St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Binghamton Bearcats
Date: Friday, Nov. 13
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center
TV: none (SBU-TV video stream only)
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM, ESPN Radio 1450 AM (Olean, NY) with Gary Nease (pxp) and Don Scholla
Fan Promotion: The first 2,000 fans receive a Bonnies schedule magnet compliments of Mazza Mechanical Services
The Starting Five Notes:
1. St. Bonaventure opens its 96th season of basketball in front of its home fans against I-86 rival Binghamton. The contest is the nightcap of a doubleheader with the women's team. This is the second year in a row the Bonnies and Bearcats have met.
2. This Bonnies team mixes experience with new faces. Three freshmen will make their collegiate debuts Friday night, while five experienced players return to lead St. Bonaventure, led by senior co-captains Dion Wright and Marcus Posley. Wright (13.5) and Posley (16.7) combined to averaged 30.2 points per game last season. Sophomore point guard Jay Adams (10 points, 4.5 assists) returns to quarterback the offense.
3. In a storyline which will likely be an early-season focus, St. Bonaventure has just eight healthy scholarship players to open the year. Injuries have sidelined both redshirt freshman forward Jordan Tyson and junior swingman Courtney Stockard indefinitely. Walk-on Caleb McGuire gives the Bonnies nine players in uniform against Binghamton.
4. Home openers have been kind to the Bonnies; they have won 10 straight home openers dating back to 2004. Since 1966, when the Reilly Center opened, St. Bonaventure is 46-2 in home openers. Under head coach Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure is 8-0 in home openers.
5. Coach Mark Schmidt begins his ninth season at the helm of the Bona program. Schmidt, who is the fourth-longest tenured coach in the Atlantic 10, has 124 wins in his career at St. Bonaventure. He needs nine wins to pass Jim Baron for sixth place on Bona's coaching wins list, and 10 to pass Eddie Melvin.
This will be the sixth meeting in a series that St. Bonaventure leads 4-1. The Bonnies have won three straight against the Bearcats, including last year's 18-point victory at Binghamton's Events Center the week before Christmas. St. Bonaventure's lone loss in the series came on Dec. 30, 2007 in Vestal, a game in which the Bonnies only scored 16 first half points.
St. Bonaventure's Exhibition Game: Bonnies 108, Mansfield 48
Last Saturday afternoon at the Reilly Center, St. Bonaventure dominated from the opening tip in a 108-48 exhibition win over Division II Mansfield. With their new, up-tempo style on display, the Bonnies jumped out to a 21-4 lead eight minutes into the game and were never threatened. In the first half, St. Bonaventure made 22 of 37 shots en route to a 59-18 lead at the break. Without a true center this season, the Bonnies' smaller, quicker lineup pressured Mansfield into 15 turnovers in the first half. For the game, the Bonnies came up with 13 steals and converted the Mountaineers' 21 turnovers into 33 points. Denzel Gregg led all scorers with 23 points. In all, seven of the nine Bonnies who saw action scored in double figures. Jaylen Adams finished with 19 points, while Marcus Posley, Idris Taqqee and freshman Derrick Woods all recorded 12 points. Taqqee, who started the game in a three-guard Bona lineup, grabbed 13 rebounds as the Bonnies out-rebounded Mansfield 50-31. Woods corralled nine boards and Dion Wright had eight to go with his 11 points.
Scouting The Bearcats
Binghamton had a tough 2014-15 season, finishing 6-26 (5-11) and with only one non-conference win. The Bearcats' lone out of conference win came against Hartwick, a Division III program. The program did achieve its highest America East win total in five years. Earning the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament, the Bearcats pushed eventual runner-up Stony Brook to the final minute. Both freshmen last season, Willie Rodriguez and Dusan Perovic, 11.8 and 11.5 points per game respectively. Rodriguez was named to the America East All-Rookie Team while recording the third-most minutes played among freshmen. The youngest team in the nation in 2014-15, Binghamton returns seven out of its top eight scorers from last season.