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Bonnies Welcome Ohio Tuesday Night To Open Centennial Season

ST. BONAVENTURE vs. OHIO
Tuesday, Nov. 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center
Online Coverage: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
TV: ESPN+ | Radio: WPIG 95.7 FM (Olean area) / WWLZ 820 AM/101.3 FM (Elmira area)
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
The Centennial Season of Bonnies Basketball officially gets underway Tuesday night as the Brown and White welcome Ohio to the Reilly Center for the 13th meeting all-time between Bonnies and Bobcats. The game is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. following the conclusion of the women's opener vs. St. John's. 

TICKETS
Pre-sale tickets start at $16 and are good for both the men's and women's games. All fans can pick up a free Centennial Season poster available at arena entrances. For more details, call the SBU Ticket Office at 716-375-2500 or visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets.

LOFTON NAMED BIG 4 PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
After a freshman season to remember, St. Bonaventure's Kyle Lofton begins his sophomore season with an impressive honor – Big 4 Preseason Player of the Year. 
 
Lofton earned the honor through a voting of Western New York media members selecting players from Big 4 members St. Bonaventure, Buffalo, Canisius and Niagara.
 
The New Jersey native played over 37 minutes per game while starting all 34 contests last year and averaged 14.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He ranked 14th in league scoring during his debut campaign, was eighth in A-10 assists and ninth in steals (1.4 spg) while handing out 127 assists, just 16 away from the program's freshman record.
 
OSUNNIYI, WELCH ALSO NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-BIG 4 TEAMS
The Bonnies had three players on the Big 4 Preseason Team - Osun Osunniyi joined Lofton on the First Team and Dominick Welch landed on the Second Team. The Bonnies tied UB for the most Preseason All-Big 4 selections with three. Canisius and Niagara each had two. Joining Lofton and Osunniyi on the First Team were Jayvon Graves and Davonta Jordan of UB and Malik Johnson of Canisius. 
 
LOFTON, OSUNNIYI TABBED IN PRESEASON WATCH LISTS
Both Kyle Lofton and Osun Osunniyi are receiving a good deal of national attention following their tremendous debuts last year:
  • Lofton was named one NCAA analyst Andy Katz's 11 "Players to Watch" nationally
  • Lofton was also cited by Katz as one of his "nine sophomores ready to make a bigger impact" nationally
  • Osunniyi was No. 21 in Andy Katz's Preseason Top 25 for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, given annually to the nation's top center
  • Osunniyi also was cited as one of CBS reporter Jon Rothstein's five Atlantic 10 "Breakout Players"
  • Osunniyi was picked No. 93 on the national Top 100 list by NBC Sports writer Rob Dauster
DEFENSIVE BONNIES
St. Bonaventure opened the 2018-19 season 4-10 through 14 games, but would finish the year with 18 victories and a spot in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.
 
That turnaround was due in large part to perhaps the best defensive team head coach Mark Schmidt has ever guided with St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies allowed just 63.1 points per game last year, a figure that ranks sixth in program history and ranked 18th in the nation last season. 
 
BONNIES TALLEST A-10 TEAM
The Bonnies boast the tallest roster in the Atlantic 10 this season at an average of 6-foot-6. Second is GW (6'5.88") and third is UMass (6'5.21"). 
 
SBU has two players at 6'10" - senior Amadi Ikpeze and sophomore Osun Osunniyi. Among scholarship players, no player is shorter than 6'3" and three newcomers - Bobby Planutis, Robert Carpenter and Justin Winston are listed at 6'8".

BONA SELECTED FIFTH IN A-10
St. Bonaventure was selected fifth in the preseason Atlantic 10 rankings. Last season's ninth-place preseason ranking is the only time in the past four years that the Bonnies have not been selected fifth or higher. While last season's ninth-place ranking in the preseason polls turned into a fourth-place finish and ultimately a spot in the Atlantic 10 Championship Game, the Bonnies look to continue their trend of surpassing preseason expectations: St. Bonaventure has not finished lower than its preseason poll selection since the 2012-13 campaign.

NEW FACES
The Bonnies return a nucleus of exciting talent – including sophomores Kyle LoftonDominick WelchOsun Osunniyi and Alpha Okoli along with senior Amadi Ikpeze – but those are the only five players back from last year on the active roster. A new but experienced player is redshirt sophomore Bobby Planutis who was with the program all of last year, sitting due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Mount St. Mary's where he started 25 of 32 games as a freshman.

The team's lone junior is a newcomer – transfer Matt Johnson, a guard from Howard (TX) junior college. Sophomore Jaren English joins the backcourt from Ranger (TX) junior college as well. The team also welcomes freshmen Robert CarpenterAlejandro Vasquez and Justin Winston. Another newcomer, junior Jalen Adaway, will sit this season after transferring from Miami (OH) and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning next season.

SHOES TO FILL
While there's much to be excited about with the returning players and newcomers, the Bonnies will need to fill the shoes of what was an outstanding senior class that graduated following last season. Courtney Stockard was an All-Conference performer, averaging over 15 points per game last year. LaDarien Griffin earned the league's Most Improved Player award two seasons ago and started 23 of the 24 games he played a year ago. Both of those players are playing professionally overseas now, becoming the 23rd and 24th Bona players under head coach Mark Schmidt to sign pro deals. Joined by four-year player Nelson Kaputo, the trio was part of 86 wins during their Bona careers.

THE CENTENNIAL SEASON
This year marks one of the most anticipated in program history as the Bonnies open their 100th season of intercollegiate men's basketball. Special celebrations are planned throughout the year. For more information, visit GoBonnies.com/100.

100 YEARS IN 100 DAYS
All summer and fall, the Athletics Department has been counting down to tip-off with the 100 Years in 100 Days series on Facebook. With the countdown hitting zero, look back on all the moments by clicking here.

SERIES HISTORY
This will be the 13th meeting all-time between the Bonnies and Bobcats and first since 2015. St. Bonaventure owns an 8-4 edge all-time in the series and has won six of the seven meetings in the Reilly Center including an 81-68 victory Dec. 5, 2015 in the last meeting between the programs. The first game between the schools came during the 1962-63 season, a 75-60 victory for St. Bonaventure. 
 
One of the most memorable games in Reilly Center history featured the Bobcats – a quadruple overtime thriller Dec. 18, 2010 when the Bonnies outlasted Ohio, 112-107 behind 44 points from Andrew Nicholson.
 
OHIO NOTES
The Bobcats were picked sixth out of the six squads in the MAC East Preseason Poll and are in their first season under new head coach Jeff Boals, a former assistant at Ohio State and head coach at Stony Brook for the past three years. The Bobcats return MAC Freshman of the Year Ben Vander Plas (8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg) along with fellow All-Freshman Jason Preston (6.0 ppg, 106 assists).
 
Ohio defeated Capital, 73-49, in its exhibition game this past Saturday. Sophomore guard Jason Preston led the team with 17 points and six assists while redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis, who missed all of last season, posted 13 points. Freshman guard Lunden McDay made his Bobcat debut with 12 points and three steals.
 

BONNIES ON ESPN+
The Atlantic 10's agreement with ESPN+ to be the official video streaming partner of the conference means all St. Bonaventure games that are not shown on a national or regional TV network will be shown on ESPN+. The broadcasts will be produced in-house under the direction of Rick Karnath, an adjunct professor in the Jandoli School of Communication. Karnath will lead a group of students who will work alongside Athletics Department staff to air both men's and women's games. ESPN+ can be accessed in the Watch tab of the latest version of the ESPN App, available on the web, iPhone, iPad, tvOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast and FireTV for a subscription of $4.99 per month. This season, no fewer than a dozen Bonnies men's games will air on ESPN+.

SEASON TICKETS
Season tickets for the Bonnies remain on sale. To order, call the SBU Ticket Office at 716-375-2500 or click here. Flex packs and single-game tickets are also now available.

UP NEXT
A busy opening week continues Friday night when the Bonnies welcome Vermont to the Reilly Center. Tip off is slated for 7:00 p.m.

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For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get men's basketball updates @BonniesMBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.