Delaware (6-6) at St. Bonaventure (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 30, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Delaware 1-1, SBU 4-0. Away Record: Delaware 4-5, SBU 2-3. Neutral Record: Delaware 1-0, SBU 2-1. Conference Record: Delaware 0-0, SBU 0-0. Series Record: Delaware leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams coming off a lengthy break get back to work, as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies battle the Delaware Blue Hens in non-conference action at the Reilly Center.
Delaware has been idle since Dec. 21 when it won in overtime, 108-107, against Bryant at Madison Square Garden. The victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Blue Hens, and lifted them back to .500 on the campaign. Delaware begins a three-game homestand next starting against Liberty on Wednesday.
Charlon Kloof got a shot to fall as time expired to lift the Bonnies to a 74-72 win over Niagara last time out. That bout was also on Dec. 21, meaning the Bonnies have had more than a week to prepare to improve upon their 8-4 overall record. St. Bonaventure will host Cornell this Saturday in the second part of this three-game homestand.
In the only other meeting between these two squads, Delaware captured an 85-81 victory during the 2008-09 season.
There were 15 ties and 11 lead changes in Delaware's battle with Bryant. The final shift in scoring came less than a minute into overtime when Carl Baptiste made a layup to put the Blue Hens up for good. Jarvis Threatt scored 29 points in the game and Davon Usher (25 points) and Devon Saddler (23) each had big games as well.
The 108 points the Blue Hens scored against Bryant broke a three-game slump in which they failed to put in more than 75 points each time out. That is a rather steep decline for a team averaging 82.1 ppg. Even though Delaware is normally potent offensively, it lets itself down by allowing 80.7 ppg to opponents. Saddler (22 ppg) missed some games early on but has shown up in a major way in his five appearances this season. Threatt (18.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.8 apg) is as versatile as they come, and Usher 17.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), Kyle Anderson (13.5 ppg) and Baptiste (11.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) fill out a rather balanced list of contributors.
With 2:39 to play against Niagara, St. Bonaventure trailed, 70-67. The Bonnies then went on a 7-2 run over the final few minutes, capped by Kloof's game winning basket. Kloof finished the game with 18 points while Dion Wright had a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) off the bench.
The Bonnies are not scoring quite as much as Delaware but they have been solid enough, netting 75.2 ppg while shooting at a 45.5 percent clip. SBU also does better work on defense, limiting opponents to just 68.1 ppg and 43 percent shooting. Leading the way for the Bonnies is the backcourt duo of Matthew Wright (15.6 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Kloof (13.2 ppg, 4.3 apg). Wright has been struggling of late, scoring less than 10 points in three straight games, while hitting just nine of his last 32 shots from the floor. Andell Cumberbatch (12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the third member of the team scoring in double figures, although Marquise Simmons (9.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Wright (9.1 ppg) are also viable options.
Playing at home has given the Bonnies a real boost this season, as they are 4-0 at the Reilly Center. Expect them to find a way to slow down the Blue Hens and stay perfect as the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 75, Delaware 71
12/30 10:52:20 ET