BUFFALO, N.Y. – In a back-and-forth game where neither team had a lead larger than single digits, the Canisius Golden Griffins prevailed over the Bonnies in this historic matchup. These Little Three rivals needed overtime to settle the score, but Canisius made the big shots to seal the victory, 84-to-80 at the Koessler Center.
Here are Jack Milko’s Five Takeaways from Buffalo:
1. The Little Three Never Disappoints: Saturday’s matchup between the Bonnies and the Griffs was the 170th meeting between these two schools. This game, a rivalry dating back to 1920, featured 14 lead changes and nine ties. The momentum seemed to shift after each possession in the Koessler Center, especially down the stretch. Bona had a six-point lead with under eight minutes to go, but the Griffs battled back to tie it at 57 with 5:47 remaining. Canisius had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds, but the Griffs turned it over with just 1.4 seconds to go. The Bonnies subsequently missed a half-court heave, which sailed wide right, to force the game into overtime. In the extra period, Canisius pulled away from the Brown and White, outscoring Bona 18-to-14 in overtime.
2. The Can Could Not Miss: In his pregame press conference, Coach Mark Schmidt talked about the Canisius shooters, and how their 3-point shooting ability could cause problems. They certainly did. The Golden Griffins converted 11-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc against the Bonnies, including 4-of-7 from deep in the second half. Whenever it seemed that Bona had pulled away, the Griffs had an answer, and it was most often from beyond the arc. Coach Schmidt will certainly emphasize 3-point defense from now on.
3. Anouar Mellouk: Mellouk, the redshirt freshman from Amsterdam, finished with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field in his Little Three debut. Standing at 6-foot-8, he used his length to get around defenders and score inside on numerous occasions. The Dutchman also finished with two rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Mellouk may emerge as the X-Factor of this team going forward. His length and athleticism can give opposing teams fits.
4. Four Score in Double Digits: Daryl Banks III led the Bonnies with 22 points, nine coming from the charity stripe. The former St. Peter’s product kept the Bonnies alive in overtime when it seemed as if the Brown and White were in dire straits for most of the extra frame. Kyrell Luc struggled offensively but finished with 13 points of his own. Luc also tallied nine assists, which led the game. He did a nice job of getting the ball inside to Chad Venning, who scored in double figures (11) for the first time as a Bonnie. Venning, who transferred to Bona’s from Morgan State, went 4-of-6 from the field and made 3-of-4 free throws from the line, all of which came in clutch situations. Anouar Mellouk rounded out the double-digit scorers, which I discussed above.
5. Next Up: The Brown and White head west to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Winners of the Summit League a season ago, the Jackrabbits lost to Providence in the First Round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Although the Jackrabbits will test these Bonnies, they did lose Baylor Scheierman to Creighton over the off-season. Scheierman led the team in scoring—a team that led the country in 3-point shooting—a season ago. Despite his absence, Summit League pollsters selected the Jacks to finish second in the preseason poll. The game tips off from the Sanford Pentagon at 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN+.
Jack Milko is a current graduate student at St. Bonaventure University. He will graduate with an M.A. in Sports Journalism in May 2023. He also covers the Bonnies for @A10Talk. Follow him on Twitter @Jack_Milko.
Featured image courtesy of Dan Nelligan, St. Bonaventure ’20.