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Bonnies To Put 14-Game Home A-10 Win Streak On Line Against Dayton

Game Preview: Dayton Flyers

Game Date: Saturday, Jan. 19
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Reilly Center

Records:

St. Bonaventure 6-11 (2-2)   |    Dayton 11-6 (3-1)
Bonnies Stats        |         Flyers Stats

TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Twitter: @BonniesMBB

Full Media Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP

In a nationally-televised Saturday matinee, St. Bonaventure hosts Dayton in the only meeting of the teams this season. The Bonnies hope to bounce back from a loss at Rhode Island while the Flyers suffered their first loss of the A-10 schedule Wednesday at VCU.

BONA-NOTEWORTHY
• St. Bonaventure has won 14 straight home games against Atlantic 10 opponents.
• Since moving into the starting lineup last week, freshman center Osun Osunniyi is playing the best basketball of his young career. He was named the A-10's Rookie of the Week after averaging 13 points and 12 rebounds per game in wins over Saint Joseph's and Fordham. Osunniyi leads the A-10 and ranks 27th nationally in blocked shots (2.3 per game).
• Over the last three games, senior forward LaDarien Griffin averaged 17.6 points per game. He had missed 10 games with a knee sprain between Nov. 8 and Dec. 21, but has worked his way back into preseason form.
• Senior forward Courtney Stockard, who was named to the preseason All-Conference team, is averaging 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He missed the first six games of the year due to off-season knee surgery, but his return has infused his teammates with confidence.
• Freshman Kyle Lofton, who has started every game at point guard, is second among all Atlantic 10 freshmen in scoring (13.5 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (68/39). 

St. Bonaventure vs. Dayton: The Last Meeting
Jan. 3, 2018 at UD Arena: Dayton 82, Bonnies 72
St. Bonaventure trailed from the opening tip and, despite a second half rally, came up short. The Bonnies' eight-game win streak was snapped as they lost for the first time since Nov. 25. They also dropped their first road game of the season and moved to 1-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
It was an uncharacteristic game for the Bonnies (11-3) defensively, as the Flyers connected on 56 percent of their shots from the field. St. Bonaventure got off to a slow start, making just five of its first 16 shots of the night. The poor shooting was impacted by Matt Mobley's two early fouls, which forced him to sit the majority of the first half. Dayton opened leads of 19-6 and then 25-13, eventually going ahead 39-21 before the Bonnies scored the last four points of the half. Darrell Davis was red hot for the Flyers in the first half, making four of seven from behind the three-point line en route to 14 points. St. Bonaventure made just 10 of 28 shots in the first half, going 0-7 from long range. In the second half, Mobley rallied the Bonnies. After a scoreless first half, he made three of his first six three-pointers to help the Bonnies pull to 53-44 with 11:15 remaining. St. Bonaventure never could pull any closer than seven points, however.

Dayton Notes
The Flyers lost a hard-fought, 76-71 decision at VCU on Wednesday. Dayton opened Atlantic 10 play with wins over Richmond, GW and UMass. Jordan Davis led four Dayton players in double figures with 17 points. For the season, Davis is the fourth-leading scorer for Dayton at 11 points per game. Senior forward Josh Cunningham, a preseason All-Conference pick, tops the team at 15.7 points per game. Point guard Jalen Crutcher averages 13.6 points and leads all A-10 players in assists with 102. Freshman forward Obi Toppin is at 12 points per game and Trey Landers averages 10.4 points per contest.

Series History
This will be the 35th meeting in a series that Dayton leads 24-10. The Flyers won the last three games in the series since the Bonnies won at UD Arena in 2016. The first-ever meeting between the schools was in 1949.

14 Straight Wins Versus A-10 Opponents At Home
St. Bonaventure has won its last 14 games against Atlantic 10 opponents in the Reilly Center, including a perfect 9-0 mark last season. The Bonnies' last home loss to an A-10 team was VCU in overtime on Feb. 4, 2017.

Schmidt No. 2 On Bona Coaching Wins List
Mark Schmidt stands second all-time on the program's all-time coaching wins list, just four wins behind NCAA Final Four coach Larry Weise. Now in his 12th season, he has 198 wins at St. Bonaventure. Schmidt, Weise and Jim Satalin are the only St. Bonaventure coaches with over 150 wins. Schmidt is the third-longest tenured coach in the Atlantic 10 behind Saint Joseph's Phil Martelli (now in his 23rd season) and Richmond's Chris Mooney (13th). 

Osunniyi Named A-10 Rookie of Week
After helping St. Bonaventure to a pair of wins, freshman center Osun Osunniyi was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week for the week ending Jan. 13. Osunniyi posted double-doubles in wins over Saint Joseph's and Fordham last week.  He averaged 13.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.0 blocked shots and 2.5 assists per game over those games, and made 68 percent of his shots from the field (11-16). In the Bonnies' Jan. 9 home win over Saint Joseph's, Osunniyi scored 10 points and set a season high with 11 rebounds.  Jan. 12, Osunniyi bettered his season high in scoring with 16 points to go with 12 rebounds, three blocks and three assists in St. Bonaventure's win over Fordham at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.

Welch Returns, Gives Scoring Boost
Yet another player who missed significant time due to an injury was freshman swingman Dominick Welch. The highly-regarded Buffalo native started the first four games of the year before he suffered a bruised foot that forced him to miss nine games from Nov. 20 to Jan. 6. He returned to action at George Mason. Welch made a pair of three-pointers at Rhode Island as he scored a season high 12 points. Prior to his injury, Welch averaged 7.0 points per game. Welch scored 2,376 points over his career at Cheetowaga High School before a prep year at Spire Academy. 

Full Roster (Was) Finally Healthy
The Jan. 6 game at George Mason was the first time this season that all 11 of the Bonnies' scholarship players were available to play. Now with Nelson Kaputo and Jalen Poyser both questionable due to head injuries, the lineup remains in flux. A young team with just five scholarship players back from last season, Bonnies players have missed 36 games due to injuries: LaDarien Griffin (10 games), Melkisedek Moreaux (10), Dominick Welch (9) and Courtney Stockard (6) and Posyer (1). The injuries have forced coach Mark Schmidt to use eight different starting lineups. Griffin was out from Nov. 8 until Dec. 21 due to a sprained knee; Stockard was out the first six games due to offseason knee surgery; Welch was out from Nov. 19 to Jan. 6 due to a bruised right foot, and Moreaux missed the first 10 games due to a hyperextended knee he sustained in preseason practice. In the second and third games of the Cayman Islands Classic, the Bonnies were only able to dress seven scholarship players.

Griffin Regaining His Form
St. Bonaventure had to play without one of its senior leaders for a long stretch this season as senior forward LaDarien Griffin was sidelined 10 games by a sprained knee. He suffered the injury in the Nov. 7 season opener against Bucknell. Griffin, who was named the Atlantic 10's Most Improved Player in 2017-18, returned to action Dec. 21 at Northeastern. Understandably, it took him some to regain his form. Over his first three games after returning, Griffin averaged just 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds. But over the past three games, Griffin averaged 17.6 points and 5.6 rebounds while converting 54 (19-35) percent of his shots from the field. Those three games elevated his season averages up to 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Griffin averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a junior. 

Stockard Picks Up Where He Left Off
Senior Courtney Stockard has endured much more than his fair share of setbacks since he got to St. Bonaventure. The St. Louis, Mo., native missed back-to-back seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 with a broken foot. He returned last year and had a breakout season in which he averaged 13.3 points. But, Stockard then had to undergo an 2018 offseason knee procedure which caused him to miss the first six games this season. Stockard returned to action Nov. 28 against Canisius and showed little rust, scoring a game-high 19 points. He has scored in double figures in 10 of his 11 games, averaging almost 16 points to go along with 5.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists while making 45 percent of his shots overall. Stockard really has picked up where he left off last year, as his last six games of 2017-18 were unforgettable. He averaged 22 points and 7.5 rebounds over those six games, setting career highs in scoring twice. Stockard was instrumental in four wins, most notably with his 26 points against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament. Over Stockard's 41 games in the lineup, the Bonnies are 29-12.

Freshman Lofton Impresses
Freshman Kyle Lofton has taken on the point guard role from day one this season, filling the large shoes of Jaylen Adams. Lofton has shown he is up to the task, averaging 13.5 points per game with a team-leading 68 assists. He is second among Atlantic 10 freshmen in both scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio. Overall among all players, the Hillside, N.J., native ranks 18th in the A-10 in scoring, ninth in assists and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio. He also has been durable, leading the A-10 in minutes played (37.5/game). Lofton scored a season best 23 points in a double-OT loss at Vermont, including a clutch drive that forced the second overtime period. In a win over Canisius Nov. 28, Lofton scored 13 points and handed out nine assists without any turnovers. Lofton also was impressive in the Cayman Islands Classic, averaging 15.3 points per game while playing 112 of a possible 120 minutes over three games. Lofton had a year of seasoning at Putnam Science Academy, where he ran the point for the national prep champions last year. 

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