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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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