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Preview: Bonnies @ Fordham, Wednesday 7:00 PM

The Bonnies (9-4) will travel to Fordham (2-10) and kick off their Atlantic 10 schedule with this road contest against a young Rams team. Before some brief thoughts on the game, below are some tidbits on each team heading into the matchup:

  • The Bonnies are 5-0 on the road for the first time since the 1967-68 team
  • The Bonnies have an 8 year road loosing streak for A10 openers
  • The next win for Bona, will give head coach Mark Schmidt 100 for his career
  • Fordham has beaten Bona in 7 straight contests
  • The Bonnies are 3-9 All time at Rose Hill Gym
  • Fordham has lost three in a row, and is 2-5 at home

Scouting the Fordham Rams

After graduating five quality seniors last year, Fordham is in the midst of a major rebuilding season, much like the ones Bona has been in for several years. Fordham has won just two of their first twelve games, and are lead in scoring by a freshman point guard from St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, Jio Fontan. Fontan has won the Rookie of the Week Award twice already, and is leading all A10 Rookies in scoring, averaging 13.1 PPG. Fontan has also proved to be a very good distributor of the basketball, averaging 4.5 Assists per game. Fontan is not a great shooter, hitting on just 22% from three, but when he gets to the rim and runs in transition he is at his best, much like Ray Blackburn.

Mike Moore and Chris Bethel are also averaging 11 points a game for the Rams, while Bethel is pulling down almost 7 rebounds per game. Another guard, Brenton Butler, the team’s only real returning player, is averaging 9 points a game, shooting 27% from three. Butler is more of a shooter than this stat gives him credit for however, as he shot 34% and 43% in the last two years from deep.

Another player on the Rams who could potentially hurt the Bonnies from deep is another freshman, Trey Blue. Aside from the fitting last name, Blue is shooting 38% from three, and averaging 8 points a game. He too, has won the Rookie of the Week Award earlier this season after a 24 point debut against Columbia.

This is a very young Rams team, who struggles to score the ball (61 PPG). Below is a listing of where Fordham Ranks in several categories in the Atlantic 10.

  • Scoring Offense-13th
  • Scoring Defense-10th
  • Scoring Margin-14th
  • FT%-14th
  • Team Field Goal %-14th
  • Field Goal % Defense-14th
  • Rebounding Offense-14th
  • Rebounding Defense014th
  • Blocked shots-13th
  • Assists-13th
  • A/TO Ratio-12th

These numbers are a very clear indicator as to why this game is a MUST win game for the Bonnies. Fordham is a team that quite frankly, looks a lot like teams of two and three years ago coached by Anthony Solomon. They are the worst offensive and defensive team in the league, they don’t make their FT’s, they don’t block any shots and they have an awful A/TO ratio. However, unlike those Solomon teams of years ago, this Fordham team is young, and they generally play very hard, and are in more games more often than not. If the Bonnies simply do not show up tomorrow night, this could not only be a very close game, the Bonnies could flat out loose. However, for the first time in who knows how long (For a league game this is) if Bona plays hard, and executes, they will win this road game. That really is all there is to it in my mind, this game, like many Non-Conference games, is more about the BonniesBucknell or Robert Morris game, they will probably loose. than about the Rams. That is because if Bonaventure plays like they did against Rutgers, and Miss. State and parts of every other game, they will win. If they play like they did vs. Central Arkansas and the first half of the Princeton game or second half of the

This game will obviously, set the tone for the rest of the Atlantic 10 campaign.

In the 2006-2007 season, Bonaventure won their first Atlantic 10 game when they downed St. Louis at home. That night, I said the second game of the year would determine whether or not this team would make the league tournament, we hosted Richmond at home. We had a big lead that night, but would wind up loosing the game in the closing minutes, and eventually fell a game short of the league dance in AC. Was that loss the end of our season? Probably not. But, I knew getting off to a 2-0 start and having a win against Richmond in our pocket would have set us up nicely to make the league tournament, needed just three or four more wins to get in.

That is how I feel about tomorrow night. Now, I don’t believe if we drop the game we have no shot of getting in, because this team is better than that team of three years ago. However, I do believe winning a road game to start the league slate could give this team great confidence, and would set them up for a shot to go 2-0, playing Duquense at home in game two. Duquense is another 9-4 team, who like Bona, has many new faces, and is lead by a few freshman.This is something that they have not been able to put together in some time, and Wednesday would be a good time to start.

In closing, I believe tomorrow night will be a close game, but I believe, and I hope that Bona will come to play and put the Rams down early, and actually hold them down in the second half. The longer Fordham hangs around, the worse off Bona is in this game. Bona needs a full 40 minutes to win in league play, especially on the road. Playing 40 minutes of complete basketball in the Atlantic 10 is something that few teams can do every night, but Bona must learn to do it more than not in order to compete for a spot in AC.

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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.