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Bonnies to Face Pitt on Road

St. Bonaventure today became the second Big 4 team to release its upcoming non-conference basketball schedule and, as was the case with UB, there's a national presence on the slate.

The Bonnies will play at Pitt of the ACC on Dec. 13 in the first meeting between the schools since the 2001 NIT. The Panthers return three starters from the 26-10 team that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament before being ousted by Florida.

UB previously announced road games against Kentucky and Wisconsin, ranked Nos. 2 and 4 in last season's final coaches poll.

Here are the non-conference schedules for the Bonnies and the Bulls.

BONA

Nov. 8 vs. Mansfield (exb), 15 vs. Dartmouth, 19 vs. Siena, 22 vs. Canisius, 29 at Niagara (Big 4 Classic at FNC). December: 3 vs UB, 6 at Ohio, 13 at Pitt, 20 at Binghamton, 22 at Maryland-Eastern Shore, 30 at Delaware.

UB

Nov. 6 vs. Wheeling Jesuit (exb), 14 vs South Dakota State, 16 at Kentucky, 18 at Texas-Arlington, 21 vs. Montana St., 25 vs. Grand Canyon, 29 at Canisius (Big 4 Classic at FNC). Dec. 3 at Bona, 7 at Robert Morris, 16 vs. Drexel, 19 vs. Niagara, 28 at Wisconsin, 30 at Binghamton. Jan. 3 vs. Cornell.

 

Big 4 doubleheader set for Nov. 29 at FNC: UB-Canisius & Niagara-Bona

By Bob DiCesare

All four Big 4 teams. In one place. At one time.

Finally.

The four local Division I programs will meet in a true doubleheader for the first time since 1998 in an afternoon twinbill at the First Niagara Center on Saturday Nov. 29. Niagara and St. Bona will open at 2 p.m., followed by Canisius and UB at 4:15.

"We are excited to be able to bring a true Big 4 doubleheader to First Niagara Center," Canisius AD Bill Maher said in a release. "Setting up an event like this takes a lot of cooperation and coordination between all four schools and First Niagara Center. With four strong fan bases and alumni groups locally, and the fact that this year's event falls on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we believe this will be a must-see event for sports fans across Western New York."

What's the potential? A Big 4 doubleheader at the FNC on Nov. 30, 1996, drew 12,508.

Big 4 doubleheaders went by the wayside as the schools, members of three different conferences, pursued their own agendas motivated by maximizing home dates and revenues. However, it stood to reason that it was in their common interest to combine forces one day a year to maximize exposure for all involved.

That day is back.

Finally.

Tickets for the Big 4 Basketball Classic will be available through Tickets.Com, at the First Niagara Center box office or by phone at 1-888-223-6000. Tickets range from $20-30.

 

St. Bonaventure announces upgrade to McGraw-Jennings outdoor complex

News Staff Report

St. Bonaventure announced today that it will break ground this week on a $2 million renovation to its McGraw-Jennings Athletics fields complex.

The field that is home to the Bonnies’ men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams will be converted to an artificial playing surface manufactured by A-Turf of Cheektowaga, while lights will also be installed among other upgrades. 

Construction is scheduled to take approximately three months and is expected to be completed in time for the start of the Bonnies’ soccer seasons in August. While work is expected to begin this week, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 7, at 3 p.m. during Alumni Reunion.

The project was funded by a lead gift of $1 million from Tom (1980 Bona grad) and Michelle Marra.

St. Bonaventure Director of Athletics Steve Watson said in a release that this was the first phase. “The renovation of the softball field is necessary," he said, "and I am confident that many loyal Bonnies alumni and fans will help us make that a reality as well.”

This project will be the first major upgrade to St. Bonaventure’s outdoor facilities since the baseball field was converted to artificial turf in 2006, which also was funded by a gift from Tom Marra.

Two transfer from St. Bonaventure

By Rodney McKissic

Add two more names to the ever expanding transfer list: St. Bonaventure's Matthias Runs and Jean Yves Toupane who the school announced will not return to the program.

These aren’t huge losses. Runs, a 7-foot sophomore center from Hilversum, Netherlands, played in just two games while Toupane, a 6-foot-7 forward from Dakar, Senegal, played in six and scored four points.

The only other Big 4 player who has elected to transfer thus far is Niagara's Tajere McCall.

Bonnies look to extend Schmidt's contract

By Rodney McKissic

Now that Mark Schmidt has moved on from Boston College, St. Bonaventure is looking to extend his contract.

Schmidt’s current deal runs through the 2018-19 season and the Bonnies hope to extend the coach another two years, according to a source.

“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program," St. Bonaventure AD Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”

ESPN reported Tuesday morning that Schmidt was no longer an option at Boston College. A source confirmed that Schmidt spoke with former South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of Boston College. According to the source, Boston College athletics director Brad Bates did not ask St. Bonaventure athletics director Steve Watson permission to speak with Schmidt, a common practice among ADs, although Bates was not obligated to do so.

Fogler spoke directly to Schmidt, who kept Watson apprised of the proceedings, the source said. Neither Schmidt nor Watson were available for comment.

Schmidt has a 106-109 record at St. Bonaventure and in 2012 he led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000. Schmidt played at Boston College from 1981-85.

“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a statement released by the school. “This is a fantastic University with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”

Report: Schmidt no longer an option at Boston College

By Rodney McKissic

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is no longer an option at Boston College, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Goodman is also reporting that Syracuse University assistant Mike Hopkins is no longer under consideration as well.

Schmidt reportedly interviewed at Boston College last week; nevertheless according to Mark Blaudschun of www.ajerseyguy.com, Schmidt spoke with Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of the school last week. Schmidt played at BC from 1981-85.

Hopkins interviewed on campus on Saturday and on Monday Ohio University coach Jim Christian emerged as a viable candidate which stands to reason because he’s one of Fogler’s clients. Christian’s head coaching stops include Kent State and TCU.  It is unknown if Christian has scheduled an interview.

Schmidt, who was unavailable for comment, recently completed his seventh season at St. Bonaventure where he has a 106-109 record. In 2012, Schmidt led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000.

Big 4 Hoops Scenarios

By Bob DiCesare

Here's where the Big 4 basketball teams stand as of 6 p.m. Saturday:

MAC

Men

UB has clinched at least a tie for the East Division title and it becomes an outright championship if Bowling Green beats Akron tonight. More importantly, the Bulls have clinched a top-four finish within the MAC overall and have earned a bye into no less than the quarterfinals in Cleveland. They can finish top 2 by winning their final two games regardless what happens in tonight's Toledo-WMU game. The Bulls are at Akron Tuesday and home to Bowling Green next Saturday.

Women

UB (9-7) has the tiebreaker advantage over Toledo (8-7) as they battle for the No. 4 seed and bye into the quarterfinals. WMU (8-8) lurks. UB has Akron (18-8, 12-3) and Kent (6-20, 3-12) at home. Toledo plays Central Michigan (18-9, 14-1) Sunday and finishes with Eastern Michigan and Ball State. If UB wins out it's in the quarters. If Toledo loses to CMU the Bulls can take probably still take the No. 4 seed with a 1-1 finish. That presumes CMU beating WMU, never a sure thing in a rivalry game.

MAAC

Men

Canisius finishes with the No. 2 seed if it wins at Manhattan Sunday AND Quinnipiac loses to Marist. The Griffs get the No. 3 seed if they beat the Jaspers AND Quinnipiac beats Marist. A loss gives Canisius the No. 4 seed  and a MAAC Tournament quarterfinal game against Siena on Friday in Springfield.

Niagara will be the No. 11 seed and face the No. 6 (either Rider, Saint Peter's or Marist) at 9 p.m. Thursday in Springfield.

Women

Canisius and Niagara are 8-11 and tied for the No. 6 seed heading into Sunday's finales. Canisius is home to fifth-pace Rider (9-10) and Niagara is home to Fairfield (14-5). If Canisius and Niagara both win there will be a three-way tie for seeds 5-7. Canisius would be 3-1 among the trio, Niagara 2-2 and Rider 1-3. If Canisius wins and Niagara loses the Griffs take the No. 5 seed based on a sweep of Rider and Niagara becomes either the No. 7 or 8 seed depending on the tiebreaker with Manhattan (8-12). If Canisius and Niagara both lose it's a three-way tie for Nos. 6-8 among Canisius, Niagara and Manhattan with Manhattan being 3-1 in the group, Niagara 2-2 and the Griffs 1-3.

ATLANTIC 10

Men

Bona is 6-9 and No. 8 in the conference and can go no higher. They can drop no lower than No. 10. La Salle (5-8) and Duquesne (4-10) also factor in. Bona finishes at VCU. La Salle was playing Fordham Saturday and still has games with George Mason and Saint Joseph's. Duquesne has UMass and George Mason.

Women

The Bonnies are done with the regular season and will be the No. 2 seed behind Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They'll play the winner of the 7-10 game in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday in Richmond.

UB-Bona Game Wrap

UB 78, St. Bonaventure 73

How UB Won: The Bulls came upon the key to Bona's defensive vault down the stretch. Threes by Josh Freelove, Will Regan, Shannon Evans and Jarryn Skeete turned a 66-60 deficit into a 72-69 lead that held. The Bulls went 6 of 11 from behind the arc in the second half while Bona was 1 of 10 for the game.

Turning Point: Beside the barrage of threes? Bona led by two when senior 2 guard Matthew Wright suffered a leg injury with 14:50 left. He did not return. The Bonnies could have used him in a big way.

UB Player of the Game: Freshman guard Shannon Evans has made huge strides since his college debut about a month ago. He went for a career-high 17 points, came up with two of UB's five steals and turned it over just twice in 24 minutes.

Bona Player of the Game: Point guard Charlon Kloof is a warrior. He led the Bonnies in points (17), assists (five) and played a game-high 37 minutes. Kloof had a lot on his shoulders with Wright and Jordan Gathers out of the lineup.

Stat Check: Bona went just 24 of 38 from the foul line. As coach Mark Schmidt noted, that doesn't cut it, especially on the road. UB was 28 of 32.

Eye Opener: UB's Javon McCrea had just three field goals but his soaring left-handed jam off an Evans miss was flat-out scary.

Rarity: This was UB's second win in the eight meetings between the teams and its first at Alumni Arena. The Bulls hadn't beaten the Bonnies since 1996.

Sreaking: That's four straight wins for UB.

Records: UB improved to 4-2. Bona slipped to 6-3.

In the House: Nice crowd of 4,652. Be interesting to see how all these Saturday afternoon games work out as the season progresses.

Next Up: UB plays Canisius at 8 p.m. (ish) Wednesday in the First Niagara Center in the nightcap of a doubleheader that begins with Niagara-Davidson at 6. The Bonnies open a three-game road swing Saturday at Iona.

-- Bob DiCesare

St. Bonaventure mourns death of baseball player

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

The news spread quickly on Twitter last night and was confirmed this afternoon in a press release from St. Bonaventure -- redshirt junior Andrew Revello died on Wednesday as a result of injuries he suffered in a car accident on June 1 in Butler Township, Pa.

The 22-year old was a startng pitcher for the Bona baseball team. A native of Highland Heights, Ohio, he was an accounting major at the school.

This past season, Revello emerged as a leader in the Bonnies rotation and led the team in wins (five), innings pitched (77 1/3), and strike outs (57).

"Andrew Revello -- Dice to his teammates -- was a tireless worker, a good student and a joy to be around," Bona baseball coach Larry Sudbrook said. "He was always willing to share his opinion on anything sports-related and enjoyed the give-and-take as much as his teammates. Dice loved St. Bonaventure baseball and it loved him back."

"Andrew Revello — Dice, to his teammates — was a tireless worker, good student and a joy to be around," said Larry Sudbrook, SBU's baseball coach. "He was always willing to share his opinion on anything sports related and enjoyed the give-and-take as much as his teammates. Dice loved St. Bonaventure baseball and it loved him back."

"We are profoundly saddened to hear of Andrew's passing," said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president. "He was a tremendous representative of this university. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, as well as to his teammates and members of the St. Bonaventure community with whom he developed such a strong and lasting bond."

Ortega, Dixon and Wilson will not return to St. Bonaventure

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

St. Bonaventure's leading scorer will not return for her senior season. Doris Ortega along with guards CeCe Dixon and Tatiana Wilson were dismissed from the Bona women's basketball team.

"Obviously we wish them well," Bona coach Jim Crowley said. "It just didn't work here."

Crowley said all three have been granted their release and play at any school they wish. He also added about the departure, "I wouldn't say it was mutual."

Ortega started 27 games for the Bonnies last year, averaging 12.1 points. Dixon played in 24 games, missing five after being suspended for what was called an "internal team issue." The Bonnies seemed to be fighting through internal issues and chemistry problems at times last season. Combine that with a young team and several injuries and the program that went to the Sweet 16 in 2012 finished up 2013 with a 10-19 overall record and a 3-11 Atlantic 10 mark.

Wilson, who would have been a junior at Bona, averaged 9.1 minutes and saw action in 26 games.

Ortega and Dixon had been key components of the Bonnies run in 2012 as sophomores but seemed to stumble as juniors with the ability to take their game and leadership to the next level.

With their departures, Bona now returns just eight players -- two seniors and six sophomores -- with two freshman on the roster for next season.

Among those returning are seniors Ashly Zahn and Chelsea Bowker, who sat out last year as a medical redshirt with an ankle injury.

Among the sophomores returning are Katie Healy (Lancaster), Nyla Rueter and Emily Michael, all of whom saw significant playing time as freshmen.

Crowley said the team has responded very well to the loss of their teammates.

"From the time it happened, they have focused on moving forward," Crowley said. "We've gotten some great work ethic and leadership from people. They've had a solid spring and summer. We lost talent. Over the last two years we've lost a lot of it, but we have good talent here. We're getting used to each other, to playing together and for each other. Each day we're a day closer."

 

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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 | bdicesare@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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