OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — St. Bonaventure University men’s basketball team takes the court Saturday afternoon in an NCAA matchup against LSU.
If the roadside team sendoff was any clue, Saint Bonaventure basketball is huge in the Town of Allegany and Olean.
“Although it’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s such a strong community there is so much going on. It’s really like a family on campus, said SBU TV Sports Director Grace Foley.
Tom Missel of St. Bonaventure University told us, “Having the Bonnies do as well as they are doing has really been a ray of sunshine in kind of a dark period for the University. No question about it.”
Three weeks ago, the university President Dr. Dennis DePerro died of COVID-19 complications. So the players are wearing patches with his initials.
“Just to know how hard they worked for the season especially all the complications because of COVID and then to see that hard work pay off in the highest tournaments said that they’ve ever gotten, I’m just really happy for them and to know that they are finally getting the national recognition that they deserve,” SBU Student Announcer Tommy Valentine said.
This is the eighth time in the team’s history that the Bonnies have made it to the NCAA tournament. The last time, three years ago, they won their first tournament game in nearly 50 years.
Brian Attea, Co-owner of The Burton tells us, “It’s huge and this has obviously been a very long year for everybody with COVID not being able to go to live events.”
Three Saint Bonaventure alumni recently bought the Burton bar near campus and can’t wait to not quite fill the place for Saturday afternoons game.
“Effective today we went up to 75% capacity, so we can have 89 people in here and we hope to have 89 people in here subject to all of the state guidelines which we follow on a regular basis,” The Burton Co-owner Dave Przesiek tells us.
George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.