Bonnies hit the road to battle No. 25 NC State on ESPN3 Saturday

Courtesy of GoBonnies.com.

St. Bonaventure (7-3) vs. No. 25/RV NC State (8-2)
Saturday, Dec. 22 | 3 PM | PNC Arena (19,722)
Game Notes:
St. Bona | NC State | Atlantic 10
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There is alumni pre-game reception at the Backyard Bistro, located just across the street from the arena, beginning at 12:30. Address: 1235 Hurricane Alley Way, Raleigh, N.C.

The game will be produced by ESPN and streamed on ESPN3. The broadcast is free, but fans must login with their cable provider information. For more information, click here.

Opening Tip
Having defeated its last two opponents by 74 combined points, St. Bonaventure heads into its game at No. 25/RV NC State Saturday looking for its best start to a season since the 2001-02 campaign. That team also started 8-3 before finishing with 17 wins and making an appearance in the NIT. The Bonnies will be looking to avenge a last-second loss against the Wolfpack last year in Rochester, 67-65. NC State – the preseason ACC favorite this year – completed a full-court entry pass, and C.J. Leslie finished a tough-angle layup with .8 seconds left. Subsequent replays showed that Leslie may have stepped on the baseline, but the call stood.

Last Time Out
Bonaventure displayed its balanced offensive attack once again as five scorers reached double figures, and four netted at least 15 points to help lead the Brown and White to a dominant 97-57 win over The Citadel Wednesday night. St. Bona set season highs in points, assists (26), steals (13) and field-goal percentage (56.5) against the Southern Conference member. The 26 assists are the most by the Bonnies in a game since the 2009-10 season when they dished out the same amount against Norfolk State on Nov. 28. Additionally, the 13 steals in a game are the most since that same 2009-10 year against Duquesne when they also had 13 thefts.

Historic Win
Combined with its 87-53 victory over Cleveland State on Saturday, St. Bonaventure has now won by 30 points or more in consecutive games for the first time since the 1969-70 season. During that season, the Bob Lanier-led Bonnies defeated Baldwin-Wallace (96-63) and Loyola, Md. (96-52) in back-to-back contests. Later in that year, SBU and NC State met in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament as the Bonnies eventually advanced to the Final Four.

Tough Closing Stretch
The game against NC State marks the first of a difficult closing non-conference stretch for the Bonnies. SBU finishes is non-league docket with three teams which went to the NCAA Tournament last year, beginning with the Wolfpack, continuing with Iona and concluding with a trip to Colorado State.

NC State-SBU History
Prior to last season’s meeting, the only other time St. Bonaventure and NC State faced each other was in the Second Round of the 1970 NCAA Tournament. Behind 24 points and 19 rebounds from NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, Bonaventure earned an 80-68 win and go on to reach the Final Four. Ironically, St. Bonaventure held a 39-37 halftime lead in both that game and last year’s contest.

Raleigh History
While Bonaventure has never played NC State in Raleigh, the Bonnies do have a history in town. They are winless in two games they have played, with losses to North Carolina and Columbia in the 1968 NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels topped SBU in the Second Round, while Columbia prevailed in the subsequent consolation.

Additionally, last year the St. Bonaventure women’s team dropped its Sweet Sixteen game in Raleigh against eventual national runner-up Notre Dame. Current sophomores Jordan Gathers and Youssou Ndoye were part of the hundreds of students who made the 600-mile trip as SBU finished the year 31-4.

Scouting NC State
^ While NC State is ranked 25th in the AP Poll, the Wolfpack checks in ranked 8th in the RPI
^ NC State has won its last four games; its two losses this year are to current No. 2 Michigan, 79-72, and No. 24 Oklahoma State, 76-56
^ The Wolfpack entered the week leading the nation in field-goal percentage (53.0) and rank 30th overall in points per game (78.4)
^ Senior Richard Howell leads the Wolfpack in scoring at 14.4 points and rebounds at 9.8 per game; the 6-8 forward has posted five double-doubles this season
^ Senior Scott Wood’s 254 career 3-pointers lead all active ACC players
^ NC State has five players averaging double-figure points
^ NC State is ranked 26th in the nation in Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage with 39.1%
^ T.J. Warren (1st, 68.2%), Howell (3rd, 67.5%) and C.J. Leslie (32nd, 58%) are ranked in the top-32 in the nation for their field-goal percentage
^ NC State has outscored its opponents this season, 185-67, on fastbreak points; by comparison, SBU has outscored its opposition, 90-52
^ Leslie has scored in double digits nine times this year and has posted three double-doubles
^ Junior forward Lorenzo Brown leads the Wolfpack in assists this year at 5.9 per game, an average which ranks 23rd nationally

Bonnies vs. The ACC
# The Bonnies are 13-22 against current ACC members
# SBU was 0-3 against ACC foes last year
# Bonaventure has lost six straight games to current ACC members
# SBU’s last victory over a current ACC member came against Virginia Tech on Nov. 22, 2002 when the Hokies were part of the Big East (that win was later vacated)
# Bona’s last victory over an ACC opponent when that team was a member of the ACC came against Duke in a 1971 NIT consolation game

Specialty Stats
St. Bonaventure turned 20 Citadel turnovers on Wednesday into a season-high 30 points. That total, coupled with the 26 it converted against Cleveland State last Saturday, represents 30.6 percent of its cumulative points off turnovers for the year (56 of 183). Additionally, the Bona bench has produced 90 points in the last two games – 44 against The Citadel and 46 opposite Cleveland State. That represents 36.6 percent of its entire total for the year (246 points).

Perfect Backcourt
Both Eric Mosley and Jordan Gathers came off the bench against The Citadel and combined to issue 13 assists. Mosley had a career-high seven, while Gathers also set a career high with his six. Those two totals both represent single-game highs by any Bona player in assists so far this year. Even more impressive is that neither Mosley nor Gathers had a turnover. On the year, Gathers leads the Bonnies with a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio (19 assists, 7 turnovers), and Mosley is second on the team at 2.2 (20 assists, 9 turnovers).

Bonnies vs. BCS
This will be Bonaventure’s first game of the year against a BCS school. Bonaventure faced four BCS teams last year, going 0-4, but losing three of them (Illinois, NC State, Florida State) by five points or less. In his previous five years at the helm of SBU, head coach Mark Schmidt is 2-9 against BCS teams, but his teams have fielded high-quality performances as seven of those nine losses have been by five points or less.

Leading Wire-to-Wire
Charlon Kloof opened the scoring Wednesday with a 3-pointer just 12 seconds into SBU’s game against The Citadel, and the Bonnies never looked back, leading the entire 40 minutes. It marked the second time this year already that Bonaventure has never trailed in a game, with the other coming at Cornell in its first road game of the season.

Coming On Strong
Over the last three games, sophomore Jordan Gathers has shown signs of why he started the final nine games of last year. Through the first seven games of the year, the guard has scored just six total points, played 58 minutes and issued six assists against five turnovers. Over the last three games, the California native has scored 20 points, played 68 minutes and issued 13 assists against two turnovers.

Best December In A Decade?
With a win against NC State, St. Bonaventure would pick up its fifth win in the month of December for the first time since the 2001-02 team claimed six victories.

Next Up
After an eight-day break – the longest of the season – the Bonnies return to action in their final home non-conference game of the year against Iona on Monday, Dec. 31, at 1 p.m.

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