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Bonnies To Start March With Trip To George Washington

Game Preview: George Washington Colonials

Game Date:
Saturday, March 2
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Smith Center

Records:
St. Bonaventure 14-14 (10-5)   |     George Washington 8-20 (4-11)
Bonnies Stats       |       Colonials Stats

Video: ESPN+
Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM with Gary Nease
Twitter: @BonniesMBB

Full Media Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
St. Bonaventure visits our nation's capital for the only meeting of the season with George Washington. The Bonnies have won five games in a row, largely on the strength of a defense that has limited opponents to 53 points per game over that span, not allowing more than 60 in a game.

BONA-NOTEWORTHY
• With three games remaining, St. Bonaventure is tied with George Mason for fourth place in the Atlantic 10. The top four teams receive a double bye in the A-10 Tournament.
• The Bonnies have held six of their last seven opponents under 61 points and 38 percent shooting. St. Bonaventure is allowing 61.8 points per game in A-10 play, second best in the conference.
• The Bonnies now have double-digit Atlantic 10 wins five seasons in a row, a program record.
• An A-10 Rookie of the Year candidate, Kyle Lofton is second among all Atlantic 10 freshmen in scoring (14.6 ppg) and leads all A-10 players in minutes. A two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, he is also among the A-10 leaders in assists (3.8 per game) and steals (1.5).
• Another All-Rookie team candidate, freshman center Osun Osunniyi, is No. 1 in the country among freshmen in blocks (2.6 per game) and is fourth in the A-10 in rebounding (7.1).
• Multi-talented senior guard/forward Courtney Stockard ranks eighth in the A-10 in scoring, 16th in rebounding and 13th in assists. He has played three different positions (2-3-4) this year.
LaDarien Griffin continues to spark his team on both ends of the court. Over the past two games, he was 12-17 from the field and averaged 12.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

St. Bonaventure vs. GW: The Last Meeting
Jan. 28, 2018 at the Reilly Center: Bonnies 80, Colonials 52
Matt Mobley scored 24 points and Jaylen Adams added 13 points and eight assists to lead St. Bonaventure. Mobley and Adams may have garnered most of the attention Sunday, but St. Bonaventure collectively frustrated the Colonials on the defensive end. GW managed only 18 field goals and was 4-16 (25 percent) from three-point range. George Washington's 32 percent shooting overall was the Bonnies' second-best defensive field goal effort of the season. Still, the game was far from decided after a first half in which both teams struggled to score. The Bonnies led 26-21 at halftime, as GW's 21 points were tied for the fewest allowed by St. Bonaventure in a first half all season.  But the Bonnies took control quickly at the start of the second half. Led by Idris Taqqee and Mobley, St. Bonaventure started the half with a 12-2 run that pushed the lead to 38-23 in less than four minutes. Taqqee scored six points in the surge and Mobley capped it at the 16:37 mark.  GW trimmed its deficit to nine points at 41-32, but the Bonnies again surged with a run of 13-2 to go ahead 54-34 with 8:00 remaining. Back-to-back three-pointers by Mobley sparked that run. The Bonnies' lead did not dip below 15 points the rest of the game. Mobley scored 16 of his points in the second, knocking down four of his five three-pointers.

GW Notes
• The Colonials lost 80-53 at Rhode Island on Tuesday, dropping to 4-11 in the A-10. GW has dropped six of its last seven games and enters this weekend in 12th place in the conference.
• GW is last in the A-10 in scoring, averaging 64 points per game. The Colonials are 13th in rebounding margin.
• Forward D.J. Williams, a 6-7 junior, leads the Colonials in scoring at 14.8 points per game. He also averages 4.8 rebounds. Guards Terry Nolan Jr. (11.0) and Maceo Jack (10.9) also average in double figure scoring. Jack, who is a Buffalo native, leads GW with 55 three-pointers.
• GW lost power forward Arnoldo Toro to a season-ending hip injury after just seven games.
• Six of GW's eight wins have come at the Smith Center.

Series History
This will be the 62nd meeting in a series that George Washington leads 35-26. The Bonnies won two out of the past three meetings in the series, but have lost in their last three visits to the Smith Center. 

What A Five-Game Stretch Of "D"
St. Bonaventure has taken its defense to a different level during its five-game winning streak.  A look at the Bonnies' defensive numbers over the past five games:

Points Allowed Per Game                                    53.4
Opponent Field Goal Percentage                          .341
Opponent 3-Point Percentage                              .320
Average Margin of Victory                                 +18.4
Rebounding Margin                                           +5.6
Steals                                                      7.2 per game
Blocked Shots                                           5.0 per game

What A Turnaround
St. Bonaventure has completely turned around its season. Once 4-10 after opening A-10 action with a loss at George Mason on Jan. 6, the Bonnies have gone 10-4 since to even their overall record at 14-14. 

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 five road games (UMass, Richmond, Duquesne, Saint Joseph's and Fordham). The Bonnies are 4-3 at the Reilly Center in A-10 play compared to 5-2 on the road. However, the three home losses came to teams with a combined Atlantic 10 record of 35-10: Dayton (11-4), Davidson (11-4) and VCU (13-2). 

Defense Near Top Of A-10
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 nine of their 15 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               61.8 ppg          2nd
Opp. FG Pct.                    .402                 4th
Rebound Margin              +3.0                 4th
Blocked Shots                  4.5                   3rd
Defensive Reb. %             .744                 6th
Turnover Margin               +1.1                 4th 

Stockard Shows Versatility And Value
A sure-fire All-Conference candidate, senior Courtney Stockard is proving that he is one of the most versatile, talented players in the A-10. Capable of playing -- and guarding -- at least three positions, Stockard is seventh in the A-10 in scoring (16.4), 17th in rebounding (6.2) and 12th in assists (3.5). He has 20 games in double figure scoring topped by a career high 36 points against Dayton. Last year, Stockard averaged 13.3 points. Over Stockard's 53 career games in the lineup, the Bonnies are 36-17. Stockard underwent a knee procedure last summer that forced him to miss the first six games this season. The Bonnies went 1-5 over those six games.

Griffin Playing Like A Senior
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 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds while converting 54 percent of his shots from the field. That stretch elevated his season averages up to 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Griffin averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game as a junior. His length and athleticism also enables Griffin to be a versatile defender, as his 16 blocks and 21 steals attest. Over the past two games, he went 12-17 from the field and averaged 12.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Five Consecutive Seasons With 10+ Conference Wins Is Longest Streak In A-10
St. Bonaventure is in its 40th season as a member of the Atlantic 10. Prior to the 2014-15 season, the program had achieved double-figure conference wins only four times. With the Feb. 27 win over Duquesne, the Bonnies have now won 10 or more Atlantic 10 games five seasons in a row. No other Atlantic 10 team has an active streak that can match the Bonnies'.
 

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