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Vermont Visits RC For Friday Night Showdown

Vermont Visits RC For Friday Night Showdown

ST. BONAVENTURE vs. VERMONT
Friday, Nov. 8 - 7:00 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
St. Bonaventure welcomes Vermont Friday night at the Reilly Center in the continuation of what has been an entertaining rivalry in recent seasons. The two teams went to double overtime before Vermont prevailed at home last year and the Bonnies triumphed on a game-winning three-pointer in Rochester two seasons ago.

TICKETS
Regular single game tickets for Friday's game start at $16. $10 value section seats are also available as well as $7 youth tickets for fans 12 and under. Those can be purchased in person at the Ticket Office beginning two hours prior to tip-off. Fans can pick up a free season schedule poster at the arena entrances as well. For more details, call the SBU Ticket Office at 716-375-2500 or visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets.

BONNIES LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK
St. Bonaventure dropped its season-opener to Ohio on Tuesday night, but a disappointing start to the season has not held the Bonnies back the past two years.
 
The Bonnies started each of the past two seasons at 0-1 - last year, the Brown and White dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to Bucknell at home, but would ultimately win 18 games and reach the Atlantic 10 Championship Game.
 
Two seasons ago, St. Bonaventure entered the season with much fanfare but struggled in an opening night setback vs. Niagara at home. In the end, it did not matter as the 
Bonnies went on to score a program-record 26 wins and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
 
SERIES HISTORY
Friday marks just the fourth meeting between the Bonnies and Catamounts, all coming since the 2015-16 campaign. The teams have met at the Reilly Center only one time previously - an 80-68 victory for St. Bonaventure on Dec. 8, 2015 in what was the first-ever meeting between the programs. 
 
The past two years have brought memorable battles between St. Bonaventure and Vermont. Two seasons ago, the teams battled to the wire at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester and it seemed as though Vermont would capture victory following a Payton Henson tip-in with five seconds to play. The Bonnies quickly in-bounded and Jaylen Adams found Matt Mobley on the wing for a trey with just one second on the clock. The win gave the Bonnies one of their more memorable moments in recent seasons as Mobley's only three points of the game proved to be the difference. A year ago, the teams went to double overtime in Burlington where the Catamounts would prevail, 83-76, despite 23 points from Kyle Lofton and 27 from Courtney Stockard.
 
VERMONT NOTES
Vermont enters the year as the defending America East champion and the favorite to repeat behind reigning conference Player of the Year Anthony Lamb. The Rochester native led the America East last year in scoring (21.2 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg) and field goals (242). He's been named to the Julius Erving Award Watch List  - awarded to the top small forward in the nation - as well as the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award preseason watch lists. 
 
The Catamounts have been an America East power under head coach John Becker. This season marks the fourth straight year and sixth time overall the club has been named the league favorites during his tenure. 
 
THE LAST MEETING - Dec. 18, 2018 - Vermont 83, St. Bonaventure 76 (Burlington, VT)
The game featured seven ties and 11 lead changes, but a four-point lead in the second overtime disappeared as the Bonnies fell in a heartbreaker.
 
The Bonnies had the ball and a two-point lead with seven seconds left in regulation, but an inbounds pass was tipped and stolen by Vermont's Ben Shungu who was then fouled. Although Shungu missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, the rebound caromed to teammate Robin Duncan, who laid it in with two seconds left to force overtime. Anthony Lamb scored 42 points, going 15-for-28 from the field.
 
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.

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.

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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.