Surging Bonnies To Face Fordham Saturday In The Bronx On NBCSN

Game Preview: Fordham Rams

Game Date: Saturday, Feb. 23
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Rose Hill Gym

Records:

St. Bonaventure 12-14 (8-5)   |     Fordham 11-15 (2-11)
Bonnies Stats       |       Fordham 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
Winner of three straight and six of its last eight games, St. Bonaventure makes a trip downstate to the Bronx for its second meeting this season with Fordham. The Bonnies topped the Rams 71-64 on Jan. 12 in Rochester at Blue Cross Arena. The game is sold out.

BONA-NOTEWORTHY
• The Bonnies have won their last four road games, topping UMass, Richmond, Duquesne and Saint Joseph's. Their last five-game A-10 road win streak was last season.
• Mark Schmidt is now St. Bonaventure's all-time coaching wins leader with 204. He broke Larry Weise's record of 202, which had stood since 1973, with last Sunday's win over George Mason.
• The Bonnies have held four of their last five opponents under 61 points and 38 percent shooting. St. Bonaventure is allowing 63.6 points per game in A-10 play, third best in the conference.
• An A-10 Rookie of the Year candidate, Kyle Lofton is second among all Atlantic 10 freshmen in scoring (15 ppg) and leads all A-10 players in minutes. He was named A-10 Rookie of the Week after averaging 20 points per game over two wins last week, capped by a career high 32 point outing against George Mason in which he went 7-8 from three-point range. Lofton scored the game-winner on Wednesday against La Salle with 3.1 seconds left, finishing with 18 points. Over the past two games, Lofton is 17-25 from the field including 8-12 from three-point range, averaging 25 points per game.
• Another All-Rookie team candidate, freshman center Osun Osunniyi, leads the A-10 in blocks (2.5 per game) and is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in conference action.
• Multi-talented senior guard/forward Courtney Stockard ranks seventh in the A-10 in scoring, 14th in rebounding and 13th in assists. He has played three different positions (2-3-4) this year.

St. Bonaventure vs. Fordham: The Last Meeting
Jan. 12, 2019 at Blue Cross Arena: Bonnies 72, Rams 61
In a "home" game at Blue Cross Arena, the Bonnies earned a 71-64 decision over Fordham. It was their sixth consecutive win at Blue Cross Arena. The Bonnies led by as many as 21 points early in the second half but Fordham would not let the win come easily. Behind a 17-2 run, the Rams cut the Bonnies' edge down to 56-52 with 3:00 remaining. Kyle Lofton and LaDarien Griffin then made two free throws each wrapped around a defensive stop. Griffin's second shot gave St. Bonaventure a 60-52 lead with 2:02 left. With 30 seconds left, Fordham pulled to within five points on two Jalen Cobb free throws, but Griffin again sank a pair of free throws to keep the Bonnies in control. The Rams made two three-pointers in the last 11 seconds, but St. Bonaventure was 6-6 at the line over the final :30 to counteract that. Osun Osunniyi capped the win with a dunk. The Bonnies were 22-27 at the free throw line for the game, their second-highest total of the season. Osunniyi's double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds was his second in as many games and third of his young career. The 6-10 center also had three blocks and three assists. Courtney Stockard and Griffin both scored 17 points while Kyle Lofton added 12.

Fordham Notes
• Fordham is more competitive than its 2-11 conference record suggests, as the Rams have just a -6 scoring margin in A-10 games. They come off a 72-69 loss at Richmond Wednesday, a game in which they battled back from an 18-point deficit to take a one-point lead late in the contest. The Rams are 0-6 in A-10 games at Rose Hill Gym, with their wins coming at Rhode Island and at UMass.
• Freshman guard Nick Honor is eighth in the A-10 at 16.3 points per game. A team which relies on three-point shooting, Fordham has two very good long-range shooters in Honor (66 threes) and guard Antwon Portley (63). Jalen Cobb averages 10 points per game while Portley is at 12.0. Forwards Jesse Bunting (5.0 rpg) and Chuba Ohams (5.7) are the top rebounders.

Series History
This will be the 42nd meeting between the Atlantic 10 rivals. St. Bonaventure leads the series 24-17 and has won six consecutive games against the Rams overall. The Bonnies have also won their last six trips to Rose Hill Gym, last losing there in 2008. 

Improving Defense
Coach Mark Schmidt often talks about hoping to see his team improve through conference play, and that has been the case this season, most notably on the defensive end. The Bonnies have now held seven of their 13 Atlantic 10 opponents to 60 points or less. A look at some of the Bonnies' defensive ranks in A-10 games:
Category                 Avg./#      A-10 Rank
Scoring defense        63.6 ppg       3rd
Opp. FG Pct.             .413             4th
Rebound Margin        +2.5             4th
Blocked Shots           4.4               3rd
Defensive Reb. %      .745             6th

Lofton Makes Case As A-10 Rookie Of The Year Candidate
Freshman Kyle Lofton continues to build a case for A-10 Rookie of the Year. One of the most consistent, impactful freshmen in the conference, he is now a two-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week. Lofton earned his second such accolades the week ending Feb. 17 after he scored a career high 32 points with seven assists in a win over third place George Mason. Lofton has been the Bonnies' point guard from day one this season, filling the large shoes of Jaylen Adams. Lofton has shown he is up to the task, averaging 15 points per game with a team-leading 97 assists. Remarkably consistent, he has scored in double figures in 22 of 26 games with six games of 20-plus points. He has also been a key to the Bonnies' defense which is allowing 63.6 points per game to Atlantic 10 teams. A look at Lofton's rank in the A-10 stats:
In A-10 games only:
Scoring              16.2               4th overall/1st freshmen
Assists                3.5                15th / 3rd
Assist-to-TO        1.5                12th / 4th
Steals                 1.5                7th / 2nd
Free Throw%     .811                8th / 1st
All Games:
Scoring              15.0                12th / 2nd
Assists               3.7 apg           10th / 3rd
Assist-to-TO       1.7                  8th / 4th
Free Throw%     .819                7th / 1st
Minutes             37.5                1st / 1st

Stockard Shows Versatility And Value
Senior Courtney Stockard underwent a knee procedure which caused him to miss the first six games this season. The Bonnies went 1-5 over those six games. But he has returned and is again showing why he is one of the most versatile, talented players in the A-10. Capable of playing -- and guarding -- at least three positions, Stockard is now seventh in the A-10 in scoring (16.4), 11th in rebounding (6.6) and 15th in assists (3.2). He has 18 games in double figure scoring topped by a career high 36 points against Dayton. Last year, Stockard averaged 13.3 points. Over Stockard's 51 career games in the lineup, the Bonnies are 34-17.

The Future - And The Present
St. Bonaventure is the only Atlantic 10 team with three freshmen in its starting lineup. Osun Osunniyi, Kyle Lofton and Dominick Welch are combining to average 28.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, which is the highest production of any group of freshmen in the A-10. All three players went to a year of prep school before enrolling at St. Bonaventure. 

Road Success
St. Bonaventure did not win a true road game prior to the New Year, but has turned around its fortunes, winning its last four road games (UMass, Richmond, Duquesne and Saint Joseph's). While the Reilly Center provides a tremendous home court advantage, the Bonnies are 3-3 just at the RC in A-10 play compared to 4-2 on the road. However, the three home losses came to teams with a combined Atlantic 10 record of 30-9: Dayton (9-4), Davidson (10-3) and VCU (11-2).

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