Bonnies Trek To Middle Tennessee For Saturday Battle

ST. BONAVENTURE (7-4) at MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (4-7)
Saturday, Dec. 21 - 2:00 p.m. CST / 3:00 p.m. EST
Murfreesboro, TN
Online Coverage - Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
TV: None | Radio: 107.1 FM (Olean area)
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team has a long trip south ahead before the Christmas holidays, trekking to Tennessee to play at Middle Tennessee State Saturday afternoon. The Bonnies will attempt to extend a six-game winning streak before the holiday break while Middle Tennessee attempts to bounce back from consecutive setbacks. 

COVERAGE NOTES
Saturday's game webstream will be provided by Conference USA TV which is the same service that streamed the Boca Beach Classic games earlier this month. It is a paid webstream, though any month-long subscriptions purchased by fans through C-USA.tv for the Boca tournament should still apply for this game. Fans can listen to the game as always through the Bonnies Basketball Radio Network - but the game will be carried on a different station in the Olean area due to Buffalo Bills NFL coverage on 95.7 FM. Instead, the game will air with play-by-play man Gary Nease on 107.1 FM beginning at approximately 2:45 p.m. EST. The link to that webstream can be found for free above. 

SERIES HISTORY
The Bonnies and Blue Raiders have played just one time previously - the two teams met at the famed "Pit" at New Mexico and the Bonnies came away with a victory, 83-69, on Dec. 30, 1993.

ABOUT MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE
The Blue Raiders are 4-7 overall on the season and dropped their final two contests before a week-long layoff - they last played Dec. 14 in a loss at Ole Miss, 82-64, and previously had a setback at rival Murray State, 85-52. Middle Tennessee has been much better at home, though, going 3-1 on home court. Junior guard C.J. Jones leads the Blue Raiders in 3-point field goal percentage (.424) and free throw percentage (.952), and his team-leading 10 blocks are 18th nationally and second in C-USA among guards. Among active D-I players, senior guard Antonio Green currently ranks second nationally in career 3-pointers made (304) and 26th nationally in career points (1,557). Guard Tyson Jackson earned C-USA Freshman of the Week honors this past week with 14 points and eight rebounds at Ole Miss. 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 6 – Six St. Bonaventure players scored in double figures during Wednesday's win over Niagara.

  • +8.7 – The Bonnies own a +8.7 rebounding margin during their six-game winning streak.

  • 9 – Kyle Lofton ranks ninth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.26).

  • 33 – Kyle Lofton has 33 assists in the past three games, setting a career-high with 11 assists in each of those games.

  • 34 – Dominick Welch has hit 34 three-pointers on the year, a total that ranks 31st in the nation and second in the A-10.

  • 299 – Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt enters Saturday win 299 career head coaching victories – including 217 at St. Bonaventure, most in program history.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Bona's sophomore Kyle Lofton has handed out exactly 11 assists in each of the past three games, making him the first Bonnies players to register double-digit assists in three straight games since Marques Green achieved the feat in 2003. Green posted 10 assists vs. both Xavier and Fordham before setting the program record (since tied twice by Jaylen Adams) with 14 assists vs. La Salle. That came as a stretch of five out of six games with double-digit assists for Green that year and seven out of nine contests. Lofton is in good company – Green today ranks as Bona's all-time assists leader with 657 and was selected to the program's All-Time Team.

THE DIFFERENCE A HEALTHY ROSTER MAKES
• The Bonnies played without a full roster for the first five games of the season, missing sophomores Osun Osunniyi and Jaren English due to injuries. Their impacts are felt in many ways, but in particular – prior to English's debut Nov. 26 vs. Mercer, the Bonnies went 1-4 and shot 38.6 percent from the floor and 28.2 percent from beyond the arc. Since his debut, the Bonnies are 6-0 and have shot 46.2 percent overall and 42.7 percent from distance. 
• Defensively, Osunniyi changes everything for the Bonnies. He played just 11 minutes during the first five games as the Bonnies allowed 67.8 points per game, allowed opponents to shoot 42.3 percent and were -4.6 in rebounding margin. Since Osunniyi's return, the Bonnies are allowing just 56.8 points per game while opponents are shooting 37.7 percent. On the glass, St. Bonaventure is +8.7 in rebounding margin in those six games.
 
UP NEXT
The Bonnies are off until Dec. 30 when they head to Buffalo for a rivalry game at 7 p.m. in the non-conference finale. 
 
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