St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Delaware Blue Hens
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 30
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Newark, Del. / Carpenter Center
Listen (WPIG 95.7 FM, Olean, NY with Gary Nease)
The Starting Five Notes:
1. St. Bonaventure returns to action after a short Christmas break to visit Delaware. It will be the Bonnies' final non-conference game this season. A win at Delaware would give the Bonnies their third-best non-conference win total (8) under eighth-year head coach Mark Schmidt.
2. The Bonnies look to bounce back from a home loss to Maryland Eastern Shore on Dec. 22 that was an aberration from how they played over the previous month. The Hawks shot 53 percent from the field that night, a season high by a Bona opponent.
3. Senior center Youssou Ndoye leads the A-10 in both rebounding (11.3) and blocked shots (3.0 per game). He ranks fifth and 15th, respectively, among all Division I players in those categories. With his 12 rebounds against Maryland Eastern Shore, Ndoye became only the fourth player in school history to record 500 rebounds (he now has 505) and 150 blocks.
4. Junior guard Marcus Posley, who is in his first season at St. Bonaventure, has been the impact scorer that the Bonnies hoped he would be. Posley has scored in double figures nine times, including five 20+ point games, and ranks third in the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 17.3 points per game. He has connected on 29 three-pointers and ranks second in the A-10 with 2.9 three-pointers per game.
5. St. Bonaventure ranks fourth in the A-10 in defensive field goal percentage (.394), leads the A-10 in blocked shots (4.7 per game) and stands eighth in points allowed (63.7 ppg). The Bonnies have allowed only three of their 10 opponents to shoot over 40 percent from the field.
• This will be just the third meeting between the schools. The Bonnies lead the series 2-0. This game is the conclusion of a home-and-home series that started last year.
• Delaware is currently one of three winless Division I teams, along with Central Arkansas (0-10) and Florida A&M (0-11).
• This will be Delaware's fourth home game of the season. The Blue Hens have played seven road games already.
• Delaware lost four starters from last season's NCAA Tournament team. The Blue Hens have six freshmen on their roster and at least three play regular minutes.
• The Blue Hens' last game was Dec. 22 at Robert Morris, where they suffered an 84-81 defeat. Delaware lost 76-74 at Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 20.
• Team captains Marvin King-Davis, a junior forward, and Kyle Anderson, a senior shooting guard, recently returned to action after missing significant time due to injuries. Anderson has played in the last three games after missing the first seven with a hand injury. He is averaging a team-leading 17.7 points per game. King-Davis missed six games due to a hamstring injury. He is averaging 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds.
• Sophomore guard Cazmon Hayes is the team's second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. The Blue Hens also have freshman guard Korey Holden (10.8) and freshman swingman Chivarsky Corbett (10.0) averaging in double figures.
St. Bonaventure is off to a good start to the season in many ways, and rebounding is one of those:
• The Bonnies have outrebounded seven of their 10 opponents with one tie.
• St. Bonaventure outrebounded Pitt by three. The Panthers came into the game with a +8.8 rebound margin.
• The Bonnies rank second in the Atlantic 10 in both rebound margin (+5.5) and rebounds per game (39.3).
• Youssou Ndoye leads the A-10 and ranks fifth among NCAA Division I players in rebounding at 11.3 per game.
• Dion Wright ranks sixth in the A-10 in rebounding at 8.2 per game; Andell Cumberbatch stands 17th with a 5.9 average.
Ndoye A Force On Defense, Boards
While his scoring has fluctuated, what have remained constant are Youssou Ndoye's defense and rebounding. Always a force on defense, he leads the A-10 in both rebounding (11.3) and blocked shots (3.0 per game). He ranks fifth and 15t, respectively, among all Division I players in those categories. Ndoye has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in eight consecutive games with a high of 13 against both Buffalo and Binghamton.
Get Well Coach
When the news spread of a serious injury at practice on Dec. 19, no one thought of head coach Mark Schmidt. But he is exactly who suffered the injury - a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right foot. Schmidt hurt himself when he planted to pivot in the opposite direction. Not surprisingly to those who know him, Schmidt didn't miss a beat, caoching the rest of practice from a chair. He then boarded the team bus to Binghamton and coached the game the next afternoon wearing a protective boot. He has undergone surgery and will continue coaching through his recovery, which includes the 10 days following surgery when he cannot place any weight on his foot.
Posley Makes Immediate Impact
Replacing 2014 graduate Matthew Wright, who averaged 16.3 points per game last season and scored over 1,000 career points, is not a task that can fall on one player. Marcus Posley, however, has begun to gain the confidence of Bonnies coaches and fans. He leads the Bonnies and ranks third in the Atlantic 10 at 17.3 points per game. He has scored in double figures nine out of 10 games, including four games of 20 points or more: 22 vs. Siena, 20 vs. Canisius, 20 at Ohio, 20 at Binghamton and a career high 26 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore. Posley has scored before; as a freshman point guard at Ball State in 2012-13, he averaged 6.5 points per game. Last season at Indian Hills Junior College, when he switched to shooting guard, he averaged 13.5 points a game.
New Backcourt Productive
Entering the year, the major question mark about this Bona team was how it would replace the production and leadership of its 2013-14 senior backcourt of point guard Charlon Kloof and shooting guard Matthew Wright, who both had outstanding senior seasons. So far, the new starters have been just what the Bonnies hoped they would be. Jay Adams is the first freshman point guard to start for Bona since coach Mark Schmidt's first season of 2007-08 (Andrew Nicholson, a power forward, did start as a freshman in 2008-09; Malcolm Eleby was the freshman guard who started in 2007). Between them, Adams (23) and Marcus Posley (29) have made 52 three-pointers and are shooting .400 from long range. They combine to average 29.5 points per game.
Hoping To Complete Non-Conference Strong
A win at Delaware would give St. Bonaventure an 8-3 record, which would be its third-most non-conference wins under Mark Schmidt. It also would give the Bonnies a 4-1 mark away from home. Last year, the Bonnies went 10-3 prior to A-10 play, although they did play in an exempt tournament.
Dion Wright Backing Up Sports Illustrated's Breakout Projection
Following a sophomore season that could easily been described as a breakout, St. Bonaventure junior Dion Wright has been named to Sport Illustrated's list of the "Projected Breakout Players" for the upcoming year. Wright is slotted 22nd on the list of 50 players based upon a projection that he will increase his scoring to 13 points per game this season. The SI system "forecasts advanced statistics -- such as offensive efficiency, usage rates, and rebound and assist rates -- for each player and then fits them within the context of their team's rotation to yield raw stats." SI wrote: "Wright was the Bonnies' most efficient player last season. He finishes well around the rim, makes his free throws and rarely turns the ball over."
A 6-7 forward from Carson, Calif., Wright averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game coming off the bench in all 33 games as a sophomore. He made exactly 50 percent of his field goal attempts and 74 percent of his free throws. Wright more than doubled his per-game scoring and rebounding averages from his freshman season, taking advantage of 22 minutes of playing time per contest.
So far this season, Wright has lived up to the hype. He's scored in double figures nine out of 10 games and ranks second on the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game. Wright, who has rarely left the floor this year, is also averaging 8.2 rebounds a game, which is sixth among A-10 players.