Saint Bonaventure Bonnies vs. Vermont Catamounts
|Date & Time||Friday November 8, 2019, 7:00 PM (EST)|
Saint Bonaventure, N.Y.
Vermont -1; Total 128.5
The Vermont Catamounts will open its season on Friday night when they travel to the Reilly Center in New York to take on Saint Bonaventure, who dropped its season opener to Ohio Tuesday night, 65-53. The Bonnies are trying to take a step forward from last year’s team that finished the year 18-16 and reached the Atlantic-10 Conference title game before missing out on the NCAA tournament by two points, losing to Saint Louis, 55-53.
Saint Bonaventure is a young team this year, boasting just one junior and senior who have ever played a single minute for the Bonnies. But it will be a group of sophomores, like Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, and Osun Osunniyi, who will lead the way this year. Those three players are the Bonnies’ three most experienced players heading into the 2019-20 season.
However, it was freshman Alejandro Vasquez who led the way in the season opener. In his debut, he scored 12 points to lead the Bonnies, albeit on just 3-of-11 shooting. Senior center Amadi Ikpeze came off the bench to be the only other player to score in double figures with 10 points. Sophomore Bobby Planutis just missed a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. The experienced returners Welch, Osunniyi, and Lofton scored 5, 6, and 8 points respectively.
Vermont may not have played an actual game yet this season, but the defending America East Conference champion looks to repeat its success in 2018-19 in which the Catamounts went 27-7 overall and lost a narrow 76-69 game in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Vermont looked very comfortable in its final exhibition game against NCAA Division II Saint Michael’s on Sunday, a game the Catamounts won 84-48. Ten different players had double-digits in minutes and five players scored in double figures led by sophomore Ryan Davis’ 17 points off the bench. Junior Stef Smith only played 14 minutes but scored 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
Smith was also strong in a 70-59 exhibition win over Brown, scoring 12 points with seven rebounds. Davis had 17 points off the bench once again and senior Everett Duncan scored 20 points on an impressive 6-of-8 shooting from long range.
All of that was done without Anthony Lamb having huge games. The senior returns as the America East Player of the Year and Lamb led the league in scoring (21.2 ppg) and rebounds (7.8) last year. Lamb is on numerous watch lists this year, including watch lists for the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy, and the Lute Olson Award. Through what is expected to be an amazing senior year from Lamb, the Catamounts are ranked No. 4 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll as well as No. 7 in the MidMajorMadness.com poll.
Saint Bonaventure won the first two games in this series two and three years ago and the Catamounts won a thrilling double-overtime game last year, and that alone is probably why the line is so close with Vermont giving just one point. But even though this is Vermont’s season opener and the Bonnies have a game under their belt, and the game is being played in New York, this is a more experienced and basically superior lineup headed onto the court for the Catamounts than what the Bonnies are starting. This feels closer to a 10-point win for Vermont than anything else. Take the Catamounts on the road with confidence.