DUQUESNE (13-6, 4-2 A-10)
GAME DAY CENTRAL
DATE: Saturday, January 31, 2009
SITE: A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358)
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m.
RADIO: WPIG (95.7 FM) & WHDL (1450 AM) - Olean WXRL (1300 AM) - Buffalo
TALENT: Gary Nease (play-by-play)
WEB AUDIO & VIDEO: www.GoBonnies.com
SERIES: Duquesne leads, 53-47
LAST MEETING: Jan. 10, 2009 Duquesne 98, St. Bonaventure 80
UP NEXT: Saturday, February 7, 2009 vs. La Salle @ 7 p.m.
AT A GLANCE
St. Bonaventure will gladly put an end to a hectic month of January when it takes on Duquesne on Saturday night at the Palumbo Center. After opening the new year with a pair of wins, the Bonnies have dropped five of their last six, including three in a row. The game will be the Dukes first in almost a week, while the Brown and White will play their league-high eighth A-10 contest of the month. Oddly enough, the road has been St. Bonaventure's saving grace, as its compiled an impressive 7-1 record away from the Reilly Center, including two victories that followed home losses.
Duquesne owns a 52-48 edge in the all-time series and has won seven of its last 10 against the Brown and White. The Bonnies have managed to win two of the last three meetings at the Palumbo Center by a combined three points. The two teams have squared off 15 times in the Palumbo Center since it opened in 1989, with the Dukes holding a 10-5 advantage. Neither team has swept the regular season series since Duquesne did in 1994 - its first season back in the A-10 after a one-year hiatus. The two teams have met twice during the regular season five times since 1994.
THIS DAY IN BONA BASKETBALL
St. Bonaventure is just 2-7 all-time when playing on January 31, dating back to the 1975-76 season in the Bona record books - the final season that has actual dates recorded. The Brown and White's last win on this date came in 1999 at the Reilly Center against Saint Joseph's. St. Bonaventure snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Hawks and improved to 9-0 at home with its 70-56 win. Rashaan Palmer led the way with 18 points.
SCOUTING THE DUKES
Duquesne (13-6) sports a youthful, but balanced lineup under third-year head coach Ron Everhart. The Dukes enter Saturday's tilt in sole possession of fourth place in the A-10 standings with a 4-2 record. Duquesne also played Fordham in its last conference game, taking down the Rams 89-68 in the Bronx. A-10 Player of the Year candidate Aaron Jackson is the only player in the league to rank in the top four in scoring (17.0), assists (5.9) and steals (1.9). Sophomore standout Damian Saunders couples his 14.1 points per contest with Jackson to form the A-10's third-best scoring tandem at a combined 31.1 points. Saunders, an A-10 All-Rookie team choice in 2008, ranks third in the league at 8.1 caroms per game, while his 40 blocks and 38 steals rank fourth and second, respectively. Sophomore Bill Clark has elevated his play in his second season, averaging 12.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. Clark torched the Bonnies for a career-high 24 points in the first meeting of the season and is coming off a 22-point effort at Fordham. The Dukes sport one of the most potent offenses in the A-10, ranking second at 80.5 points per game. Duquesne is fueled by a league-high's of 17.8 assists and nine three-pointers per game, figures that rank eighth and 14th nationally, respectively.
HEAD COACHING MATCHUP
ST. BONAVENTURE HEAD COACH
@ St. Bonaventure: 19-31 (2nd Season)
Overall: 101-121 (8th Season)
Atlantic 10 Record: 4-19
Vs. Duquesne: 3-4
DUQUESNE HEAD COACH
@ Duquesne: 40-38 (3rd Season)
Overall: 214-210 (15th Season)
Atlantic 10 Record: 17-21
Vs. St. Bonaventure: 3-2
Lost in St. Bonaventure's 80-68 loss at Dayton was the shooting performance of junior Chris Matthews. The Washington, D.C., native tied a school record with eight three-pointers en route to a career-high 28 points. Matthews' eight long range makes is the sixth of its kind in program history and the 19th-best total by a Division I player this season. Matthews has made five or more threes in a game four times this season and his 54 trifectas are 43 more than the next highest Bonnie. Matthews has at least one three-pointer in 18 contests and his 14 trifectas over the last three games is his best three-game span of the season. The junior guard ranks fourth in the A-10 at 2.7 long range field goals per game. Matthews has 63 percent (54-of-86) of the team's three-pointers this season and is just 12 makes from entering the single season top 10.
The start of Atlantic 10 action has been fast and furious for St. Bonaventure, who will play its league-high eighth conference game at Duquesne. The Brown and White have played the A-10's top four teams in the current standings with its six opponents combining for a league record of 24-10. St. Bonaventure has dropped all four home contests, including a pair to unbeaten Xavier (6-0) and Saint Joseph's (5-0), but has won two road games.
After winning one road game last year and just five over the previous three seasons, St. Bonaventure has posted a 7-1 mark in true road games this season. The Bonnies have out-rebounded seven road opponents for a +7.4 margin and have finished with a 47 percent shooting clip or better in five of those games. St. Bonaventure has taken a lead into the locker room five times, including a trio of double figure advantages. The team's most impressive road stat might be that they've trailed for only 80 minutes and 16 seconds out of a possible 335 minutes played. The team's seven consecutive wins on the road to start the season is a school record, besting the start set by the 1967-68 NCAA Tournament team. St. Bonaventure's seven true road wins ties the single-season record set by the 2001-02 team, while the 1969-70 NCAA Final Four squad owns the record for most wins away from home in a season with 12.
MO THOMAS, MO PROBLEMS
The argument can be made that the more time Junior Maurice "Mo" Thomas gets, the better off the Bonnies are. Out of his 18 games played, Thomas has been on the court 20 or more minutes 10 times. Thomas has been ultra-productive over those 10 games, accumulating all six of his team-best 10 double-doubles, seven double-digit scoring efforts and seven games with 10 or more rebounds. Below is a breakdown of Thomas' averages in the 10 games of 20+ minutes and his other eight games.
PTS. REB. DBL-DBL 10+ REB 20+ Min. (10) 13.1 9.3 6 7 -20 Min. (8) 5.0 3.4 0 0
THE BENSON FACTOR
Senior Tyler Benson has fond memories of his seven career games against Duquesne. That's because the nearby Morgantown, W.Va., native has had the top two career scoring performances against the Dukes, including a 24-point night at the Palumbo Center on Feb. 24, 2007. In that game, Benson sank 8-of-13 from the field, highlighted by 5-of-10 from long range, en route to his career night. Three of Benson's six career double figure scoring games have come against Duquesne.
Freshman Andrew Nicholson has more than lived up to the hype that crossed the Canadian border with him. The 6-foot-9 forward from Mississauga, Ontario has won the A-10 Rookie of the Week honor a league-best four times, including three consecutive over November and December. Nicholson is averaging 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Nicholson leads all A-10 Rookies in blocks and field goal percentage (.602), ranking second overall in the A-10 in both categories. On the season, Nicholson has scored in double figures 14 times and has led the team in both scoring and rebounding seven times. Nicholson just missed recording a triple-double at Bucknell with 22 points, eight rebounds and a school record nine blocks. He is just one of three Bona players to record a double-double this season, while his 22 dunks are tops on the team. Below is a look at how Nicholson stacks up amongst the league's rookies and leaders.
Category Stat A-10 Rookies A-10 Overall Scoring 12.6 2nd - FG Percentage$ .602 1st 2nd Rebounding 5.8 2nd 19th Blocks* 3.0 1st 2nd* - Ranks 5th nationally and is tops amongst all freshman
$ - Ranks 15th nationally and is tops amongst all freshman
Junior Maurice Thomas has been a double-double machine as of late. The Philadelphia, Pa., product has registered a double-double in four Atlantic 10 contests, ranking second amongst the conference leaders. On the season, Thomas has six of St. Bonaventure's eight double-doubles on the season. He leads the team in both rebounding (6.7) and offensive rebounds (43) - figures ranks eighth and 12th in the A-10, respectively. Thomas' rebounding prowess is evident by his two or more offensive caroms in 13 of the last 14 games.
JOHN OF ALL TRADES
Junior Jonathan Hall currently leads the Bonnies in scoring at 13.5 points per game, good for 16th in the Atlantic 10. Hall has shown consistency at the offensive end, finishing in double figures in 17 games, including the first nine, while leading the team in scoring on six occasions. The Miami, Fla., native can do more than just score evident by his team-high 60 assists. Hall also averages 6.0 rebounds, including 2.1 offensive, and has 26 steals and 13 blocks - all of which are in the top three on the team. Hall also ranks among the conference leaders in field goal percentage (.487/7th) and minutes per game (34.9/7th). Hall has played 30 or more minutes in 19 of 20 games this season. Below is a look at the number of games Hall has led the team in each category, including ties.
PTS REB AST STL BLK 6 3 7 5 2