Mike Reilly? Eddie Melvin? Eddie Donovan? Larry Weise? Jim Satalin? Jim Baron?
All enjoyed success and made history as men’s basketball coaches at St. Bonaventure, but Mark Schmidt now has won more games at Bona than any of them.
The Bonnies made history Sunday and, perhaps, presented a promising glimpse of what may be ahead in a 79-56 rout of George Mason for Schmidt’s 203rd victory at the school.
Schmidt, now in his 12th season at Bona, a tenure as long as any previous coach except Reilly, passed Weise with Sunday’s victory.
The Boston College graduate took over in 2007 as coach at the end of a stretch of six straight losing seasons and revived the spirit and the prestige Bonnies basketball had enjoyed since the early 1950s.
“I love it here. I’ve loved it for the last 12 years,” Schmidt said. “This is a special place.”
The glimpse of the future came in a 32-point performance by freshman guard Kyle Lofton, who made 7 of 8 3-point tries. Bona was 11 of 18 from beyond the arc.
St. Bonaventure started with a 16-0 lead and never trailed in raising its record to 11-14, 7-5 Atlantic 10 Conference. George Mason is 15-11, 9-4 in conference play with a split in two games against Bona.
“We got out 16-0 and we couldn’t have played better defensively,” Schmidt said. “To beat (George Mason), you have to keep them out of the paint, you have to keep them off the foul line, and I thought we did those two things.”
Lofton had 11 points in the Bonnies’ 16-0 start. Lofton entered the game averaging 14.2 points. His previous high game was 24 points, twice, at Massachusetts and at home against Davidson. Sunday’s performance raised his 3-point shooting percentage to 33.7 for the season (29 of 86).
Besides Lofton, senior forward Courtney Stockard had 18 points in the victory.
Niagara tops Fairfield
After four straight losses that knocked them out of contention in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference race, Niagara got back on the winning side with a 78-73 victory over Fairfield before 1,023 at the Gallagher Center.
A season-high 23 points by senior Dominic Robb and 13 points off the bench by Dominik Fragala led the Purple Eagles to their 12th win against 15 losses.
Niagara is 5-9 in MAAC play with four regular-season conference games remaining.
It was a close game all the way. Neither side led by more than eight points and there were 10 lead changes and five ties.
Fairfield went on an 11-4 run before the Purple Eagles rallied from a 51-43 deficit with 13:08 left. Niagara wiped out the lead with Robb hitting a 3-pointer for a 54-53 advantage with 9:44 left.
Robb also brought down five rebounds and had two blocks, leaving him with 217 for his career, three shy of the Niagara record of 220 set by Joe Arlauckas.
Chris Barton had 14 points and six rebounds for the Purple Eagles. Marvin Prochet had five points for Niagara while leading the team with nine rebounds and five assists.
UB wrestlers win four dual in a row
The University at Buffalo wrestling team won its fourth straight dual match and 11th of the season with a 26-12 triumph over Ohio U. at Alumni Arena on Sunday afternoon. It was only the fourth time Buffalo beat the Bobcats since joining the Mid-American Conference in 1998.
Kyle Akins (125 pounds), Derek Spann (133), Alex Smythe (157), Troy Keller (165), Brett Perry (197) and Jake Gunning (285) were individual winners for UB. Akins won a sudden victory, Spann won by fall and Smythe received a forfeit victory. The others were all decisions.
Eight seniors were honored prior to the dual. Akins, Jason Estevez, Gunning, Ian James, Bryan Lantry, Justin Patrick, Perry and Smythe were honored.
Buffalo be home to Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Ed Wright Practice Facility.