It will not take long for the Big 4 to give basketball fans a taste of their longstanding western New York rivalries.
St. Bonaventure and Niagara will open Big 4 action when the teams meet in the Reilly Center on Nov. 10 in what will be the season-opener for both teams.
That contest is part of the Big 4 men’s basketball schedule announced by the schools Monday afternoon.
The Bonnies and Purple Eagles game will cap off an opening night doubleheader between the schools. The Bona women will host Niagara at 5:30 p.m. with the men’s tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m.
Last season, St. Bonaventure defeated Niagara 79-69 in the Big 4 Classic Dec. 19 at KeyBank Arena. Coach Chris Casey’s club finished 10-23, but returns most of its key players led by all-conference small forward Matt Scott, who averaged a team-leading 17 points per game last season.
St. Bonaventure has won the past six meetings against Niagara and leads the all-time series 88-69.
The first week of December, the Bonnies will play back-to-back games against Canisius and Buffalo with both games on the road. Saturday, Dec. 2, St. Bonaventure will visit Buffalo’s Alumni Arena for a matchup with coach Nate Oats’ Bulls. Last season, Buffalo finished 17-15 overall and 11-7 in the Mid-American Conference. Four days later, Dec. 6, the Bonnies will renew their rivalry with Canisius which dates to 1920. This year’s matchup at the Koessler Center will be the 165th meeting with St. Bonaventure holding a 99-66 lead in the series. Last season, the Golden Griffs took a 106-101 overtime decision in the Reilly Center, overcoming a 33-point outing by Bonnies guard Matt Mobley. Canisius made the College Insider Tournament and finished 18-16 last season under new coach Reggie Witherspoon.
Last season, St. Bonaventure finished 20-12, its second year in a row of 20 or more wins. Two-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference senior point guard Jaylen Adams will lead the Bonnies. Last season, Adams averaged 20.6 points per game – second-best in the A-10 – and finished seventh nationally in assists (6.5 per game). Adams is joined by senior guards Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee. Mobley was a third team All-Conference selection last season, when he averaged 18.5 points per game. Sophomore Josh Ayeni returns as the starter at power forward. The Bonnies are coached by 2016 A-10 Coach of the Year Mark Schmidt, who will be in his 11th season.
The remainder of St. Bonaventure’s non-conference schedule will be announced tomorrow (July 18).
For information on purchasing season tickets, contact the SBU Ticket Office at (716) 375-2500 or visit GoBonnies.com/Tickets. Single game tickets go on sale in October.
2017-18 Big 4 Men’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 10 Niagara at St. Bonaventure – 8 p.m.
Nov. 11 Canisius at Buffalo – 2 p.m.
Nov. 29 Buffalo at Niagara – TBA
Dec. 2 St. Bonaventure at Buffalo – TBA
Dec. 6 St. Bonaventure at Canisius – 7 p.m
TBA Niagara at Canisius – TBA
TBA Canisius at Niagara – TBA