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Bonnies Match Best A-10 Start in Program History, Drive Past UMass in Rochester

Osun Osunniyi responds following a second half dunk Wednesday in Rochester. (Photo: Scott Eddy)
Osun Osunniyi responds following a second half dunk Wednesday in Rochester. (Photo: Scott Eddy)

Box Score (PDF)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – In the program's 100th season, St. Bonaventure men's basketball has added another milestone to remember by matching a school record with a 4-0 start to Atlantic 10 play. 

A convincing second half effort pushed the Bonnies to a 74-61 victory over UMass Wednesday night in the Alesco Advisors Roc City Hoops Classic at Blue Cross Arena, the seventh consecutive victory for the program in Rochester.

Kyle Lofton paced the Bonnies scoring attack with 19 points, adding six assists – one of four Bona players finishing with double-figure scoring. Dominick Welch delivered a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds while Jaren English and Bobby Planutis each posted 12 points apiece.

St. Bonaventure (12-5, 4-0) controlled much of the early going, building a 15-point advantage with 2:32 remaining in the first half.

Foul trouble caught up with the Bonnies before the break, though, as both Osun Osunniyi and Amadi Ikpeze were forced to the bench after whistles. That allowed UMass to grab some momentum heading to the locker rooms as the Minutemen finished the half on a 10-2 run to close within 40-33 after 20 minutes.

UMass (7-10, 1-3) got as close as 47-41 at the 16:14 mark of the second half, but the Bonnies then exploded for a 14-2 burst highlighted by thunderous dunks from both Osunniyi and Planutis.

From there, there was little doubt of the Bonnies extending their win streak.

The Bonnies shot 44 percent for the game including a 9-of-19 mark from distance while holding UMass to 37 percent shooting. Bona also won the battle of the boards, 37-30.

For the Minutemen, nearly everything went through Tre Mitchell who had an impressive stat line of 28 points and six boards.

GAME NOTES

  • St. Bonaventure matched the 1999-2000 and 2015-16 teams for the best Atlantic 10 start in school history. Bona joined the conference, then known as the Eastern 8, in 1979-80.
  • Wednesday marked the 27th game for the Bonnies all-time at Blue Cross Arena, formerly known as War Memorial.
  • The Bonnies again used a starting lineup of Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jaren English, Osun Osunniyi and Justin Winston.
  • Freshman Robert Carpenter saw some important minutes during the first half, playing six minutes and sinking a bucket off the bench.
  • St. Bonaventure's sophomore trio of Kyle Lofton, Osun Osunniyi and Dominick Welch moved to 20-3 in games all three have been available for the entire contest dating back to Feb. 12, 2019. 
  • Winston matched his career high with seven rebounds. 
  • Lofton now has six or more assists in 11 games this season. 
  • Osunniyi had three blocks, giving him 42 on the year. He entered the day ranking fifth in the country in blocks per game. 
  • Bona welcomed Glenn Hagan, Mark Jones and Tim Waterman as honorary captains for the night. Hagan, the point guard of the 1977 NIT champions, ranks fourth in program assists and earned an SBU Athletics Hall of Fame spot in 1992. Jones scored over 1,700 career points, leading SBU to the 1983 NIT and was drafted in the NBA before being picked to the SBU Hall of Fame in 1995. Waterman helped the Bonnies to the '77 NIT, 1978 NCAA Tournament and 1979 NIT, ranking seventh in program history with 744 rebounds.

QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT
"I thought UMass was a team that pressed and shot the 3 really well. Mitchell is a load inside, but we had a good job in the press and the 3-point line. We kept the ball out of transition, they had one fast break point. We were able to rebound and take care of the basketball and that's why we won."

"We had contributions from a number of guys. Osun was in foul trouble, Amadi fouled out and Rob came in and gave us a lift. AJ did a really good job in the second half. We did what we needed to do to beat a good UMass team."

"We're so young. Experience is key and the more we play the better they'll get. Our freshmen still make those freshman mistakes, but as they go along in their careers they're going to experience things they've never seen before and they're going to learn from those experiences."

UP NEXT
The Bonnies travel to VCU and a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday afternoon on CBS Sports Network.

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