St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Yale Bulldogs
Date: Saturday, Dec. 9
Location: Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center
St. Bonaventure 6-2 | Yale 6-5
Bonnies Statistics | Bulldogs Statistics
TV: ESPNU / Watch ESPN app with
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
St. Bonaventure welcomes Yale to the Reilly Center for a nationally-televised game. Both teams were picked to finish second in their respective leagues and both have six wins already.
• This will be the first game in the Reilly Center televised by the ESPN family of networks since Feb. 1, 2003, when the Bonnies hosted Temple on ESPN2.
• Defense and ball control have been critical to early-season success. The Bonnies lead the A-10 in scoring defense (64.4 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.403) and are second in three-point defense (.287) and are 15th nationally with a +5.6 turnover margin.
• LaDarien Griffin is taking full advantage of his opportunity to start. He leads the Bonnies in rebounding (7.3 per game) and is fourth on the team in scoring (9.9).
• Courtney Stockard's story is much more than just a game-winner against Maryland. The 22-year old redshirt junior missed all of the last two seasons due to foot injuries, leaving his career in serious doubt. He persevered, though, and is averaging 11 points per game off the bench.
Adams Returns After Missing First Six Games
All-America candidate Jaylen Adams missed the first six games of the season due to a sprained left ankle which he suffered in the exhibition game against Alfred (N.Y.) on Nov. 4. He made his season debut Dec. 2 at Buffalo and played 28 minutes, scoring nine points. Adams then scored 20 points with nine assists in the win at Canisius.
Getting It Done With Defense
The team's motto during the pre-season was "Let's Get To It" -- a reference to the work required in order to meet high expectations. Now six games into the season, that term also applies to the Bonnies' commitment to defense. The Bonnies lead the A-10 in scoring defense (64.4 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.403) and are second in three-point defense (.287). They also rank 15th nationally with a +5.6 turnover margin. St. Bonaventure has held six of its eight opponents under 66 points including Maryland (61). Four times, St. Bonaventure has limited its opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.
Bonnies Vs. Ivy Opponents
Although this is St. Bonaventure's first meeting with Yale, all-time the Bonnies are 16-11 vs. Ivy League teams. The last time the program faced an Ivy team was the 2014-15 season opener, when St. Bonaventure topped Dartmouth 77-57 at the Reilly Center.
Mobley Off To Quick Start
Thanks to an incredibly productive junior season, Matt Mobley went from a virtual unknown to a star, All-Conference player Mobley's 18.5 points per game average ranked fourth-best in the A-10, and he also averaged 5.8 rebounds per game. Mobley made 86 three-pointers at a .379 clip. Even with the added pressure of Jaylen Adams' six-game absence, Mobley has gotten off to a great start to 2017-18. He ranks third in the Atlantic 10 and 37th nationally in scoring at 20.6 points per game, with four 20+ point games. Mobley also leads the Bonnies in assists. He now has 19 games of 20 points or more in 36 career games at St. Bonaventure. After averaging 17 points per game with seven assists in the Emerald Coast Classic, he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Griffin Making Most Of Opportunity
LaDarien Griffin's journey to becoming a regular contributor is similar to many past St. Bonaventure players. He started his college career as an unfinished product who had to work his way into the rotation. The first part of his maturation was to become stronger, and he's added 15 pounds of muscle to his 6-6 frame, now at 215 lbs. Griffin also worked to improve his shot and ball handling. His freshman season, Griffin played in only 11 games, scoring six points. Last season, he earned time in 29 games and averaged 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. This year, Griffin has moved into the starting spot at power forward and leads the Bonnies in rebounding. He already has two double-doubles, most recently Nov. 29 at Siena when he set career highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Ayeni Helps Power Win At Canisius
Josh Ayeni's rapid development was on display last season, as he earned 24 starts and played in all 32 games. So far this season, Ayeni is averaging 7.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He scored 16 points on 7-8 shooting in the win at Canisius, which was his third double-figure scoring game this season.
• The Bulldogs were last year's Ivy League runner-up. Yale reached the Ivy's first-ever championship game before falling to Princeton. Yale ended with 18 wins and returned its two leading scorers from that team. This season, Yale has already played 11 games and is 6-5 following an 86-77 win at Lehigh.
• Yale's five losses have to come to teams with a combined record of 34-12, and only Wisconsin (3-5) sits below .500.
• Saturday will be Yale's fourth road game in their last five contests.
• The Bulldogs are a high-scoring group, averaging 79.5 points per game and averaging over nine three-pointers per game. Yale averages a remarkable 19 assists per game, and six different Bulldogs already have 20 assists or more.
• Yale has more than its share of adversity already. Starters Makai Mason, who was selected as the preseason Ivy League Player of the Year by a number of outlets, and highly-regarded sophomore Jordan Bruner are both out with injuries and will not play against the Bonnies.
• Guard Mike Oni, a 6-6 sophomore, comes off the bench to lead Yale in scoring at 16.4 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounding (5.9), assists (35) and three-pointers (26-74/.351). He was a second team All-Ivy choice last year as a freshman.
• Guard Alex Copeland (12.8) and forward Blake Reynolds (10.9) also average in double figures. Paul Atkinson, a 6-10 freshman, averages 8.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
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. For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get men's basketball updates @BonniesMBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.