Teams: Syracuse Orange (8-4, 0-0) vs. St. Bonaventure Bonnies (4-8, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
Day & Time: Saturday, December 29, 2018, 2:00 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
St. Bonaventure blog: Mid Major Madness
Rivalry: 24-4, Syracuse leads
Current Streak: 1, Bonnies
First Meeting: Syracuse invited St. Bonaventure over in 1923 for some still-new-to-society Faust Instant Coffee and Wonderbread. Then, SU decided it was also a good day to pound the Bonnies on the hardwood (not a euphemism), 29-12. One St. Bonaventure player tried to take a shot at Atticus Leo Andrew Rautins’s junk, but missed and caught team manager Jim Boeheim in the butt, leading to fisticuffs at the gymnasium.
Last Meeting: In a loss most people could see coming from miles away, St. Bonaventure came to the Dome last December and walked out with a 60-57 overtime win over the Orange.
The Bonnies led by seven at the half, 40-33, with guard Jaylen Adams tallying 21 of his 23 points in the game’s opening 20 minutes. In fact, if it weren’t for a crazy Syracuse run, coupled with a SBU drought in the second half, this game might never have been close. The Bonnies received key contributions from Ladrien Griffin, who finished with nine points, and both Matt Mabley and Idris Taqqee added eight.
St. Bonaventure failed to score in the final 7:17 of regulation, allowing for Syracuse to turn a 13-point deficit into a tie game. Going back to the first half, SBU tallied just 20 points in 25 minutes. Yet, Syracuse still needed a Pachal Chukwu and-one (his only points of the contest) with 1:18 left to secure the extra stanza.
In OT, Courtney Stockard took over, scoring five of the Bonnie’s seven points. And when Oshae Brissett (15 points) was called for a charge, waiving off a go-head bucket, St. Bonaventure was able to wrap up its first win over Syracuse since 1981 (its first win ever at the Dome).
For SU, Frank Howard had a team-high 17 points, shooting 5 for 16 from the field (2 for 8 from three). Sophomore Tyus Battle struggled to score, making just three of his 18 field-goal attempts, an abysmal one of nine on threes.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (43rd year, 1,034-374); St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt (12th year, 197–160— 279–250 overall)
Coach Bio: Schmidt played for Boston College (#BigDeal), then after a slight break from the college game, he took an assistant gig with DII Saint Michael’s. After two seasons there, he moved on to Penn State, then Loyola (Maryland) and Xavier, where he stayed for seven years. He got his first head coaching job at Robert Morris, and after six years of .500ish basketball, he took the Bonnies job. Though things started slow there, he’s built them into a bit of an Atlantic 10 contender now.
Last Year: It was a special season for the Bonnies, finishing in second place in the Atlantic 10 and sporting a 26-8 overall record, 14-4 in the league. Led by senior guards Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure was able to secure an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament, beating UCLA in the First Four and losing to Florida in the first round of March Madness.
Adams was the star, scoring 19 points and dishing out just over five assists per game. The senior shot close to 44 percent from deep and hit at an astounding 85 percent from the free-throw line. Had it not been for Adams’ amazing first half in the Dome last year, the Bonnies might still be looking for their first win inside the Carrier Dome. After his college career came to a close, Adams wound up signing a two-way deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
Last Game: St. Bonaventure dropped a road game at Northeastern, 64-59, its third-straight defeat. The Bonnies and Huskies were all squared at 55, but an Anthony Green dunk with about a minute and a half to play helped Northeastern hold on for the home win.
Three St. Bonaventure players hit double figures in scoring, including senior Courtney Stockard, who finished with 17.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: A senior forward, Stockard is attempting to pick up where Adams and Mobley left off. Stockard is averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebound and just under three assists per game. Over the last three games, Stockard has led the Bonnies in scoring—coincidentally, those three were all loses.
UNLV transfer Jalen Poyser is also someone to keep an eye on. The junior guard is a play maker and has hit for 20 or more points in five games so far this season.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange closes out the non-conference slate on a two-game winning streak. Plus, it rights the wrong of last seasons’ defeat in the Dome.
Other than that, this is another innings-eating win. At 8-4, SU needs to grab as many victories as it possibly can, especially with ACC play beginning the following weekend. The Bonnies aren’t the Bonnies of last season, so winning doesn’t truly make up for the Dec. 2017 loss. Really, the only truly notable outcome wouldn’t be if Syracuse wins, it would be...
If Syracuse Loses: Last year’s St. Bonaventure was a tourney team led by talented senior guards. This year’s St. Bonaventure is still trying to find its way and will certainly not be a part of March Madness. A loss here for Syracuse could actually be worse than the previous home defeat to Old Dominion. And it would be the fifth loss before January for Jim Boeheim’s team. That’s unfathomable.
Fun Fact No. 1: Did you know that former Syracuse Orange player and assistant coach Mike Hopkins once interviewed for the head-coaching position at St. Bonaventure? Following the national championship win in March of 2003, the Bonnies came calling for Hop, looking for the young Boeheim protege to help turn around the program and help distance itself from an NCAA scandal.
Hop, of course, said “no thanks” to SBU,
stayed at Syracuse, and eventually took over the program once Jim Boeheim retired. and went on his way.
Fun Fact No. 2: Mark Schmidt is clearly one heck of a good coach, but he doesn’t register on the coaching radar when it comes to a couple of SBU alums. Former Detroit Pistons head coach (and leader of the original Dream Team), Chuck Daly graduated from St. Bonaventure. And, many years prior, so too did MLB player and manager John McGraw. McGraw, a Hall of Famer, led the New York Giants as manager for thirty years (with brief interruptions), and won the World Series three times in total.