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Preview: St. Bonaventure (3-2) vs. Canisius (1-3)

The Game: St. Bonaventure has now alternated wins and losses in each of their last three games and will try to keep that streak going vs. rival Canisius on Saturday night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. The Bonnies dropped a four point heart-breaker to Mississippi State on Tuesday night, and will now look to take care of business against teams from lesser conferences.

The Golden Griffins are coming off a 26 point blowout loss to Washington State, where they managed to score just 15 points in the first half. Canisius is having great trouble scoring the ball, averaging only 56 points a game, meanwhile, the Bonnies are getting 73 points a game against their opponents. If Bona plays defense like they did against Rutgers and Mississippi State, they should have no trouble holding this MAAC team to a score under 60. Defensively, Canisius has been stingy, giving up just 63 points a game compared to the Bonnies 68.

We hope that Chris Matthews, can provide Canisius with their second straight beatdown by a Washington State player…well kinda.

How to Catch It: No television for this non-conference tilt, but as always you can listen to Gary Nease call the action on WPIG/WHDL 95.7 FM, and streaming live on gobonnies.com. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM. Those who have paid for All-Access through SBU, will get the TV feed over the internet (We hope with the game being played at a neutral site). HSBC is obviously driving distance from Olean, so try to carpool and make the trip to Buffalo if you are in Western NY. I am not, but wish I was.

Marquee Matchup: Again, we will go back to the forwards and Andrew Nicholson, and D’Lancy Carter. They will be going up against Chris Gadley, a 320 pound monster from the Griffs. Gadley leads the team in both scoring and rebounding (16/7) and is the Griffs best scoring threat. The 6’9″ forward has already nailed 7 of 12 three pointers this year, making him a huge threat, in more ways then one, to hit a three ball. It will be up to our big body, D’Lancy Carter to box out and contest even 18 foot jumpers on Gadley. Note: This would be a perfect game for Mo Thomas to start playing like he is capable of.

Inside the Numbers:

  • Canisius is shooting the three ball at a 28% clip…Ugly.
  • Canisius is shooting the ball at a 37% clip from the field….Even Uglier.
  • Canisius has 44 assists to go along with 77 turnovers.
  • They are out rebounding their opponents by 1 RPG however.
  • #32 on Canisius is A.J. Hawkins…No, not our Hawkins he’s a Wichita State (Had just 2 points vs. G’town on Turkey day)

Trying to Stay Hot: Mr. Ray Blackburn. Ray poured in a game and career high 22 points against Mississippi State, and will look to continue scoring the ball from the point guard spot. While Blackburn was a perfect 3-3 from behind the arch, it was the other point man, Malcolm Eleby who rimmed out the would-be- game tying trifecta with 7 seconds left. Or did he…? Oddly enough, according to the boxscore, Eleby never attempted a three point shot…Interesting…

I digress. Blackburn looked sensational at times, and if your waiting for me to start calling the duo Thunder and Lightening, keep waiting because it’s not happening. Blackburn was able to take his man off the bounce at will, and knocked down the longball, which is just what we needed to see from the PG spot. I still like the two sharing minutes, but Blackburn is certainly more exciting with the ball and adds a bit more defensively.

Trying to Heat Up: Mo Thomas. Thomas managed to score just five points in eleven minutes of action against the Bulldogs, but this has not been just a one game problem. The UTEP transfer is averaging just 5 points and three rebounds per game in just 9.8 minutes per game. Obviously the scoring numbers are disappointing, but the lack of minutes are just flat out puzzling. Thomas is a guy who doesn’t always have it together between the ears, and I’ll leave it at that. His lack of minutes has been more due to actions and less due to injuries. But sooner or later he needs to come to terms with the team philosophies and let coach Schmidt know he’s a member of the team. His minutes should be over 20 a game, easily, and when they happens the scoring and rebounding totals will soon follow.

Outlook: Your time is valuable and so is mine, well kind of, anyway I am not going to beat around the bush concerning this game: We must win. Canisius is not better then us, in any way. They don’t score like us, they haven’t shut down decent teams like we have, they don’t have the athletes we now have, and they certainly aren’t coming off a good performance…for God sakes they are in the MAAC.

Canisius is a bad team, from a bad conference. As I posted yesterday, it is now time for this program to turn the page and start beating up on teams from smaller, less prestigious conferences. That means Canisius, Princeton, Maryland Eastern Shore, Eastern Michigan, and Bucknell, St. Francis (PA…or NY) and Central Arkansas. We ARE better then every single one of these teams, and if you don’t think so, you haven’t been watching this team play. I don’t care if the game is being played in Tom Parrotta’s driveway and his two small children have the whistle and his wife has got the book and clock. This is a must win game.

These are not the Bonnies of the Anthony Solomon era. We are not going to get waxed by St. Francis. We are not going to get embarrassed by Eastern Michigan and Boston U. in the RC. And we better not need a Zarryon Fereti three pointer at the buzzer to send a home game with Central Arkansas into overtime. Those days are now just nightmares from a long four years of bad basketball.

Mark Schmidt is too good a coach to let this team lose a game like Saturday’s. Schmidt will take the Griffs very seriously, and the players will too. This is a game that two years ago, was a total toss up. Now, it is a slam dunk. I am going to predict the Bonnies win this one going away. If I am wrong, come back and roast me, but I am very confident that this team will flex it’s muscle vs. a very average Canisius team.

Beat the Griffs and as always, Go Bonnies!

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.


  1. Copenhagen

    I like your in depth coverage with no stones unturned ….. almost like a NYC newspaper! :o) covering one of the NY professional teams.

    Hope you are right about Bonnies All Access have video for the game but there is nothing on either go.bonnies or the Giffs webpages. But how hard can it be since the Arena must have the facilities in place to do it…..

    Your comments about Mo Thomas are insightful and hopefully he comes around to grab major minutes in the post to form a dangerous inside tandem with Andrew Nicholson.

    Just think of the potential of this team if all five positions have double figure scoring potential in any every game!

    Keep this blog going strong as it is an impressive start just like the Bonnies first 5-games!

    How about some recruiting news, rumors, commentary? Will you post anything on the Lady Bonnies?

    Best regards,

    FR – Class of ’79
    Copenhagen, Denmark

  2. NY Dem

    Great column – I’m getting addicted to this site already. The other place (Bandwagon) is going downhill fast – the personal attacks have already started again, and the season is just 5 games old.

    I’m pretty sure Eleby’s late attempt against Miss State was just a 2. The guys that do the official game stats sit next to the Bona bench, so they had a great look at it from their angle. It was in front of me, but with the crowd standing, there was no way anyone on our side could see where his feet were.

    Really bad choice for Blackburn to inbound the ball there, strictly limited our possibilities of getting a good look from 3 from a good shooter (either Ray or Matthews). But then, if we rebound the missed free throw at the other end when we just down 1, we would have had 19 seconds to set up for a last shot.

    Boxing out on free throws has been a consistent weakness so far, and something that I am sure will be addressed significantly by Coach Schmidt.

    On a side note, heard that the team had Thanksgiving dinner at the Old Library restaurant in town – and as I was in for lunch at McDonald’s yesterday, I spotted Eleby, Hall and a couple other Bonnies at the counter getting their fast food fix !

  3. NY Dem

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP)—Klay Thompson scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds as Washington State cruised to a 63-52 victory over Mississippi State in the opening game of the Legends Classic on Friday night.

    Varnado only had 2 points !

    Sure would have been nice if we could have pulled off the upset, then see them lose to Texas tech and watch them go whimpering back to Mississippi with an 0-3 record on their “Northern” road trip !

    Oh, BTW, their football team lost 45-0 to in-state rival Ole Miss yesterday too !!