St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Preview: Syracuse Orange
Date: Friday, Dec. 22
Location: Syracuse, N.Y. | Carrier Dome
Records (RPI ratings)
St. Bonaventure 9-2 (52) | Syracuse 10-1 (7)
Bonnies Statistics | Orange Statistics
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
St. Bonaventure faces its final test of an already challenging non-conference schedule when it faces 10-1 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome Friday night. The Bonnies have won six in a row and have a chance to further prove themselves against the Orange, whose only loss was to Kansas.
• The Bonnies' six game win streak is the program's longest since 1999-00, when the Bonnies won six in a row between Dec. 30 and Jan. 15. The last time a St. Bonaventure team won seven games in a row was in the 1982-83 season.
• St. Bonaventure's 9-2 start is its best under 11th-year coach Mark Schmidt. The last time a Bonnies team opened 9-2 was in 1999-00, when coach Jim Baron's club started 12-2.
• 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 is averaging 17.2 points and 5.8 assists per game. He earned A-10 Player of the Week honors Dec. 10. 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, has five games of 20+ points and is the third-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 18.4 points per game. He made the game-winning three-pointer as time expired against Vermont. 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 (.407) and are third in three-point defense (.305) and scoring defense (66.0 ppg). In addition, their +5.4 turnover margin is 13th 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 points per game off the bench.
This will be the 28th meeting between the schools. Syracuse leads the series 24-3 and has won the last 14 meetings. St. Bonaventure is 0-10 vs. the Orange at the Carrier Dome, and its last win over Syracuse came on Jan. 26, 1981 at the Reilly Center. Fifteen times that the teams have played, Syracuse has been nationally ranked.
St. Bonaventure vs. Syracuse: The Last Meeting
Nov. 17, 2015 at Carrier Dome: Syracuse 79, Bonnies 66
St. Bonaventure led for nearly 30 minutes, building double-digit leads multiple times, including during the second half, but the Orange rallied and pulled away late for a 79-66 victory. Sophomore Jaylen Adams paced the Bonnies with 16 points, also adding a game-high seven assists as well as three steals. Senior Dion Wright posted 13 points and eight rebounds and junior Denzel Gregg gave St. Bonaventure a third double-figure scorer with 11 points as well as eight boards. The Bonnies sank 11 three-pointers on the night, finishing 11-of-32 from long range and won the battle of the boards by a 43-33 margin. Syracuse was red hot from the floor during its second half rally, connecting on 56 percent of its shots (14-25). The Bonnies finished the night shooting 36.4 percent from the field (24-66).
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. That meant the Bonnies' dynamic backcourt duo had to wait until Dec. 2 to be reunited. As Adams has worked his way back to 100 percent, the Adams-Matt Mobley pairing has started to look and perform like they did last season.
Adams & Mobley Per Game Stats/Pct.:
Points Assists Steals 3-PT% FT%
35.6 9.1 3.6 .390 .909
With Adams Back, Three-Point Efficiency Soars
As you would expect, Jaylen Adams' return to the lineup has helped the Bonnies' three-point shooting. The past three games St. Bonaventure made 20 of 39 (51 percent) from behind the arc. The hot streak improved the team's three-point percentage to .384 for the season, which leads the Atlantic 10 Conference.
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 (.407) and are third in both three-point defense (.298) and scoring defense (66.0 ppg). They also rank 14th nationally with a +5.4 turnover margin. St. Bonaventure has held eight of its 11 opponents under 68 points including Maryland (61). Five times, St. Bonaventure has limited its opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field.
• The Orange come off an 81-74 win over Buffalo Tuesday in the Carrier Dome. Oshae Brissett led Syracuse with 25 points while Frank Howard added 18.
• Syracuse has three players who key the offense. Tyus Battle leads the Orange at 20.7 points per game. Brissett is at 15.6 ppg and Howard, the team's point guard, averages 15.4 ppg and over six assists per outing.
• The Orange are rated seventh in the latest NCAA.com RPI.
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