St. Bonaventure (1-0) @ Cornell (1-0)
Wednesday, Nov. 14 | 7 PM | Newman Arena (4,473)
TV: NBC Sports Network
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St. Bonaventure aims to start a season 2-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign when it heads to Ithaca, N.Y., to face the Cornell Big Red in a nationally televised game on the NBC Sports Network Wednesday evening at 7.
Getting Off On The Right Foot
St. Bonaventure has struggled recently in its first road game of the season, going just 1-9 in such contests over the last decade. SBU's only win during that stretch came on Nov. 17, 2008, against Marist as the Bonnies claimed a 77-54 victory. Bonaventure has lost those nine games by an average of nearly 13 points, including a 17.6 average in the five years prior to Mark Schmidt taking over the program in 2007-08. Since then, the Bonnies have lost their four road openers by an average of just 6.7 points, including two of the last three by three points each.
St. Bonaventure will be making its first TV appearance of the year against Cornell – the first of 11 scheduled regular-season television appearances, including two national broadcasts. SBU was 2-3 in national TV games last year, but all three losses – at Illinois, vs. Temple and vs. Florida State – came by a combined 14 points. Over the last two years total, St. Bona is 11-9 in TV games; meanwhile, Cornell is still seeking its first win in such games as the Big Red are 0-8.
Tale Of Two Halves
After holding just a 40-38 halftime lead in last year's meeting with Cornell, Bonaventure exploded on offense and locked down on defense in the second half to cruise to a 21-point win, 79-58 – the largest SBU margin of victory in series history. The Big Red knocked down eight 3-pointers (8-14) in the first half and shot 52 percent from the floor (13-25), but were shutout from long range in the second half, going 0-6 and connecting at just a 30-percent clip from the floor (6-20).
Aiming For 60
Over the last two years, Cornell is 0-14 when scoring fewer than 60 points in a game. Two of those 14 losses have come at the hands of the Bonnies as the Brown and White has held the Big Red to 58 and 54 points the last two seasons. Last year St. Bonaventure kept 11 teams from reaching the 60-point plateau, and it went 9-2 in such outings (losses to Arkansas State, 58-52, and Illinois, 48-43). Over the last two years, the Bonnies are 12-3 when limiting teams to fewer than 60 points.
^ The Big Red beat Western Michigan, 63-55, to open the season
^ Freshman guard Nolan Cressler had 20 points off the bench in Cornell's season-opening win, connecting on 7-12 field goals, including 6-8 3-point field goals
^ Cornell was picked to finish 4th in the 2012 Ivy League Preseason Poll
^ The Big Red finished 12-16 last year and return 13 letterwinners and three starters
^ Sophomore Shonn Miller was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season, finishing eighth in the league in rebounding (6.1/game) and second in blocks (1.7/game)
^ In the last two years, Cornell is 17-9 at home and 5-24 on the road
^ Senior guard Johnathan Gray was an Honorable Mention All-Ivy League selection last year in which he ranked sixth in the Ivy League in scoring in league games only (12.3/game)
^ Cornell lost 141 player games due to injury in 2011-12; nine players missed at least three games each
^ The Big Red rejected 13 shots in the season opener against Western Michigan, which represents the second-most in school history (14 vs. Niagara in 1978-79 season)
^ Cornell has 20 players on its roster and starts four seniors
St. Bonaventure-Cornell Series History
Overall: Cornell Leads, 8-5
At St. Bonaventure: Cornell Leads, 5-2
At Cornell: St. Bonaventure Leads, 3-2
At Neutral/Unknown Home Site*: Cornell Leads, 1-0
Most St. Bonaventure Points: 81 (Dec. 8, 1976: 81-73)
Most Cornell Points: 73 (Dec. 8, 1976: 81-73)
Fewest St. Bonaventure Points: 16 (Jan. 1, 1923: 28-16)
Fewest Cornell Points: 23 (Feb. 12, 1929: 23-21)
Largest St. Bonaventure Margin: 21 (Nov. 11, 2011: 79-58)
Largest Cornell Margin: 22 (Jan. 7, 1925: 40-18)
11-11-11 H W 79-58
11-19-10 A W 56-54
12-04-04 H L 58-54
11-29-90 H L 53-52
11-27-89 A L 70-67
12-12-87 A L 61-57
1-3-87 H L 69-66
12-6-77 H W 61-51
12-8-76 A W 81-73
2-12-29 H L 23-21
12-10-27 A W 36-27
1-7-25 N/A L 40-18
1-1-23 H L 28-16
Dominant Down Low
Dominance in the low blocks has been a crucial key in both of Bonaventure's last two wins over the Big Red in the last two years. In the last two meetings combined, the Bonnies have out-scored Cornell in the paint by 30 points, 54-24, and out-rebounded them by a +29 margin, 83-54. Many would assume that the presence of Andrew Nicholson was a big factor in the rebounding discrepancy; however, the First Round NBA Draft Pick was not the leading SBU rebounder in either of the last two meeting against Cornell.
Last year, Da'Quan Cook and Matthew Wright each pulled down a game-high seven boards, with that total representing a career high for Wright. Two years ago it wasDemitrius Conger collecting a game-high, and career-high, 14 rebounds to go along with 22 points for his first career double-double.
Additionally, the Bonnies have capitalized on second-chance points versus the Big Red over the last two years, combining for a 23-10 edge in that category.
Controlling The Rock
In its season-opening win against Bethune-Cookman last Friday, Bonaventure turned the ball over just 10 times, continuing a trend of protecting the ball and picking up wins which dates back to the 2011-12 season. Last year, SBU turned the ball over 10 or fewer times on five occasions and went 4-1 in such contests. One of those was against Cornell as Bona gave the ball away exactly 10 times and picked up a 21-point win.
Nearly Leading Throughout
In its season opener, St. Bonaventure allowed Bethune-Cookman to score the game's first points on a 3-pointer. B-CU held that lead until a Chris Johnson shot gave the Bonnies a 4-3 lead at the 17:36 mark, and SBU never again was tied or trailed. The Brown and White enters the contest with Cornell having led for the last 37 minutes and 24 seconds.
SBU Ivy League Trends
> SBU is 13-11 all-time against Ivy opponents.Among Ivy foes, the Bonnies have faced Cornell the most. SBU is 5-8 against the Big Red.
> SBU has faced Ivy opponents three times in NCAA Tournament games. The Bonnies topped Princeton, 85-67, in a 1961 tournament consolation game, lost to Columbia, 95-75, in a 1968 tournament consolation game and lost to Pennsylvania, 92-83, in an NCAA First Round game in 1978.
> Schmidt is 3-0 vs. Ivy opponents at SBU (two wins over Cornell, one over Princeton). Schmidt never faced an Ivy opponent while coaching at Robert Morris.
St. Bonaventure Bonnies 2-0 Trends
# SBU has started 2-0 49 times in its 92-year history.
# The last time SBU started 2-0 was in 2008-09 (victories over Robert Morris and Marist). The Bonnies finished that season 15-15.
# Bonaventure has finished 36 seasons above .500 after starting 2-0.
# St. Bona has advanced to 15 postseason tournaments after starting 2-0 (4 NCAA, 10 NIT, 1 NCIT).
# Since joining the A-10 in 1979, SBU has started 2-0 13 times. The Bonnies have finished seven of those seasons with 15 or more victories, including three NIT appearances (1998, 2001, 2002).
# SBU has started 2-0 once in Mark Schmidt's five seasons (2008-09).
# As a head coach, Schmidt has guided teams to 2-0 starts twice (2006-07 at Robert Morris and 2008-09 at St. Bonaventure).
# Schmidt's best season start is 4-0 with Robert Morris in 2006-07.
# The last time the Bonnies started 2-0 and made a postseason tournament was in 2001-02, when they went 17-13 and earned a berth in the NIT.
# The last time the Bonnies started 2-0 and made the NCAA Tournament was in 1977-78, when they went 21-8.
# SBU started 2-0 for eight straight seasons from 1968 to 1973.
Recapping The Opener
Consecutive 3-pointers by Demitrius Conger and Matthew Wright midway through the second half awoke a stagnant St. Bonaventure offense and helped push the Bonnies to a 65-55 season-opening win over Bethune-Cookman Friday night.
Precariously holding a 33-32 lead with 13:14 left in the game, Conger hit his only 3 of the night from the left baseline in front of the Bona bench. Wright then flanked out to the same exact spot on a fastbreak on SBU's next possession and knocked down his only 3 of contest. That pushed the lead to seven, and the Wildcats never got closer than six the rest of the way as the Brown and White improved to 33-0 in the Reilly Center in games which serve as both season and home openers.
After the Bonnies raced out to a 17-11 lead not even eight minutes into the contest, the zone-defending Wildcats slowed the game down and turned the Bona offense cold as over the next 18 minutes it mustered just 16 points. The back-to-back 3's not only reignited the 4,215 in attendance, but also the Bonaventure offense as it tallied 32 points over the final 13 minutes of the game.
The 55 points allowed by Bonaventure are the fewest in a season opener since a 68-53 win against New Mexico State on Nov. 17, 2000. Additionally, it's also the fewest points allowed in home opener since a 58-53 victory over Rice on Dec. 3, 1996.
St. Bonaventure heads to Buffalo to battle Little Three rival Canisius on Saturday afternoon at 4.