Saint Joseph's (19-11) at St. Bonaventure (16-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 29th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- Olean, New York. Television: None. Home Record: SJU 12-3, St. Bonnies 10-2. Away Record: SJU 5-7, St. Bonnies 6-7. Neutral Record: SJU 2-1, St. Bonnies 0-1. Conference Record: SJU 9-6, St. Bonnies 9-5. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 45-15.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Joseph's Hawks bring the curtain down on the 2011-12 regular season tonight, as they have made the trip to Olean, New York to tangle with the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in Atlantic 10 Conference action.
After back-to-back 20-loss seasons, Saint Joseph's has rebounded this year to the tune of a 19-11 overall record and it is currently sitting in fifth place in the competitive A-10 with a 9-6 league ledger. The Hawks are getting hot at the right time, as they are winners of four of their last five, including a big win over cross-town rival Temple on Saturday, 82-72. The victory over the Owls only enhances an impressive resume' for Saint Joseph's, as it has also registered quality wins over Creighton, Drexel and Massachusetts this year.
St. Bonaventure has also put together a solid season at 16-10 overall and they are a half game up on SJU in the A-10 standings with a 9-5 conference mark. The Bonnies are riding a three-game win streak, which includes a convincing 72-56 win at Charlotte on Saturday. They have been impressive in front of their home fans as well, winning 10 of 12 games at the Reilly Center.
Saint Joseph's has dominated the all-time series with St. Bonaventure, 45-15, which includes victories in 12 of the last 13 meetings.
Saint Joseph's was lifted to victory over Big 5 rival and nationally-ranked Temple over the weekend behind an impressive offensive performance. The Hawks shot 47.1 percent from the field, made nine three-pointers, converted 25-of-34 free-throws, and had four players score in double figures in the win. Langston Galloway tallied 22 points, Carl Jones and Ronald Roberts, Jr. netted 18 apiece, and Halil Kanacevic finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. The strong scoring output was no fluke for the Hawks, as they average 71.3 ppg on the strength of the A-10's second- best field goal percentage (.469). Jones (16.2 ppg) and Galloway (15.7 ppg) are both top-10 scorers in the conference, while C.J. Aiken (11.1 ppg), Roberts Jr. (10.8 ppg) and Kanacevic (9.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) all contribute to a balanced attack. Saint Joseph's also plays solid defense, ranking first in the conference with a field goal percentage against of only .394.
St. Bonaventure went on the road and handily beat Charlotte on Saturday in one of its best overall efforts of the season. The Bonnies shot 48.1 percent from the field and 86.7 percent from the foul line, while holding the 49ers to only 21-of-55 shooting overall. Andrew Nicholson continued his torrid pace of late with a 25-point, 11-rebound performance. On the season, Nicholson ranks third in the conference in scoring (17.3 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (8.1 rpg), but believe it or not, he's been even more dominant in the last six games, averaging 25.2 ppg and 11.7 rpg over than span. The Bonnies have the third- best scoring margin in the league (+6.3). Alongside Nicholson, Demetrius Conger is the only other player to average double figures in the scoring column with 11.7 ppg, but four others chip in at least 6.7 ppg.
While rarely spectacular, St. Bonaventure has been solid from start to finish this season, especially at home. Saint Joseph's has been hot of late and will play tough wire-to-wire. All that said, expect the Bonnies to prevail behind another outstanding performance from Nicholson.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 72, Saint Joseph's 68
02/29 10:41:32 ET