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Sunday Synopsis (S17, V6): Death, Taxes and Winning in Rochester

Photo credit to Gumtow Photography and the Olean Times Herald who you can follow on Twitter here 

Opening Statement: With a full week of rest and prep time before their big tilt in Rochester this Saturday against Vermont, the Bonnies earned a thrilling 81-79 victory in front of nearly 6,000 fans in the ROC. You’ve all seen the video on the internet by now (below if you have not), but after not making a shot the entire game (Heck, he only got up three up) Matt Mobley canned a three pointer from the right wing after a great pass from Jay Adams to turn a one point deficit into a two point buzzer beating win. 

Downing Vermont is the latest “good” win for the Bonnies who are now a tidy 4-1 vs. top 150 teams, only losing to TCU who is 10-0 and ranked 14th in the polls. We stated weeks ago that if the Bonnies played to their potential they could head into Friday’s Syracuse game riding a six game winning streak. This morning they are a victory on Wednesday against a sound Northeastern team from doing just that. Should the Bonnies win mid-week, the buzz surrounding the Cuse game will be as they say…palpable….even very palpable. Bonas would enter the game at 9-2 and Cuse at 10-1 if they can down Buffalo in two days. 

SBU’s victory on Saturday gives the club four top 150 wins (MD, Buffalo, Yale, Vermont). Last year the team had just three suchs wins the entire season (Buffalo, George Mason, La Salle). A win over Northeastern and or Syracuse would give Bona five or six such wins before conference play.

Suggested Reading: 

J.P Butler writes Matt Mobleys big shot and the latest SBU victory in Rochester here

The Rocheser D and C pen their piece about another Bona win in the ROC here

A10Talk.com goes around the league on Saturday night and provides lots of thoughts and video here

Where they Stand:


RPI SOS Vs. Top 150
8-2 56 152


Six Up:

  • Taking Care of Business: After losing to TCU down in Florida, Bona began a stretch of six games in which they would be favorites in all. Thus far they are 5-0 in that span with only Northeastern standing in their way of a six game winning streak. During that strech, Bona has won each game by an average of 9.4 points and seen their RPI number stay inside of the top 60. You can’t look past anyone, but it will be a wild seen at Syracuse on Friday night should this team continue to be hot with a match-up against the hated and talented Orange on tap. Credit Schmidt and his team for winning the games they should win; that’s always easier said than done and the pressure was high after their loss to Niagara. Dating back to 2002, Bonas has not had a six game winning streak…so Wednesday’s victory would be somewhat historic. 
  • Bench and Bigs Provide Punch: Bonas big men have been a bit of a sore subject this season, and for good reason…they’ve not been very good. Josh Ayeni has struggled to stay on the floor due to foul trouble and hasn’t rebounded very well, Amadi Ikpeze has shown flashes but been inconsisent and Ndene Gueye has hardly played. But on Saturday night Ayeni and Ikpeze were major factors as they combined for 18 first half points. Ayeni finished with 10 points in 20 minutes (fouled out for the third straight game) and Ikpeze totaled 13 points in 16 minutes on 6-6 shooting from the floor. This was certainly an encouraging effort from the pair of bigs as we head into the final week of the non conference schedule. Bonas got 40 points off the bench in this win (Brockington with 13 and Stockard with 14)…probably the story of the game after Mobley’s heroics. 
  • Rochester Does it Again: Man, do the Bonnies loving playing in Rochester? 5,828 fans packed Blue Cross Arena yesterday to see another Bona win and another really good basketball game featuring quality mid-majors. Last season Bona beat Fordham by 20 in the ROC. In 2016 it was the classic 98-90, “Posley 47 point game” win over Saint Joseph’s. In 2015 Bona pasted George Mason by 20 there. Bona last lost there in 2012, in a 67-65 loss to N.C. State who won 24 games that season and eventually lost to Kanas by just a bucket in the NCAA’s third round. Bonas has consistently draw between five and six thousand strong in Rochester since going back there and should continue to do so every year. The Rochester game has become one of the fan favorites each season and if the school could ever afford it, I’d consider adding a second game there during winter break if possible; though that seems highly unlikely. Either way, ROC has become a home away from home for Bonas in a big way and last night’s thriller will only encourage more folks to grab tickets next year. 
  • One Big Shot: More incredible than the fact that Matt Mobley had not made a shot the the entire game leading up to his game winner is the idea that he had only taken two shots and neither of those was a three pointer. Vermont did a fantastic job on Mobley all game long but when it mattered most the senior was ready for the moment and sent Bona Nation into a frenzy. Mobley has long been throught of as “the new Marcus Posley” and his dramatic three pointer last night only supports that comparison of two clutch-scoring-guards. Mobley has actually struggled of late: He’s scored just 23 points in Bonas last three games and shot 3-12 from three with a 1:1 A/TO ratio (seven and seven). Still, Mobley had ice in his veins when he took Jay Adams chest pass and shot with confidence; the sign of a true shooter and bucket getter. 
  • Brockington Makes an Impact: The Bona freshman made a tremendous impact in this game scoring 13 points in just 17 minutes and doing so while shooting 3-4 from deep. In a game that played into the 80’s SBU needed all the points they could muster and the Philly freshman proved his worth. Let’s see how he is used this week as he played 17 minutes last night but just 24 minutes combined in the three previous games. Brockington is shooting 54% from deep and his offensive rating of nearly 130 would be far and away tops on the team if he had enough minutes played to qualify. 
  • Offensive Fire Power: For the first time in nearly a month (vs. MD Eastern Shore on 11/20) the Bonnies cracked the 80 point mark and they needed every last one. Schmidt’s club received big time scoring efforts up and down the roster and these were the final offensive ratings for the guys (100 considered average): Adams 123, Mobley 149, Griffin 111, Ayeni 106, Stockard 114, Brockington 166, Ikpeze 178…Wowzers. 

Three Down: 

  • Three Point Defense: Nothing to worry about really, but since it’s part of the template we’ve got to find some room for imporvement. Bonas allowed Vermont to knock in 10-21 three point tries. Vermont’s 47% shooting from deep was the highest mark for a team against Bona this year. No team had broken 33% since the TCU game. 
  • Taqqee Continues to Struggle: The senior tri-captain played just 10 minutes on Saturday and was 0-1 from the field with three fouls, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 steals and 0 blocks. Taqqee’s 64% of minutes played are nearly identical to his sophomore season; he played 84% of Bona’s minutes last year. He’s shooting a career worst from 2PT (44%) and the line (40%) but his defensive rebounding rate is still strong (14.8%). Schmidt played Idris 31 minutes against Yale, so he’s by no means losing all his time but it’s worth keeping an eye on his position battle with Brockington and even Stockard given the lineup that’s on the floor. Still, Taqqee’s presence is needed on the floor so here’s to hoping he has a bounce back game or two this week. 
  • Foul Woes Continue for Ayeni: Josh Ayeni can really play well in spurts, and even for a whole half but he struggles to put together a full game and stay on the floor. Ayeni had another one of those such games last night as he poured in 10 first half points, but still fouled out of his thrid straight game in just 20 minutes. In Bonas last three games Ayeni has scored 34 points in 62 minutes, but been whistled for 15 fouls as well. Again, if he can play closer to 33 minutes a game the Bona offense will see some jump. 

Player of the Week: This is a really tough call after just one game and one buzzer beater but we give the award to Amadi Ikpeze who was huge off the bench for Bona. Sure, Mobley hit the buzzer beater and Jay Adams was his usual steady hand at PG, but Ikpeze was a surprising contributor scoring those 13 points in 16 minutes and not missing a shot. He also had a block, a board and only committeed one foul. 

Good Stat of the Week: Bonas got 40 points from their bench as Stockard, Brockington and Ikpeze all had huge hands in the win. 

Bad Stats of the Week: As noted above, Vermont nearly shot 50% from deep and Bonas forced just ten turnovers after posting 21 against Yale, 19 against Canisius, 16 against Buffalo, 13 against UB, 18 against TCU and 20 vs. Maryland. 

What’s Ahead: Bonas hosts Northeastern on Wednesday night in the RC without the Students on hand as they’ll be home for break. The Huskies are 6-4 but play at Kent State tomorrow night. They are ranked 135th via KenPom and have won four straight after losing four in a row. They downed Vermont by four points last week. NEU have the 31st best 2PT shooting team in the country and are top 25 in 3PT% nationally as well. Bonas then travels to Syracuse (Receiving Votes) on Friday night to face the Orange who are 9-1 and face UB on Tuesday. That game will be one of the more hyped in recent history should SBU get past the Hukies for their sixth win in a row. 

Looking for some new Bonas Hoops gear? Look no further than the Spors Locker, Olean’s number 1 sports outlet. They’ve got new for 2017 Wolf Pack shirts and a new Lady’s V-neck as well. Check them out online here or in town before your next trip to the RC!

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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.

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