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A-10 Tournament Seeding On The Line in Championship Game Rematch

A-10 Tournament Seeding On The Line in Championship Game Rematch

ST. BONAVENTURE (19-11, 11-6 A-10) at SAINT LOUIS (22-8, 11-6 A-10)
Saturday, March 7 - 7:00 p.m. CST / 8:00 p.m. EST
St. Louis, Mo. 
Online Coverage: Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
TV: Stadium | Radio: Bonnies Basketball Radio Network
Complete Game Notes (PDF)

Bonnies Atlantic 10 Tournament Central

  • Saturday night's regular season finale would have had enough intrigue for being the first re-match of last year's Atlantic 10 Championship Game, but a double-bye in next week's conference tournament is on the line for the winner.
  • Osun Osunniyi is shooting an A-10 best 65.2 percent from the floor during A-10 play with Dayton's Obi Toppin second (63.7%).  Osunniyi is the ONLY A-10 player to rank in the top five of the conference in rebounds per game (fifth), blocks per game (third) and field goal percentage (second).
  • Dominick Welch is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game during A-10 action, ranking eighth among all league players. Osunniyi is fifth (8.5 rpg).
  • Kyle Lofton enters the weekend with 183 assists on the year, ranking third in Bona program history. With five assists in Wednesday's win over Saint Joseph's, Lofton passed Marques Green's 2001-02 season and Glenn Hagan's 1977-78 campaign (179 assists each) for third in the program record books. Green set the Bona record in 2002-03 with 216 assists while Jaylen Adams had 195 in 2016-17 to rank second.
  • Along with a double-bye in the A-10 Tournament, the Bonnies are also seeking their 20th win. SBU has 16 20-win seasons in program history including three of the past four.
TRENDING NUMBERS 
2 – Saturday is a matchup between the two top rebounding teams in the A-10 - SLU is +6.4 on the boards while Bona is +3.7, however the Bonnies are +7.4 in 21 games where Osun Osunniyi plays 18 or more minutes.
4 – Four SBU players average double-figure scoring in A-10 play - Lofton (14.4 ppg), English (13.1), Osunniyi (11.9) and Welch (11.2). A fifth, Justin Winston averages 9.8 ppg in the A-10.
10 – Jaren English had his first D-I double-double with 12 points and a career-best 10 rebounds Wednesday vs. Saint Joseph's, surpassing his previous best of nine boards set just one game earlier.
10 – In 10 games since returning from injury, Osun Osunniyi has scored in double figures every game.
10.6 – The Bonnies have posted the lowest amount of turnovers per game during A-10 play of any league team (10.6).
18 – Osun Osunniyi ranks 18th nationally in blocks per game at 2.6.
37 – Dominick Welch has 37 offensive rebounds during A-10 play, most of any Bona player this year in conference action.
38 – Kyle Lofton is averaging 38 minutes per game in Atlantic 10 play (14.4 ppg, 47.1% FG, 42.4% 3-point FG in conference action).
89 – Bona scored a season-high 89 points in Wednesday's win over Saint Joseph's.
356 – Saturday's game marks 356 days since the Bonnies and Billikens last met in last year's A-10 Championship Game.
900 – Kyle Lofton surprassed 900 career points last Saturday, entering this week with 904 points with the Bonnies.
 
PREVIOUS MEETING
Saint Louis 55, St. Bonaventure 53 (3/17/19)
The Bonnies were down eight points, 55-46, with 3:45 remaining but rallied to pull within two. Courtney Stockard's three-pointer with 56 seconds left pulled the Bonnies back to the 55-53 score. Saint Louis guard Fred Thatch missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw and the Bonnies called timeout with 45 seconds left. None of St. Bonaventure's three shots over the final stanza would fall, however, as Dominick Welch's three-pointer, Kyle Lofton's layup and then a three-pointer by Nelson Kaputo all missed the mark. 
 
Thanks mainly to the scoring of Stockard and LaDarien Griffin, the Bonnies controlled the first half, opening a 15-point lead at 34-19 on Griffin's jumper with 3:34 left until halftime. Saint Louis, which went 9-32 from the field in the first 20 minutes, was still able to trim the lead to 34-25 by halftime.
 
SERIES HISTORY
This will be the 25th meeting in a series that the Bonnies lead 13-11. The Bonnies had won nine in a row prior to last year's A-10 Championship Game.
 
ON THE ROAD TO BROOKLYN 
If there's one thing A-10 fans watch all year it is who will get a "double-bye" in the conference tournament with a top-four seed. The Bonnies control their own destiny to clinch a double-bye by winning Saturday. A victory over Saint Louis would propel the Bonnies ahead of the Billikens in the league standings with both teams tied at 11-6 entering the finale. Regardless of Duquesne's outcome with Richmond, Bona would have the tiebreaker over the Dukes - in a scenario where both teams finished 12-6, the head-to-head tiebreaker would solve nothing as the teams went 1-1 against each other. The next tiebreaker is winning percentage vs. highest common opponent - that being Dayton. Duquesne went 0-2 against the Flyers while Bona was 0-1. 
 
ROAD WINNING
The Bonnies have 10 wins away from home court this season - seven in true road games and three on neutral courts. Since 2010, Bona has won more games away from home just once - two seasons ago when they won 13 times away from the Reilly Center (9-4 in road games, 4-3 in neutral court games).
 
LOFTON'S LOFTY NUMBERS
  • Sophomore Kyle Lofton is quickly becoming one of the nation's top point guards. Lofton leads the A-10 in assists per game (6.1 apg - no other player is over 6.0), total assists (183) and minutes per game (38.4 mpg). Nationally, he ranks 18th in total assists, 20th in apg and 30th in assist/turnover ratio while he leads all D-I players in minutes.
  • During A-10 play, Lofton ranks fifth in the league by shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.
  • He handed out a career-high 11 assists in the win over Hofstra Dec. 7 and matched that with 11 more Dec. 14 vs. Gannon and again Dec. 18 vs. Niagara. He's the first Bonnies player to register double-digit assists in three straight games since Marques Green achieved the feat in 2003. Lofton is in good company – Green today ranks as Bona's all-time assists leader (8th in A-10 history) with 657 and was selected to the program's All-Time Team.
  • He has finished with six or more assists 24 times so far during his Bonaventure career.
  • Lofton has played 36 or more minutes in 49 of 64 career games played and entered the year with the most minutes played last season of any returning A-10 player. He's played the full 40 13 times this year.
'SHOON SWATS
  • Osun Osunniyi returned to action Nov. 26 vs. Mercer after missing all but 11 minutes of the first five games due to a leg injury sustained in the opener Nov. 5. A concussion cost him games at VCU and Dayton as well as vs. URI.
  • He already ranks in the program's top five for career blocks in just his first 50 collegiate games.  This season, he's had five or more blocks four times - vs. San Diego (6), at Middle Tennessee (5), at GW (5) and at George Mason (5).
  • He ranked sixth in the nation with 2.6 blocks per game last year and led all NCAA Division I freshmen with 92 blocks, the program freshman record for swats.
  • Against Hofstra Dec. 7 Osunniyi hauled in 16 rebounds and a season-high 18 boards Jan. 8 at George Mason. His career-high is 22 boards set last year at Duquesne.
  • Osunniyi is averaging 2.6 blocks per game through the first 55 games of his Bonnies career. That would rank first overall in Bonnies program history – Bona's all-time blocks leader Caswell Cyrus averaged 2.5 blocks per game over his 114-game career between 1996-2000, finishing with 289 swats.
  • In games where Osunniyi has played at least 18 minutes, the Bonnies are +7.4 in rebounding margin, a total that would lead the A-10 over a full season - and by a wide margin. Saint Louis currently leads the A-10 at +6.4. The Bonnies are 18-3 when he plays at least 18 minutes.
  • Osunniyi ranks 18th nationally in blocks per game and 36th in total blocks despite missing seven games.
DOWNTOWN DOM
  • Bonnies sophomore Dominick Welch finished non-conference play second among all Atlantic 10 players with 38 three-pointers. He has hit at least one 3 in 27 of 30 games this year.
  • More than just a perimeter shooter, Welch also ranks second on the team in rebounding (6.9 rpg). He ranks 14th among all A-10 players in rebounding and tallied a career-high of 14 rebounds Jan. 29 at Fordham and Feb. 26 vs. Duquesne. In conference play, his aggressiveness on the boards has led to 7.8 rpg and a top-10 standing in the league. He is second on the team on the offensive glass with 55 offensive rebounds this year.
  • In 25 games last year, he hit 43 3-pointers and shot 36 percent from distance. His 43 3's were a team-high during the '17-18 campaign. He surpassed that total in his 16th game this season.
  • He finished his high school career as the all-time leading scorer in boys Western New York history (2,376 points at Cheektowaga).