St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Vermont Catamounts
Date: Saturday, Dec. 16
Location: Rochester, N.Y. | Blue Cross Arena
Alesco Advisors Roc City Hoops Classic
St. Bonaventure 7-2 | Vermont 7-4
Bonnies Statistics | Catamounts Statistics
Video: GoBonnies.com/A-10 Network (premium)
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Tickets may be purchased on-line by choosing the above link or in-person at the Blue Cross Arena. Note: doors will open at 2:30 on game day.
Game Day Central
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
Saturday afternoon in Rochester, St. Bonaventure hosts Vermont in the Alesco Advisors Roc City Hoops Classic, a matchup of two top-100 programs. The Bonnies are 76 in the NCAA's RPI while Vermont is 58. In addition to featuring two NCAA Tournament hopefuls, both teams also feature star power, the Bonnies with Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley and Vermont with Rochester native Anthony Lamb and senior point guard Trae Bell-Haynes.
• This is St. Bonaventure's 25th game at Blue Cross Arena and the fourth straight season the Bonnies have played in downtown Rochester. St. Bonaventure has won four in a row at BCA.
• The Bonnies' current four-game win streak overall is their longest since last year, when they won five in a row during non-conference action.
• St. Bonaventure's 7-2 start is tied for the best start to a season under 11th-year coach Mark Schmidt. The last time a Bonnies team opened 8-2 was in 2001-02.
• After playing the first six games this season without senior point guard Jaylen Adams, who sprained his left ankle in the exhibition game Nov. 4, the Bonnies got him back on Dec. 2 at Buffalo. He shook of the rust quickly and averaged 22 points and 9.0 assists over two wins last week, earning A-10 Player of the Week honors. Already one of the most accomplished players in the program's history, Adams was on the preseason watch list for three national player of the year awards: the Wooden Award, the Oscar Robertson Award and the Naismith Trophy.
• Matt Mobley, the other half of the Bonnies' dynamic duo in the backcourt, ranks 19th nationally in scoring at 19.6 points per game; he has four games of 20+ points already. Like Adams, Mobley was named to the Atlantic 10's preseason first team All-Conference.
• Defense and ball control have been critical to early-season success. The Bonnies lead the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (.406) and in three-point defense (.286) and rank second in the A-10 in scoring defense (64.7 ppg). In addition, their +6.0 turnover margin is 10th best nationally.
• 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 11.3 points per game off the bench.
• Coming off the 2017 America East Conference title, the Catamounts were the preseason choice to repeat as conference champions. Vermont returned five seniors this year as well as the 2017 America East Rookie of the Year, Rochester native Anthony Lamb.
• Senior point guard Trae Bell-Haynes, a Toronto native, leads Vermont in assists (52) and steals while also averaging 11.6 points per game.
• Lamb, a 6-7, 225-lb. power forward, tops the club in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (5.8). Ernie Duncan (11.7) and Payton Henson (10.5) also average in double figures in scoring.
• In six seasons, coach John Becker has guided the Catamounts to six 20-win seasons, six straight postseason berths (NCAA twice, NIT, CBI – three times), won two America East Tournament titles (2012, 2017), a pair of America East regular season crowns (2014, 2017) and an NCAA Tournament win (2012).
St. Bonaventure vs. Vermont: The Last Meeting
Dec. 8, 2015 at Reilly Center: Bonnies 80, Vermont 68
In the only prior meeting between these schools, then-sophomore Jaylen Adams scored a career high 28 points and had seven assists to lead St. Bonaventure to the win. Adams made seven of 10 shots from three-point range, finishing one shy of tying the school record. The sophomore point guard made two of those in a span of 1:54 in the second half that broke a 45-45 tie. Adams' shooting sparked an 11-2 run that ended with the Bonnies ahead 56-47. St. Bonaventure built the lead to 73-56 with 7:02 remaining. St. Bonaventure finished 11-20 from three point range and made 51.8 percent of its shots overall.
Adams Named A-10 Player of Week
It didn't take very long for Jaylen Adams to return to form. He was named the Atlantic 10 Conference basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 10. Over the Bonnies' two games last week, Adams averaged 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game, leading St. Bonaventure to a pair of wins. He went 7-14 (.500) from three-point range and also was 18-19 at the free throw line. In the Bonnies' 73-65 decision at Canisius last Wednesday, Adams led St. Bonaventure with 20 points and nine assists. He then totaled 25 points with nine assists and six steals in a 75-67 win over Yale this past Saturday at the Reilly Center. Adams scored 19 points, making all four of his three-pointers, in the second half as the Bonnies came back from a nine-point first half deficit.
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. This season, that term also applies to the Bonnies' commitment to defense. The Bonnies lead the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (.406) and three-point defense (.286) and are second in scoring defense (64.7 ppg). They also rank 10th nationally with a +6.0 turnover margin. St. Bonaventure has held seven of its nine opponents under 68 points including Maryland (61). Four times, St. Bonaventure has limited its opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.
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 in scoring at 19.6 points per game, with four 20-point games. He now has 19 games of 20 points or more in 36 career games at St. Bonaventure. Mobley also leads the Bonnies in assists and steals. After averaging 17 points per game with seven assists in the Emerald Coast Classic, he was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Ayeni Clicks With Adams
Sophomore forward Josh Ayeni may have been negatively affected by Jaylen Adams' injury more than any other Bona player. Now that Adams is back, the two have begun to click on offense the way they often did last season. The past two games, Ayeni averaged 13.5 points, going 12-21 (.571) from the field, raising his scoring average by two points per game. He scored 16 points on 7-8 shooting in the win at Canisius, followed by 12 points and five rebounds in the win over Yale. For the season, Ayeni is now averaging 7.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Last year, Ayeni displayed a deft shooting touch, grit and ability to quickly grasp the Bonnies' system. He earned 24 starts and played in all 32 games. He finished sixth on the team in scoring at 6.7 points per game, shooting .478 from the field and .797 at the free throw line.
Tickets for this game may be purchased on-line HERE or in-person at the Blue Cross Arena. Note: doors will open at 2:30 on game day.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.