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VCU-St. Bonaventure game analysis

Game analysis: The way St. Bonaventure has been playing of late, Saturday's game against VCU figured to be another in a growing list of blowouts. But the Bonnies hung around longer than expected before the Rams finally put away a 72-65 victory.

How St. Bonaventure lost: The Bonnies have to play better defense if they want a shot at making the Atlantic 10 Tournament. VCU drilled 59.1 percent in the second half and 52 percent for the game. As hard as undersized St. Bonaventure fought, it won't be able to make up ground until it decides to defend.

Turning Point: VCU led, 58-53, then went on an 8-0 run for a 13-point lead they nursed for the remainder of the game. St. Bonaventure managed to slice the lead to six with 34 seconds left but couldn't get any closer.

Player of the Game: VCU's Treveon Graham shot 6 of 10 overall and had 17 points and nine boards.

Wright stuff?: Matthew Wright 7 of 38 (18 percent) from downtown before the game but hit 2 of 5 on Saturday. Now is a good time to break out of his slump.

Key stat: The Bonnies were 11 of 25 from 3-point range.

Mr. Versatility: Demitrius Conger became only the third St. Bonaventure player with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in a career.

Where's the D?: This is the fifth consecutive game that an opponent has shot 50 percent or better.

What It Means: Bona falls to 0-2 in the A-10 but the team believes there's still hope because of the way they fought against a VCU team that will more than likely vault in the AP Top 25.

In the House: 4,675 in the Reilly Center.

He said it: "The last four games we played with no heart it seems. Even though we lost, we feel like we finally found our heart and we got it back. We have to know that this is the bare minimum that we have to play, you just have to play hard no matter what." - St. Bonaventure junior guard Matthew Wright.

Up next: The Bonnies host Xavier in a rematch of the A-10 Tournament championship at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

---Rodney McKissic

Iona-St. Bonaventure game analysis

Game analysis: Iona put on quite a 3-point shooting clinic on Monday afternoon, while the Bonnies couldn't find an offensive pulse in a 93-74 loss to the Gaels.

How St. Bonaventure lost: The Gaels came out firing in the second half, draining 10 of 16 while finishing 13 of 27 overall from long range. During one stretch, Iona was a blistering 8 of 10 from 3-point range. Demitrius Conger was the only St. Bonaventure player in double figures with 26, one point off his career high.

Turning Point: Iona led 40-31 by halftime but the Bonnies cut the lead to 42-40 when the Gaels outscored them, 36-18 over the next 10 minutes to build a 20-point advantage.

Player of the Game: Sean Armand scored a game-high 27 points and was 7 of 14 from long range.

Key stat: The Bonnies grabbed 17 offensive boards led by Conger who had four.

What It Means: Granted Bona played without starting guard Matthew Wright and leading scorer Chris Johnson is nursing a sore back (3-12, nine points), the Bonnies defensive effort has to raise some red flags. Iona shot 64.3 percent overall in the second half and 63.5 from beyond the arc.

In the House: 3,472 at the Reilly Center.

He said it: "They played their A game and we played our C game and that's what happens." - St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt.

Up next: The Bonnies play at Colorado State on Saturday before opening conference play at George Washington Jan. 9.

---Rodney McKissic

Bona-The Citadel Game Wrap

St. Bonaventure 97, The Citadel 57

How Bona Won: By getting the Bulldogs on the schedule. The dominance was absurd. Bona shot 56.5 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from three and 81 percent from the line. They had 26 assists on 35 baskets and turned it over just 11 times. And 10 players saw at least 11 minutes.

Turning Point: It was over after Bona's 13-2 run to open the game. The Citadel never drew closer than seven.

Player of the Game: Senior forward Marquise Simmons produced 15 points and nine rebounds, went 7 of 9 from the field and had an emphatic three-point play near the end of the first half to put Bona up 14.

Best Supporting Role: Eric Mosley came off the bench to score 15 points with a career-high seven assists against zero turnovers. And he played only 21 minutes.

Stat Check: Bona's won consecutive games by more than 30 points for the first time since the 1970 Final Four team.

Stat Check II: Mosley and Jordan Gathers combined for 13 assists and no turnovers.

Stat Check III: Bona scored 30 points off 20 Bulldog turnovers.

What It Means: Bona (7-3) has won 16 of its last 18 at the Reilly Center. Three non-conference games (two on the road) remain before the A-10 opener.

Did You Know: The Citadel has won four true road games in the last three-plus seasons. The Bulldogs are coached by Chuck Driesell, Lefty's son. He's in his third year following six seasons at Loyola Marymount.

In the House: The announced crowd was 3,286 but it wasn't near that with the students on break.

Next Up: Bona's at No. 25 North Carolina State Saturday afternoon.

They Said It

Bona coach Mark Schmidt on what lies ahead: "My thing is let's go and test ourselves. That's why our guys came to Bonaventure, not to play Citadel but to play the Atlantic 10-caliber teams and N.C. State is a nationally ranked team. We got nothing to lose. Let's go up there and let's play."

Simmons on the game: "We had a couple letdowns which allowed them to get back within eight. Coach was just telling us to keep the pressure up, keep the defense up. We just sat down and guarded and got the lead back (up) and just rolled from there."

-- Bob DiCesare

Bona-Siena Game Wrap

St. Bonaventure 58, Siena 43

How Bona Won: Siena's 43 points were the fewest by a Bona opponent since a lowly Binghamton team scored 40 on Nov. 20, 2009. Charlon Kloof took Evan Hymes, Siena's leading scorer, out of the game and the Bonnies took charge late, pulling away from a 43-40 lead with 8:08 remaining.

Turning Point: Mathew Wright struck for a conventional three-point play with 6:37 left for a 48-40 Bona advantage. It was a continuation call, NBA-style, but the home crowd had no gripe.

Player of the Game: Kloof set down the law with the job he did on Hymes and his teammates followed the lead. He also had eight points, two assists, two steals and a block.

Best Supporting Role: Senior forward Marquise Simmons came up with his second career double-double -- 12 points and 10 rebounds.

What It Means: Bona improved to 5-2 and ended a streak of five straight games decided by five points or less. Siena dropped to 2-7 but don't discount their ability to make a little noise in the MAAC.

Stat Check: Bona went 2 of 20 from three-point land with Eric Mosley accounting for both of them.

Stat Check II: Talk about a reversal. Bona went 16 of 17 from the line after missing 16 of 38 against UB Saturday.

Stat Check III: Bona committed just five turnovers. Siena had 17.

Short: Siena's O.D. Anosike came in leading the nation with seven double-doubles. He missed No. 8, with 14 rebounds but just seven points.

In the House: The late start kept the crowd to 3,482 but the students, psyched for a TV game, made up for the lack of overall numbers.

They Said It:

"We just stuck to our game plan that we went over all week in practice and then we executed good tonight for the most part." -- Simmons

"You want guys that are self-motivated. My job is to motivate them but there's some days where they need to motivate me. And Charlon is someone that comes to practice every day. You don't have to yell at Charlon. You don't have to get him going. He's a self-starter and that's what you want. Not all are like that. Most guys aren't like that. When you get a self-starter that's a joy to coach." -- Bona coach Mark Schmidt

Next Up: Bona plays at Arkansas State Saturday before returning home for games against Cleveland State and Citadel.

-- Bob DiCesare

Bona-Siena Pregame

OLEAN -- Whatever happeed to Siena, not long ago the kingpin of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference? The Saints limp into tonight's game at the Reilly Center just 2-6 and are 29-41 under third-year head coach Mitch Buonaguro. This despite the fact Siena features 6-8 senior O.D. Anosike, the nation's leader in double-double (seven) and second-leading rebounder (13.3).

This could be Bona's opportunity to end a streak that can't sit particularly well with coach Mark Schmidt -- five straight games decided by five points or fewer. Bona (4-2) owns a 27-6 advantage in the series, which qualifies as the best winning percentage by a Siena opponent that has played the Saints more than 10 times.

The 9 p.m. start came at the request of the NBC family of sports channels and, from the looks of things, will result in a scant crowd outside the robust student section.

-- Bob DiCesare

Bona-UB Game Wrap

St. Bonaventure 82, UB 79

How Bona Won: Defense. The Bonnies turned 19 UB turnovers into 21 points, including the winning basketball by Matthew Wright with 24.6 seconds left. That was followed by a Marquise Simmons deflection that sealed the outcome. And it all began with a Demitrius Conger steal and dunk with 1:02 to go.

Turning Point: Wright's steal of a Tony Watson pass with the shot clock growing lean sent him away on the layup that gave Bona the lead for good.

Player of the Game: Conger set a season-high with 20 points to go with four assists and two steals.

Turnaround: That 39-point performance against Temple Wednesday seemed like eons ago as UB shot 47 percent in scoring a season-high 79 points and went 13 of 24 from long range.

Numbers-Wise: Bona had more points in the paint (36-24), off turnovers (21-11) and on the fast break (23-4).

What It Means: Bona's off to a 4-2 start. UB's just 2-7 but finally showing signs of offensive life,

On the Outskirts: UB junior guard Corey Raley-Ross started, committed two turnovers in two minutes and didn't see the court again. Freshman guard Jarryn Skeete played 15 minutes to help pick up the slack.

Limited: Javon McCrea played only six first-half minutes because of fouls. He finished with 13 points and a game-high 11 boards.

He Said It:

"I thought we showed a little more willingness to step in and shoot some shots but we didn't sustain that willingness to the end of the game and we had some hesitation at the end." -- UB coach Reggie Witherspoon.

"We showed some resiliency fighting back when we were down. But it was a great college game. Give them credit. They played well and someway we found a way to win." -- Bona coach Mark Schmidt.

Up Next: Bona plays host to Siena Tuesday night in a made-for-TV 9 p.m. start. UB travels to Milwaukee Wednesday looking to snap a five-game losing streak against Division I foes.

-- Bob DiCesare

Bona Extends Schmidt's Contract

You knew it was coming . . .

St. Bonaventure's improbable journey to the Atlantic 10 basketball title and its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 has resulted in a five-year contract extension for coach Mark Schmidt. The deal ties Bona to Schmidt through the 2018-19 season, although certainly there's buyout language in the event Schmidt down the road accepts an offer from another institution.

"I'm happy we were able to reach a long-term agreement and give men's basketball at St. Bonaventure the security and continuity it deserves," athletic director Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school this afternoon. "Mark and his staff have done a terrific job with the program on the court, in the classroom, on campus and in the community. We look forward to their continued success."

"I'm pleased and honored by the commitment the University made to me and my staff," Schmidt said in the news release. "The players that my staff has successfully recruited the previous five years have brought our program back to prominence. We fully expect to continue building on the tradition of excellence and doing it the right way in years to come."

Financial terms were not disclosed. Schmidt made about $300,000 a year in his original contract. He was Sporting News Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year following Bona's first 20-win season since 2000.

-- Bob DiCesare

Source: Baron offered Canisius job

---Former St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron has been offered the job at Canisius multiple sources have told The News.

Baron, who was fired after 11 years at Rhode Island, is in negotiations with the school and is seeking additional funds for assistant coaches to help build a stronger infrastructure in the program.

While waiting on a commitment from Baron, Canisius AD Bill Maher is still talking to candidates in case Baron turns down the job. A source told The News that Maher on Wednesday spoke with Jayson Gee, the associate head coach at Cleveland State and former a St. Bonaventure assistant.

Baron, who coached at St. Bonaventure from 1992-01, had four consecutive 20-win seasons at Rhode Island before last season’s 7-24 finish and was fired a year after he agreed to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season. He has a career record of 390-367 (.515).

Norfolk State's Anthony Evans and Rhode Island College's Bob Walsh are also candidates, according to sources.

---Rodney McKissic


Canisius coaching search update

---Canisius College placed as 4-6 week window to hire Tom Parrotta’s replacement and the process appears to be on schedule.

Canisius AD Bill Maher, with the help of Bill Carr Associates, is narrowing his list of candidates, which includes former St. Bonaventure coach Jim Baron, according to multiple sources. The list also includes Norfolk State’s Anthony Evans and Bob Walsh, the former San Diego and Iona assistant now at Division III Rhode Island College, according to sources. All have head coaching experience which Maher desires.

Baron, who coached at St. Bonaventure from 1992-01, had four consecutive 20-win seasons at Rhode Island before last season’s 7-24 finish and was fired a year after he agreed to a contract extension through the 2013-14 season. He has a career record of 390-367 (.515).

After leading Norfolk State to its first MEAC championship, Evans led the school to an upset win over Missouri in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A native of Brooklyn, Norfolk State has seven New York natives on its roster.

Walsh just completed his seventh season at RIC where he’s made seven consecutive trips to the postseason and six straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

---Rodney McKissic


Audio from Tallahassee: Moritz previews Bona-Marist matchup

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The News' Amy Moritz previews the NCAA Tournament second-round matchup between St. Bonaventure and Marist. The game tips off at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Moritz will also be live blogging during the game and providing postgame audio analysis.

Download audio 

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |