Game Preview: UMass Minutemen
Game Date: Wednesday, Jan. 23
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Amherst, Mass. - Mullins Center
St. Bonaventure 6-12 (2-3) | UMass 7-11 (0-5)
Bonnies Stats | UMass Stats
TV: NESN (ESPN+ video $)
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease
Full Media Game Notes (PDF)
St. Bonaventure begins a two-game road trip at UMass on Wednesday night. The Bonnies look to bounce back from a double-OT loss to Dayton and earn their first road win of the season.
• St. Bonaventure has three freshmen in its projected starting lineup, the only Atlantic 10 to have that many freshmen starters.
• Since moving into the starting lineup four games ago, 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 21st nationally in blocked shots (2.3 per game).
• Kyle Lofton, who has started every game at point guard, is second among all Atlantic 10 freshmen in scoring (13.3 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (75/40). He averages 38 minutes per game.
• Over the last three games, senior forward LaDarien Griffin averaged 17.7 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, scored a career high 36 points last Saturday against Dayton. He is averaging 17.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
St. Bonaventure vs. UMass: The Last Meeting
Jan. 30, 2017 at Reilly Center: Bonnies 98, UMass 78
Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley combined for 60 points to lead St. Bonaventure to its eighth straight win. Adams scored 32 points – three short of his career high – and Mobley added 28 as the pair went 20-32 from the field including 9-16 from three-point range. It was their highest combined scoring output as teammates over the past two seasons. St. Bonaventure led 47-38 at halftime and extended the advantage to 19 points at 66-47 less than seven minutes into the second half. Adams' three-pointer at the 13:02 mark capped a 10-0 run. The lead grew to 26 points on Josh Ayeni's dunk at the 9:35 mark, and the Bonnies went on to secure their 11th win of the season as well as their first Atlantic 10 Conference victory.
• The Minutemen dropped to 0-5 in the A-10 with a 68-50 loss at VCU on Saturday night. UMass has faced a challenging schedule to start conference play as they have gone on the road to face Saint Louis and Dayton and played La Salle and George Mason at home.
• Junior guard Luwane Pipkins is the second-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 18.6 points per game. He also leads UMass in three-pointers (41), free throws (85), assists (96) and steals (25).
• Sophomore guard Carl Pierre averages 10 points per game is is another deep threat, connecting on 38 percent of his three-point shots. Jonathan Laurent (10.1 ppg), Rashaan Holloway (9.2) and Curtis Cobb (9.1) are UMass' other top scorers.
This will be the 71st meeting between these long-time Atlantic 10 rivals. UMass holds a 41-29 series lead, but the Bonnies have won the past six meetings and 10 of the last 12.
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).
Kaputo, Poyser Questionable
Both Nelson Kaputo and Jalen Poyser are questionable for this game due to head injuries. Poyser missed the last two games, while Kaputo, who was hurt during the first half at Rhode Island, sat out the Dayton game.
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, the lineup remains in flux. A young team with just five scholarship players back from last season, Bonnies players have missed 38 games due to injuries: LaDarien Griffin (10 games), Melkisedek Moreaux (10), Dominick Welch (9), Courtney Stockard (6), Poyser (2) and Kaputo (1). The injuries have forced coach Mark Schmidt to use nine 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 Regains 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 four games, Griffin averaged 17.7 points while converting 55 percent (27-49) of his shots from the field. That four game stretch elevated his season averages up to 12.3 points 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 11 of his 12 games, averaging 17 points to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists while making 44 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.
Freshmen Form The Core
St. Bonaventure is the only Atlantic 10 team with three freshmen currently in its starting lineup. Osun Osunniyi, Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch are combining to average 26.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, which is the highest production of any group of freshmen in the A-10.
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 13.3 points per game with a team-leading 75 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 20th in the A-10 in scoring, eighth in assists and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio. He also has been durable, leading the A-10 in minutes played (38/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.
Double-O Catches On; Earns First A-10 Rookie of Week Honors
Freshman center Osun Osunniyi, who coach Mark Schmidt describes as "oozing with potential," is continuing to develop every practice and every game. For the year, he is averaging 7.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Even while averaging just 23 minutes per game, he leads the A-10 and ranks 21st nationally in blocks at 2.3 per game (42 total). The school's freshman record for blocks in a season is 81 by Andrew Nicholson in 2008-09. Osunniyi has three double-doubles with two of them coming in A-10 play when he 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. 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).Osunniyi's progress is significant, as he only started playing seriously as a sophomore at Mainland Regional High in Pleasantville, N.J., when he grew from 6'1' to 6'8".
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.
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