St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Niagara Purple Eagles
Date: Friday, Nov. 10
Location: Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center
St. Bonaventure 20-12 | Niagara 10-23
Bonnies Statistics | Niagara Statistics
Video: SBU-TV/GoBonnies.com/A-10 Network
Note: All home games produced by SBU-TV are streamed free of charge on the A-10 Network thanks to the sponsorship of Corning Inc.
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Friday night, St. Bonaventure begins its 98th season of men's basketball with a home game against Big 4 rival Niagara. It is a highly-anticipated opener in a promising season. Coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons, the Bonnies are led by the veteran backcourt of Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee.
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
• The Bonnies have won their last six games against Niagara dating to 2011, including a 79-69 decision last December at KeyBank Center in the Big 4 Classic doubleheader.
• This will be the 158th meeting in the series, which the Bonnies lead 88-69. It is St. Bonaventure's second-most played rivalry behind Canisius. The first meeting was in the 1920-21 season.
• At the Reilly Center, the Bonnies hold a 53-18 advantage.
• Home openers have been kind to the Bonnies. They have won 12 straight home openers dating back to 2004. Since 1966, when the Reilly Center opened, St. Bonaventure is 48-2 in home openers. Under head coach Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure is 10-0 in home openers.
• The rivalry between St. Bonaventure and Niagara dates nearly 100 years to the 1920-21 season. This will be the 158th meeting in the series, which the Bonnies lead 88-69.
• Coach Mark Schmidt begins his 11th season at the helm for St. Bonaventure. After consecutive 20-win seasons, he stands second on the program's coaching wins list with 166.
• Jaylen Adams begins his senior season and is already one of the most accomplished players in the program's history. The two-time first team All-Conference selection is on the preseason watch list for the Oscar Robertson Award as the national player of the year.
• Matt Mobley, the other half of the Bonnies' dynamic duo in the backcourt, hopes to follow up a head-turning junior season in which he averaged 18.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. Like Adams, Mobley was named to the Atlantic 10's preseason first team All-Conference.
• Other returning starters for St. Bonaventure are senior guard Idris Taqqee and sophomore forward Josh Ayeni. Taqqee started all 32 games last season. while Ayeni made 24 starts. Other veterans back are junior guard Nelson Kaputo, junior forward LaDarien Griffin and sophomore center Amadi Ikpeze.
• The schedule has the Bonnies opening the season with three consecutive home games, hosting Maryland-Eastern Shore next Wednesday and Jackson State Nov. 18.
2017-18 Quick Team Info
Starters Returning: 4
Letterwinners Returning: 7
• St. Bonaventure returns 74 percent of its scoring and 68 percent of its rebounding from last year's team.
• The main scoring threats, of course, are Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, who combined to average 39.1 points per game last season (1,212 points total).
• Both Adams and Mobley were named to the A-10 preseason first team All-Conference, the first time that has happened for St. Bonaventure.
• Also back are Idris Taqqee (6.8 ppg) and Josh Ayeni (6.7).
• The biggest loss production-wise from last season's team was forward Denzel Gregg, who averaged 12.0 points per game and led the Bonnies in rebounding (7.7) and blocked shots (55). David Andoh (7.6 ppg) also graduated.
• Juniors LaDarien Griffin and Nelson Kaputo are experienced players who should both play meaningful minutes this year.
• He's old but he's new defines redshirt junior Courtney Stockard, who missed the past two years with foot injuries but now is healthy and should bolster the rotation.
• Sophomore center Amadi Ikpeze has trimmed 15 lbs. and should also be a regular in the rotation this season after playing in 24 games last season.
• The Bonnies welcome three new players: junior forward Ndene Gueye, a junior college transfer from Kilgore (Texas) and freshmen Izaiah Brockington and Tshiefu Ngalakulondi.
Niagara Scouting Report
• Overall, this is a team that is much more experienced than the past few years. Niagara returns all five of its leading scorers from last year's 10-23 team, and was selected fifth in the MAAC preseason poll.
• Senior guard Matt Scott was named to the preseason All-MAAC First Team and senior guard Kahlil Dukes earned second Team honors. Last season, Scott led Niagara in scoring at 17.0 points per game, in rebounding with 7.0 per game and in steals. Dukes was 11th in the MAAC in scoring (15.5) and was sixth in assist (4.1). He made 92 percent of his free throws.
• Niagara also returns junior forwards Marvin Prochet (9.4 points per game) and Dominic Robb (8.4 ppg).
St. Bonaventure basketball tickets are available via GoBonnies.com/tickets; by calling (716) 375-2500 or in person at the St. Bonaventure ticket office in the Reilly Center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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