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.
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.
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.
Jim Baron will be returning to Western New York as head coach of the Canisius men's basketball team, according to a report tonight from Jeff Goodman of cbssportsline.com. Goodman's report can be found here.
There has been no official word from Canisius on the hiring as of yet. Baron, 58, was fired last month by Rhode Island after a 7-24 season.
He previously coached St. Bonaventure from 1992-2001, leading the Bonnies to one NCAA Tournament appearance and three trips to the NIT. At Rhode Island, he took the Rams to the NIT five times in 11 seasons, but was never able to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Canisius fired Tom Parrotta last month after a disappointing 5-25 season.
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.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The News' Amy Moritz previews the NCAA Tournament opener for the St. Bonaventure women's team. The Bonnies, a No. 5 seed, face Florida Gulf Coast in a game expected to tip off around 2:30 p.m. Moritz will also be live blogging during the game and providing postgame audio analysis.
NASHVILLE -- Rodney McKissic and Bob DiCesare, shortly before the Bona-Florida State tipoff, discuss the ongoing Cincinnati-Texas matchup and how both of those teams would potentially match up against the Bonnies:
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.
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.