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St. Bonaventure Closes Non-Conference Slate at Buffalo Monday Night

St. Bonaventure Closes Non-Conference Slate at Buffalo Monday Night

ST. BONAVENTURE (8-4) at BUFFALO (8-4)
Monday, Dec. 30 - 7:00 p.m.
Buffalo, N.Y.
Online Coverage - Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
TV: ESPN+ | Radio: Bonnies Basketball Radio Network (95.7 FM in Olean area)
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

OPENING TIP
A pair of teams playing well look to finish non-conference play on a high note in a rivalry game as St. Bonaventure makes the short trip to Buffalo in a meeting of 8-4 teams. The Bonnies enter the game on a seven-game winning streak while the Bulls have won three of their last four.

BY THE NUMBERS

1 – Kyle Lofton leads all Atlantic 10 players in assists per game, free throw percentage and minutes.
5 - Only five teams nationwide have a longer active winning streak than St. Bonaventure - Liberty (14), San Diego State (12), Auburn (11), Memphis (8) and Baylor (8).
7 – St. Bonaventure's seven-game win streak is its longest since a 13-game win streak in 2018, clinching a bid to the NCAA Tournament. It also matches the program's longest non-conference winning streak since joining the Atlantic 10 in 1979-80 - that seven-game stretch also came during the '17-18 season. 
36 – Dominick Welch's 36 3-pointers this year rank second among all A-10 players.
38 – Opponents are shooting just 38 percent against the Bonnies during their seven-game win streak.
48 – Despite playing just 11 minutes in the first five games of the year, Osun Osunniyi ranks 48th nationally in blocks with 23.
59 – Alejandro Vasquez is shooting 59 percent from the floor during SBU's win streak (20-34).

EVENLY MATCHED
The Bonnies and Bulls have matching 8-4 records entering Monday's game and, as of Dec. 26, were No. 125 and 126 respectively in the KenPom rankings.

SERIES HISTORY
Monday marks the 14th meeting all-time between the Bonnies and Bulls and the 10th consecutive year the two Western New York programs have gotten together. Through the years, Bona has dominated the series by winning 10 of the previous 13 games against Buffalo including four of the past five despite Buffalo's victory last season at the Reilly Center. 
 
ABOUT BUFFALO
Buffalo is seeking a sweep of Big 4 rivals after defeating Canisius (82-73) and Niagara (92-72) in its past two games prior to the Christmas break. The Bulls have shown offensive prowess, averaging 80 points per game, and part of that is because of their strength on the offensive glass - UB averages 15 offensive rebounds per game which ranks third nationally. Sophomore transfer Josh Mballa powers that stat - he is seventh in the country with 4.2 offensive rebounds per game. The entire starting five averages double-figure scoring under first-year head coach Jim Whitesell who was on the staff previously before earning his promotion when former head coach Nate Oats left for Alabama. Whitesell has previous experience in the A-10 as an assistant at Saint Louis (2011-13) and was a head coach at Loyola (lll.), Lewis College and Elmhurst College. 
 

WIN 300 FOR COACH SCHMIDT
St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt earned another career milestone when the Bonnies held on for a dramatic, 66-65 victory at Middle Tennessee on Dec. 21. The win was his 300th as a head coach. St. Bonaventure's all-time leader in coaching victories, he registered 82 wins as head coach in six seasons at Robert Morris from 2001-07 before taking the Bonaventure job in 2007. Since taking the reins in the Enchanted Mountains, Coach Schmidt has compiled a .559 win percentage during the past 13 seasons.  In reaching Win No. 300, Schmidt joins fellow Atlantic 10 coaches Bob McKillop, Keith Dambrot, Dave Paulsen, Chris Mooney and Travis Ford as 300-game winners. Among those coaches, however, only Mooney has more victories while coaching in the Atlantic 10.

YOUTH IS SERVED
St. Bonaventure has received over 89 percent of its season scoring from underclassmen and its top seven scorers are all either freshmen or sophomores (counting redshirt sophomore Bobby Planutis). That puts Bona's youngsters in some rarified air – St. Bonaventure ranks second among all Division I teams in terms of percent of scoring from its underclassmen:

  1. USC Upstate – 95 percent
  2. St. Bonaventure – 89 percent
  3. Belmont – 82 percent
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. St. Bonaventure is 7-0 since their return. 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 7-0 and have shot 45.6 percent overall and 41.0 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 58.0 points per game while opponents are shooting 38
percent. On the glass, St. Bonaventure is +7.3 in rebounding margin in those seven games.
 
HISTORY FOR THE HOLIDAYS
St. Bonaventure has a chance to complete a perfect month of December with a win at Buffalo, entering Monday with a seven-game win streak. The last time the Bonnies had a seven-game non-conference winning streak came two years ago – a seven-game streak between Nov. 29-Dec. 22 to complete the non-conference schedule. The Bonnies would also have a 13-game winning streak later that year in A-10 play, but prior to NCAA Tournament year of '17-18, the Bonnies' last seven-game winning streak was during the 1982-83 season. A win Monday would make some program history: Since joining the Atlantic 10 in 1979-80, the Bonnies have never had a non-conference winning streak longer than seven games. 
 
UP NEXT
The Bonnies open up Atlantic 10 play with a pair of games in the nation's capital region - playing at George Washington Sunday, Jan. 5 before a date at George Mason Wednesday, Jan. 8.
 
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