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Bonnies Triumphant in Front of Program Greats; Defeat Hofstra, 73-45

Members of this year's Bonnies team pose with the 1970 St. Bonaventure Final Four team. (Photo: Craig Melvin)
Members of this year's Bonnies team pose with the 1970 St. Bonaventure Final Four team. (Photo: Craig Melvin)
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Box Score (PDF) 

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – With many of the greatest players in program history in attendance Saturday afternoon, the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team put on a performance to make the legends proud with a 73-45 victory over Hofstra.

Playing in front of a sold out Reilly Center crowd, it was Hofstra – a 6-3 team entering the day with a win at UCLA two weeks ago, that started strong. The Pride grabbed an 11-4 advantage in the early minutes of the game.

The Bonnies (5-4) quickly turned the tide, however.

A thunderous dunk from Osun Osunniyi launched a 26-4 explosion from the Bonnies that gave The RC faithful the excuse they were looking for to erupt in booming applause.

From there, the Bonnies' lead never dropped below single digits.

Jaren English and Dominick Welch both finished with 17 points apiece – English went 6-for-8 from the floor and Welch drained five of the team's 12 shots from long range. Osunniyi was dominant inside, hauling in 16 rebounds. Bobby Planutis chipped in with 11 points and eight boards while Kyle Lofton provided seven points and a career-high 11 assists.

Bona was +10 on the boards with 13 of its 45 rebounds coming on the offensive glass.

For Hofstra (6-4), Desure Buie led the way with 17 points.

The Bonnies return to action next Saturday following a break for finals, hosting Gannon at 4 p.m.

GAME NOTES

  • Starting lineup: Amadi Ikpeze, Justin Winston, Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jaren English
    • 30th start for Ikpeze in his career
    • Third straight start for English
    • Sixth straight start for Winston
  • The Bonnies outrebounded Hofstra 45-35
  • After trailing 11-4 early, the Bonnies rode 26-4 run starting at 14:53 mark to take a 30-15 lead at the 6:59.
  • The Bonnies shot 64 percent (16-25) from the field and 58 percent (7-12) from three during the first half is the best so far this season.
  • The team handed out 19 assists on 27 made baskets.
  • Osun Osunniyi grabbed 16 boards, tying his second-most career rebounds. His career-high of 22 rebounds came last year at Duquesne.
  • Osunniyi was +34 and English +32.
  • Hofstra scoring leader Eli Pemberton finished with nine points off 3-for-11 shooting after entering the game averaging 16.9 points per contest.
  • Saturday's game had the 1969-70 Final Four team in attendance and nine of the 20 former players selected for the program's All-Time Team: J.R. Bremer, Matt Gantt, Marques Green, Glenn Hagan, Mark Jones, Bill Kalbaugh, Bob Lanier, Greg Sanders, and Tim Winn.
  • Saturday's game came four days before the 100th anniversary of the program's inaugural game as an intercollegiate program --- Dec. 11, 1919.
  • Both St. Bonaventure and Hofstra were the champions of their respective brackets in the Boca Beach Classic earlier this week. 
  • Hofstra entered the day ranking 25th in the nation in scoring by averaging 82 points per game.

QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT

"It couldn't have been better, with the Final Four team here, the NIT Championship team here, and a lot of the top 20 team players. For our guys to go out and play the way they did, I'm really proud of their effort. Osun was banged up, we didn't know if he was going to be able to play and he goes out and gets eight and 16. Jaren did a tremendous job. We couldn't have played better defensively. That team is a really good team. They get the ball to the paint. They can really shoot. For us to hold them to 27 percent, 15 percent from three, they don't make a three in the second half and we outrebound them by ten, that's a credit to our guys and how they played. We had a tremendous crowd, couldn't have been better, and it was a great day to be a Bonnie."

"We're really young. And some of these guys, like Jaren, have played like five Division I games. It's still a work in progress. I always say we're an old, young team in terms of our veteran guys, the old guys, and they've played probably less than 40 games in their career. We have a lot of inexperience. I don't think we're nearly where we need to be, both individually and as a team. I'm not sure any team is right now, but we're learning. The more you get put in situations, the more experience you get, the better you're going to be. I think our guys are getting there, they understand the sense of urgency, and they understand the importance of each possession. We're not there yet, we don't play every possession like we need to, but we're better than we were at the beginning of the year."

"I think if we can stick together and stay away from injuries, I think we have a bright future. But the guys have long way to go and they're getting it. I don't want to be there right now, we want to be playing our best as we go forward. But the kids are learning, and you can see that they're getting positioning, they're understanding what we're trying to teach them. And they don't do it all the time, but today was a big step forward playing against a team of that caliber. That team beat UCLA."

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