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Bonnies Return Home To Host Mercer Tuesday Night

ST. BONAVENTURE vs. MERCER
Tuesday, Nov. 26 - 7:00 p.m.
Reilly Center
Online Coverage: Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video
TV: ESPN+ | Radio: 95.7 FM / affiliates
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team returns home to the Reilly Center for the first time in over two weeks, hosting Mercer on Tuesday night. The Bonnies will look to break out of the offensive woes that plagued them last Saturday vs. Canisius - and there's a good opportunity for Tuesday to be a high-scoring affair as the Bears both average 80 points per game on the offensive end while also surrendering 80 points per contest to opponents.

TICKET PROMOTIONS
Fans can pick up a free 2019-20 Bonnies men's basketball schedule magnet at arena entrances while supplies last.

Wolfpack student section tickets are also available for just $14. Visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets or call 716-375-2500. 

BOCA BEACH CLASSIC
While Western New York in late November may not seem much like Florida, Tuesday's game is actually part of the Boca Beach Classic presented by Sport Changes Life. The inaugural event, hosted through the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, gets underway this week with games at campus sites, then continues next week at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Eight teams will compete in two four-team brackets – St. Bonaventure is in the Hall of Fame Bracket along with host FAU, Illinois-Chicago and San Diego. The Naismith Bracket includes Mercer, Holy Cross, Hofstra and Canisius.

Tuesday's game will not affect the bracket portion of the tournament which gets underway Sunday, Dec. 1 when the Bonnies face San Diego in the opening round of the Hall of Fame Bracket games. The winner of that game will face FAU/Illinois-Chicago at 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2 in the Hall of Fame Championship Game. In the Naismith Bracket, Mercer faces Canisius in the opening round at noon on Dec. 1 for the right to play the winner of Hofstra/Holy Cross.

The Boca Beach Classic will be the second special event the Bonnies take part in this season hosted by the Basketball Hall of Fame. St. Bonaventure defeated Rutgers on Nov. 16 in Toronto as part of the James Naismith Classic.

ON A POSITIVE NOTE
St. Bonaventure suffered a disappointing 61-57 setback vs. Canisius on Saturday, but there were a couple positive stats on the box score: The Bonnies posted 24 points in the paint, a season high, and broke the trend of not working to the line by going 18-of-24 at the stripe, both season highs. Bona's 10 steals on the defensive end also represent a season-high.

THE SHORT LIST
Justin Winston has started his career in a fashion that places him in elite territory. Through five games, Winston is averaging 10.6 ppg while shooting 45.9 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc. 
 
During Mark Schmidt's 13 years as head coach, only three other freshman players have averaged at least 10.5 ppg while shooting better than 45 percent from the floor in their first five games of a career - Kyle Lofton ('18; 14.4 ppg, 46% FG), Jaylen Adams ('14; 11.2 ppg, 48% FG) and Andrew Nicholson ('08; 11.4 ppg; 55% FG).
 

RARE COMPANY
When Alejandro Vasquez earned a spot in the starting lineup for Bona's season-opener vs. Ohio on Nov. 5, he joined some rare company in recent Bonnies history. With that start, Vasquez became just the third true freshman to start his first game during the Mark Schmidt Era. He joined Kyle Lofton and Jaylen Adams as the only other two Bona frosh to start out of the gate under Schmidt. Lofton went on to be named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team last year while Adams, of course, would end up being a three-time All-A-10 selection before playing in the NBA last season and earning a spot on the Bonnies' All-Time Team.

IRONMAN LOFTON
Sophomore Kyle Lofton played all 40 minutes vs. Vermont and again vs. Canisius. That's nothing new - he has played 36 or more minutes in 30 of 39 games played and entered the year with the most minutes played last season of any returning A-10 player. His 39.1 minutes per game early this year ranks third in the nation. Lofton also became the first freshman to start every game during the Mark Schmidt era. 
 
MERCER NOTES
  • The Bears have been strong offensively, averaging better than 80 points per game this season. Their contests have regularly been shootouts, though, as the Bears also allow 80 points per game. That number is slightly skewed by a season-opening game in which St. John's defeated Mercer, 109-79. Mercer has held opponents under 70 three times, all wins - vs. Kennesaw State (74-62), FGCU (84-68) and most recently Saturday at Illinois-Chicago (72-68).
  • Mercer ranks 33rd in the nation by shooting 39.7 percent from beyond the arc.
  • Mercer was chosen to finish eighth in the Southern Conference according to the 2019-20 preseason polling of the league's 10 head coaches and media.
  • Mercer senior guard Ross Cummings was selected to the preseason All-SoCon Team. Cummings started all 31 games a year ago and averaged 17.4 points per game. He hit 101 three-pointers last year, which was the second-most made in a single season in school history. Over his first three years of his career, Cummings has made 162 three-pointers, ranking him fourth all-time at Mercer.
  • The Bears will be under the direction of first-year head coach Greg Gary. A veteran assistant coach with 26 years at the NCAA Division I level, Gary has spent the last eight seasons working under Matt Painter at Purdue University.
St. Bonaventure vs. Mercer - THE LAST MEETING
Jan. 2, 1992 - St. Bonaventure 73, Mercer 63
St. Bonaventure made the trip to Macon, Ga. as the calendar turned to 1992 and came away from Mercer with a 10-point victory, 73-63. Harry Moore led the Bonnies with 23 points while Jeff Quackenbush pulled down eight rebounds. Also a freshman on that team was future NBA assistant coach and now SBU All-Time Team member David Vanterpool who made a season-high seven field goals. 
 
SERIES HISTORY
Tuesday will be just the second meeting between St. Bonaventure and Mercer all-time. The Bonnies made the trip to Macon, Ga. to play at Mercer on Jan. 2, 1992 and came away with a 73-63 victory. The Bonnies made the trip to the Peach State for a pair of games that year, bouncing back vs. Mercer after dropping a game at Georgia Tech two days earlier. 
 
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