game and really only sits when he's had foul trouble, playing 36 minutes or more 10 times with three games playing all 40 minutes. His offensive production is up this season by almost eight points and two assists per game; 13 of his 26 career games scoring in double figures have been this season. Kloof also helps key the Bonnies' improved defense, averaging 1.3 steals. He also has proven to be a clutch player, scoring the winning basket on a buzzer-beating, length of the court drive at Niagara Dec. 21.
The Wright Way: Consistency from Matthew Wright has been pointed to as a key to the Bonnies' success this season, and so far the senior shooting guard has delivered. He leads the Bonnies in scoring at 15.5 points per game, which ranks eighth in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He also leads the A-10 in free throw shooting percentage at .863. On the season, Wright has scored in double figures 13 times topped by a 32-point outburst against Southern Illinois. He also has been an effective distributor, handing out 64 assists on the year (3.4 per game, 11th in the A-10). Best known for his three-point shooting, Wright has made 37 threes so far (37-111/.333), which is the seventh-best total among A-10 players.
Scoring Options Increase: With the emergence of Dion Wright, Marquise Simmons and Jordan Gathers as capable scorers, St. Bonaventure has more offensive options than it did last year, when Demitrius Conger, Chris Johnson and Eric Mosely accounted for nearly half of the team's scoring. The Bonnies now have seven players averaging more than 8.1 points: Matthew Wright (15.5), Charlon Kloof (12.8), Andell Cumberbatch (10.3), Dion Wright (9.2), Gathers (9.0), Youssou Ndoye (8.8) and Simmons (8.3). Every one of those players except Dion Wright have led the Bonnies in scoring at least once. The Bonnies rank sixth in the A-10 in scoring at 74.7 points per game.
The "Other Wright": After a year spent in a role typical for most freshmen, Dion Wright has emerged as a key player for the Bonnies as a sophomore. The 6'7" swingman from Carson, Calif., played in only 13 games last year, but this season he has become the Bonnies' most reliable player off the bench. He has played in every game and is averaging 9.2 points per game. Wright, who is not related to teammate Matthew Wright, has seven games of 12 points or more capped by a career-high 22 in the win at Iona. He keyed the win at Niagara with first double-double of his career, 14 points and 11 rebounds. Known for his ability to rebound and score in traffic (he's called "The Worm" by teammates and coaches), Wright is second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game.
Can't Teach Experience: Four Bonnies starters - Charlon Kloof, Matthew Wright, Marquise Simmons and Youssou Ndoye - all have made at least 34 career starts. Kloof leads with 63 followed by Wright (57), Ndoye (39) and Simmons (34). Both Wright (108) and Simmons (101) have played in 100+ games.