Friday Night Rivalry: Bonnies To Host Davidson On ESPN2

Game Preview: Davidson Wildcats

Game Date: Friday, Feb. 1
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Reilly Center

Records:

St. Bonaventure 8-12 (4-3)   |    Davidson 15-5 (6-1)
Bonnies Stats        |         Davidson Stats

TV: ESPN2
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease and Don Scholla
Twitter: @BonniesMBB

St. Bonaventure Men's Basketball Game Day Central

Full Media Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
St. Bonaventure and Davidson meet for the first time this season in a A-10 Friday Night Rivalry matchup on ESPN2. The Bonnies hope to ride the momentum of two road wins last week. All fans are asked to wear white in order to show united support for St. Bonaventure in front of the national TV audience.

BONA-NOTEWORTHY
• St. Bonaventure has three freshmen in its starting lineup, the only Atlantic 10 to have that many freshmen starters. They combine to average 28 points per game.
Kyle Lofton, who has started every game at point guard, was named A-10 Rookie of the Week after averaging 22.5 points per game in road wins over UMass and Richmond last week. He is second among all Atlantic 10 freshmen in scoring (14.3 ppg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (79/44). Since moving into the starting lineup five games ago, freshman center Osun Osunniyi is playing the best basketball of his young career. The A-10 Rookie of the Week for the week ending Jan. 13, Osunniyi leads the A-10 and ranks 21st nationally in blocked shots (2.2 per game).
• The Bonnies' three seniors are still the leaders of their team. Forward Courtney Stockard, who was named to the preseason All-Conference team, is averaging 17 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Forward LaDarien Griffin missed 10 games with a knee sprain, has worked his way back into preseason form and is averaging 12.7 ppg in A-10 play. Guard Nelson Kaputo comes off the bench to add 7.7 points and is second in the A-10 in 3-point percentage.
• The Jan. 19 overtime loss to Dayton snapped a 14-game home conference win streak for the Bonnies. They still hold the best home A-10 record over the past three-plus years at 25-4.

St. Bonaventure vs. Davidson: The Last Meeting
March 10, 2018 at Capital One Arena: Davidson 82, Bonnies 70
St. Bonaventure's push toward an Atlantic 10 Tournament title and its 13-game winning streak both ended as the Bonnies fell to a hot-shooting Davidson team, 82-70. The Bonnies' run in Washington, D.C., came to a frustrating conclusion as Davidson made 16 three-pointers, tied for the most St. Bonaventure allowed all season. The Wildcats finished 16-29 (55 percent) from behind the arc, while the Bonnies went 7-24 (29 percent). That kind of shooting enabled the third-seeded Wildcats to lead for over 33 minutes in front of a partisan crowd made up of mostly of St. Bonaventure fans. Despite the home court feel, the Bonnies could never take the lead in the second half. Twice they pulled within one point, the last time with 6:59 left. All-American candidate Jaylen Adams led St. Bonaventure with 20 points and eight assists. Senior guard Matt Mobley added 18 points. Amadi Ikpeze scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Idris Taqqee finished with 11 points and nine boards. St. Bonaventure was without junior swingman Courtney Stockard, who strained his hamstring in the prior day's win over Richmond. He had averaged 22 points per game over the prior four contests.

Davidson Notes
After a 54-53 win at Saint Louis last Saturday, the Wildcats are off to their best-ever start in A-10 play at 6-1. They enter tonight's game in second place in the A-10, one-half game behind George Mason. Davidson's lone A-10 loss came at Saint Joseph's by one point. The top three-point shooting team in the A-10, Davidson is also more than credible on the defensive end, limiting opponents to 65 points per game.  Sophomore Kellan Grady and Jon-Axel Gudmundsson form one of the top backcourts in the A-10.

Series History
This will be the 12th meeting between the teams all-time and the eighth since Davidson joined the Atlantic 10. The Wildcats hold a 6-5 series lead and won the last four of the last five meetings. Last year, the teams met three times with Davison winning twice. The Bonnies' win was perhaps the most memorable game of their entire season, a triple overtime, 117-113 thriller at the Reilly Center. 

Schmidt Gets Win #200; Now Three Wins From Mark
Last Saturday's win at Richmond was the 200th in the Bona career of head coach Mark Schmidt. He is now just three wins away from becoming St. Bonaventure's all-time winningest coach, as he trails only Larry Weise (202).

Welcome Back, ESPN!
This is St. Bonaventure's second ESPN2 broadcast from the Reilly Center in as many seasons. Last year on Feb. 16, the Bonnies knocked off Rhode Island 77-74 in front of a sellout crowd. Rhode Island was ranked 14th in the AP poll that week, but the Bonnies won their eighth in a row.  

Poyser Questionable
Jalen Poyser missed the last four games due to a concussion and is questionable for the Davidson game. Poyser's last game action was Jan. 12 vs. Fordham. 

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 Jalen Poyser injured, the lineup remains in flux. A young team with just five scholarship players back from last season, Bonnies players have missed 41 games due to injuries: LaDarien Griffin (10 games), Melkisedek Moreaux (10), Dominick Welch (9), Courtney Stockard (6), Poyser (4) and Nelson Kaputo (2). 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, Kaputo suffered a concussion in the Rhode Island game, 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 since Atlantic 10 play started, he has averaged 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds while converting 49 percent of his shots from the field. That stretch elevated his season averages up to 11.0 points and 5.6 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 a knee procedure which caused him to miss the first six games this season. The Bonnies went 1-5 over those six games. 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 13 of his 14 games, averaging 17 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists. 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 45 games in the lineup, the Bonnies are 31-14. 

Freshman Lofton Impresses; Earns A-10 Rookie of the Week
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 14.3 points per game with a team-leading 79 assists. He is second among Atlantic 10 freshmen in both scoring and is third in assists as well as assist-to-turnover ratio. Overall among all players, the Hillside, N.J., native ranks 15th in the A-10 in scoring, eighth in assists, sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio and sixth in free throw percentage. He also has been an ironman, leading the A-10 in minutes played at 38 per game. Lofton has scored in double figures in 19 of 20 games with a season high of 24 at UMass Jan. 23. After he averaged 22.5 points per game the week of Jan. 27, Lofton was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week. He scored 21 points in the win at Richmond. In A-10 games, Lofton is averaging 15.1 points per game and connecting on 46 percent of his shots from the field. 

Double-O Catches On
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 7.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game with four double-doubles. He is making 60 percent of his shots. Even while averaging just 24 minutes per game, he leads the A-10 and ranks 23rd nationally in blocks at 2.2 per game (44 total). The school's freshman record for blocks in a season is 81 by Andrew Nicholson in 2008-09. Three of Osunniyi's double-doubles have been in A-10 play, including 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. He was a key to the road win at UMass Jan. 23, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. 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 (Ohio) Academy.

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