Bonnies Take A-10 Win Streak to Duquesne

St. Bonaventure will look to build off its first road win of the season when it makes the short trip to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne on Saturday.

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ST. BONAVENTURE (9-8, 2-2 A-10) at DUQUESNE (9-9, 0-4 A-10)
DATE: Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010
SITE: A.J. Palumbo Center (5,358)
TIP-OFF: 7:00 p.m. EST
RADIO: WPIG (95.7 FM) & WHDL (1450 AM) - Olean
SERIES: Duquesne leads, 54-47
LAST MEETING: January 31, 2009
Duquesne 74, St. Bona 68
UP NEXT: vs. Dayton
Saturday, January 30, 2010 @ 7 p.m.

St. Bonaventure will look to build off its first road win of the season when it makes the short trip to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne on Saturday. Behind big nights from sophomores ANDREW NICHOLSON and MICHAEL DAVENPORT, the Bonnies were able to hold on to a 70-69 win at UMass Wednesday night. A win would give the Brown and White their first three-game A-10 win streak since the 2001-02 season. The Dukes, on the other hand, have dropped five in a row, including all four of the A-10 games, but have posted six of their nine wins on the season at the Palumbo Center.

Duquesne owns a 54-47 edge in the all-time series and has won eight of its last 11 against the Brown and White. The Bonnies have managed to win two of the last four meetings at the Palumbo Center by a combined three points. The two teams have squared off 16 times at the Palumbo Center since it opened in 1989, with the Dukes holding a 10-6 advantage. Last season, Duquesne became the first team to sweep the season series since 1994. The two teams have met twice during the regular season six times since 1994 and will square off again in the regular season home finale for the Brown and White on March 3.

St. Bonaventure is 4-4 all-time when playing on January 23, dating back to the 1975-76 season in the Bona record books - the final season that has actual dates recorded. Oddly enough, two of those losses have come against Duquesne at the Palumbo Center in 2005 and 2008, respectively. The last win on this date came in 1993 against Canisius. Under first-year head coach Jim Baron, St. Bonaventure received 18 points from sophomore DAVID VANTERPOOL en route to a 67-62 win over the Griffs and their first-year head coach John Belein.

Picked to finish fifth in the A-10 preseason poll, Duquesne's 0-4 start in conference play is one of the most misleading stats of the 2009-10 season. The Dukes have lost each of their last three games by less than eight points, including overtime defeats at Dayton and against Saint Louis. Duquesne's four A-10 opponents have combined for a 12-5 conference record this season, making up one of the toughest starts to league play. The Dukes are led by A-10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Damian Saunders. The 6-foot-7 junior leads the country with 15 doubles, including nine in a row, and began the week in the top 10 nationally in rebounding (12.9/2nd), blocks (3.4/8th) and steals (2.8/4th). Saunders also chips in a team-best 15.2 points per game, while shooting 52 percent from the floor. Junior Bill Clark, who missed last game due to NCAA a possible NCAA secondary violation, is second on the team in scoring at 14.1 per game. Clark was a Bonnie killer last season, averaging 20.5 points over two games against the Brown and White last season. Sophomore B.J. Monteiro is having a breakout sophomore campaign with averages of 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, while classmate Eric Evans has taken over the point guard reigns from graduated A-10 All-Conference first team choice Aaron Jackson. Evans has started all 18 games, posting averages of 10.3 points and a team-best 3.8 assists.


@ St. Bonaventure: 32-45 (3rd Season)
Overall: 114-135 (9th Season)
Atlantic 10: 10-26 (3rd Season)
vs. Duquesne: 3-5

@ Duquesne: 57-54 (4th Season)
Overall: 232-225 (16th Season)
Atlantic 10: 22-29 (4thSeason)
vs. St. Bonaventure: 3-2

Sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON had big time success against Duquesne in 2008-09, including a career-night at the Palumbo Center. The 6-foot-9 Nicholson went for 18 points and eight rebounds in a loss at the Reilly Center, but responded with a career-high 29 points, 12 rebounds and six rejections later last January on the road. In two games against the Dukes, Nicholson is averaging 23.5 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game while shooting 20-of-26 from the floor.

Sophomores DA'QUAN COOK, MICHAEL DAVENPORT and ANDREW NICHOLSON were all in the starting five together for the first time last Saturday in St. Bonaventure's 68-65 win over Saint Joseph's. The trio returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday at UMass and led the Brown and White to another win against the Minutemen. Through their two games in the starting lineup together, the super sophs have combined to score 85 points (42.5 ppg) and grab 47 (23.5 rpg) of the team's 72 rebounds. The trio has accounted for 41 percent of the team's scoring and 42 percent of the rebounding this season while shooting a combined 55 percent from the floor. Davenport and Nicholson have scored in double figures in the same game seven times, leading the Bonnies to a 6-1 mark.

With the team's best all-around player in senior JONATHAN HALL out of the lineup due to injury, sophomore MICHAEL DAVENPORT has taken full advantage of the extra minutes and starting role over the last two games. Davenport has posted averages of 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds over 31.5 minutes during the two games. The Cincinnati, Ohio product equaled a career-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Saint Joseph's and followed with his first career double-double at UMass (16 points & 10 rebounds) last game.

Sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON is the center of attention for opposing teams. That hasn't stopped the reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year from avoiding a sophomore slump, as the Canadian big man leads the team in both scoring (15.9) and rebounding (7.9). Nicholson leads the A-10 with a 61.5 percent (112-182) field goal percentage and is one of just two players to rank in top 10 in the conference in both scoring (9th) and rebounding (8th). Nicholson poured in a game-high 26 points on 11-of-15 from the field against St. John's and then equaled a career-high with 29 points and a career-best 14 boards against Norfolk State. His most recent scoring outburst came at UMass where he sank 10-of-18 from the field for a game-high 26 points. Nicholson has a team-high four 20-point games this season, three double-doubles and five double-digit rebound games. Nicholson has led the team in both scoring and rebounding nine times this season, including both in the same game on five occasions.

After a freshman season in which he averaged 3.3 points and played sparingly, MICHAEL DAVENPORT has shown major progress in his sophomore campaign. After scoring in double figures one time in 2008-09, the Cincinnati, Ohio product has already produced eight double-digit efforts this season. The Bonnies are 7-1 when the 6-foot-3 guard reaches double figures. Davenport is fourth on the team in scoring (9.4), third in assists (44) and third in rebounding (4.4).

Blessed with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and plenty of bounce, sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON'S career 61 percent shoot clip is aided by his ability to dunk the basketball. Through 47 career games, Nicholson has thrown down 67 dunks out of his 266 field goals. In 2008-09, Nicholson had 37 dunks and has followed with 30 already this season. Nicholson set a career-high with seven slams at Niagara on Dec. 22. The Mississauga, Ontario product has a dunk in 29 career games, including 20 multi-dunk performances and 11 games of three or more dunks.

After becoming just the second player in program history to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists in the same year, senior JONATHAN HALL is quietly putting together another solid season. Hall ranks second on the club in nearly every statistical category; points (12.1), rebounds (4.9), assists (3.5), blocks (10) and field goal percentage (.556). The Miami, Fla. native has scored in double figures a team-best 13 times, grabbed five or more rebounds seven times and passed out at least five assists on four occasions. Both of Hall's double-doubles this season have come on the road. Hall ranks second in the A-10 in field goal percentage and ninth in assist/turnover ratio (+1.5). Hall has missed the last two games with a foot injury.

Senior CHRIS MATTHEWS has continued to display the shooting stroke that helped him sink 81 three-pointers a year ago. Matthews equaled the school record of eight three-pointers against Illinois State, while also tying his own career-best of 28 points. The Washington, D.C. product's 3.1 three-pointers per game currently lead the A-10 and rank 13th in the country. Matthews has made three or more treys in a game nine times already this season helping him rank third on the team in scoring at 11.4 per game. In just 47 games as a Bonnie, Matthews has moved into ninth place on the all-time three-pointer list with 133.

Sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON has picked up his play on the glass with the start of A-10 action. Through the first four conference games, Nicholson is averaging 10 boards per contest - good for seventh-best in league play. Nicholson posted his third double-double of the year against Saint Joseph's with 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Mississauga native is also scoring a team-best 16.5 points in A-10 action to average a double-double.

Who says big men can't shoot? According to the most recent NCAA statistics, sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON is less than one percentage point away at the charity stripe from being the only player in the nation shooting 60 percent or better from the field and at least 80 percent from the free throw line. To be eligible for the rankings, the player has to make five field goals per game and an average of 2.5 free throws per contest. The 6-foot-9 second-year forward is sixth in the A-10 in free throw percentage (.797) after making a perfect 6-of-6 at UMass. He also leads the conference and ranks third in the country in field goal percentage (.615).

The Bonnies have taken the lead into the locker room in 11 of 17 games, including six leads of 13 points or more. St. Bonaventure out-scored those 10 opponents 407-290, good for a +10.6 margin. As a team, the Bonnies are shooting 47.3 percent in the first stanza this season. Sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON is averaging team bests of 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds over the opening 20 minutes. St. Bonaventure trailed at the half against Saint Joseph's, but erased the nine-point deficit to pick up their first comeback win.

St. Bonaventure has been extremely efficient on offense this season. The Bonnies have shot 50 percent or better in eight of the 17 games and are shooting at an impressive 48 percent clip for the year - tops in the A-10 and 30th in the nation. The easy buckets around the rim have led to a 618-548 edge in points in the paint. The 618 points in the paint account for 51 percent of the team's offense and 36.3 points per game.

Thanks to solid interior play, easy buckets in transition and points off turnovers, St. Bonaventure has shot an impressive 48 percent from the field to lead the A-10 and rank 30th in the nation. The Bonnies have shot over 50 percent in eight of 17 games and 15 of 34 periods, while finishing with a better shooting percentage than 13 of their 17 opponents. The Brown and White's best shooting performance of the season came against Norfolk State when it finished 37-of-55 from the field for a 67 percent clip. The team's top percentage in a half came over the opening 20 minutes of the season against Cleveland State when it sank 77 percent (17-22) of its shots. Sophomore ANDREW NICHOLSON (.615) and senior JONATHAN HALL (.556) rank first and second in the A-10, respectively, and in the top 27 nationally in field goal percentage. St. Bonaventure had finished with a 50 percent shooting percentage or better just eight times over two previous seasons.

Partial credit for St. Bonaventure's sensational shooting percentage is its improvement in passing the ball. The Bonnies currently rank second in the A-10 in assists per game at 15.3. As a team, St. Bonaventure has passed out an assist on 56.5 percent of its field goals, including a season-best 26 against Norfolk State. Junior point guard MALCOLM ELEBY ranks third in the A-10 at 4.2 per game and has led the team in assists eight times. Sophomore MICHAEL DAVENPORT passed out a team season-high and career-best eight assists in the win over Norfolk State, while senior JONATHAN HALL equaled that season-high of eight at Charlotte. As a team, the Bonnies have had 15 or more assists in 10 games and a trio of contests with 20 or more helpers. St. Bonaventure has also had a positive assist/turnover ratio in seven games.

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