Freshmen, swarming defense propel Bonnies to 48-point win

LaDarien Griffin (15) and Nelson Kaputo (4) combined to score 26 points in the win. (Photo courtesy of St. Bonaventure University Athletic Communications)

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OLEAN, N.Y. — Over and over, steals turned to offense for St. Bonaventure on Monday night. The result was a 48-point win over Maryland Eastern Shore, 96-48, moving the Bonnies to 2-1 on the season.

The Bonnies grabbed 16 steals, forced 23 turnovers and scored 23 points off those turnovers in earning the program’s most lopsided win since Jan. 2, 1974, when St. Bonaventure downed Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio), now a Division III member, by 50 points, 122-72.

The last time the Bonnies held a team to 48 points or less was Dec. 19, 2015, in a 64-45 win over South Carolina State.

Freshmen Izaiah Brockington and Tshiefu Ngalakulondicombined for 39 points. Ngalakulondi scored 21 and Brockington had 18, both highs in their young careers. Ngalakulondi, a 6-6 small forward, made four of his six three-point shots and had three steals. Not to be outdone by his roommate, Brockington was 3-3 from three-point range and added five assists and four steals.

St. Bonaventure also got 19 points from Matt Mobley, a career high 15 from Nelson Kaputo and 11 from LaDarien Griffin. Mobley had seven of the team’s 23 assists while Kaputo came up with five steals.

Even without star senior point guard Jaylen Adams, who missed his third straight game with an ankle sprain, the Bonnies went 14-24 (58 percent) from three-point range and made 61.5 percent of their shots from the field overall. It was the best shooting game for the Bonnies since their 2016 win over Saint Joseph’s in Rochester, when they connected on over 63 percent from the field.

Maryland Eastern Shore had an early 7-4 lead before the Bonnies scored 19 of the next 24 points to take a 23-12 edge. The lead only grew from there, moving to 25 points with 3:01 remaining in the first half at 44-19. The Hawks (1-3) never threatened the rest of the night.

Stats Of The Game
St. Bonaventure’s defense capitalized on UMES miscues to the tune of 23 points off 23 turnovers.

Milestone Win
The win was the 250th in the career of head coach Mark Schmidt. He is now 250-235 over 17 seasons (six at Robert Morris, the rest at St. Bonaventure).

Post-Game Quotes: Coach Mark Schmidt
“We’re not near where we need to be, but we’re taking steps in the right direction. Hopefully we can build on this win. Games like this go along way not only for team confidence, but for individual players.”

Playing freshmen: “When you have your best players out …it gives someone else an opportunity to play … that whole ‘next man up’ mentality. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. I thought both the freshmen played really well for us and gave us a lift. And not just in the second half, but I thought they came in, in the first half and did some stuff. It’s good to see that when we have some guys hurt, other guys can step up and help us win.”

“It helps build the guys’ confidence. The only way you learn how to win, is winning. The younger guys have never been in this type of environment and the more they can be in this setting and have success, the better they’re going to be as we go forward.”

On point guard Nelson Kaputo: “He played well. He’s still bothered by his groin, but just like anything it gave him some more confidence. He’s playing a little bit better coming off of the Niagara game and we need him to.”

Up Next: St. Bonaventure will travel to Destin, Fla., for the third and fourth rounds of the Emerald Coast Classic. The Bonnies will face Maryland on Friday, Nov. 24, at 9:30 ET on CBS Sports Network.

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