Fast start sends No. 25 Xavier to 93-72 win over Bonnies

Fast start sends No. 25 Xavier to 93-72 win over Bonnies



No. 25 Xavier built a 20-point lead just over eight minutes into the game and never looked back as it defeated St. Bonaventure 93-72 on the final Saturday afternoon of Atlantic 10 regular season play at the Cintas Center.

St. Bonaventure (14-15)  finishes the A-10 regular season in a tie for eighth place with Duquesne (16-14) at 7-9. The Bonnies and Dukes will meet for the third time this season and the second time in six days at the Reilly Center on Tuesday, March 9 in the First Round of the A-10 Championship. Gametime at the RC is slated for 7 p.m.

The official bracket of the tournament will be released tonight following the Dayton and Saint Louis contest at UD Arena.

Xavier, meanwhile, clinched a share of its fourth consecutive A-10 Regular Season title with the win as it improved to 23-7 and 14-2 in the league. The Musketeers shared the conference title with Temple.

Sophomore Andrew Nicholson hit 9-of-14 from the field for 21 points to lead four players in double figures for the Brown and White. Nicholson scored 14 of his 21 in the second half, while senior Chris Matthews had 10 of his 14 over the opening 20 minutes. Senior Jonathan Hall turned in a solid all-around game with 11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

For the game, the Bonnies shot a respectable 49 percent (29-59) from the field and 46 percent (6-13) from beyond the arc. Hall and Matthews accounted for 13 of the team’s 16 assists.

Xavier’s 52 percent (33-63) shooting percentage was fueled by 25 assists and just 10 turnovers. The Musketeers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds en route to a slim 37-31 edge on the glass.

Five different players finished in double figures for Xavier, led by sophomore Jordan Crawford’s 22 points. The inside duo senior Jason Love and junior Jamel McLean combined for 29 points and 18 rebounds, including 10 offensive caroms. Sophomore point guard Terrell Halloway ran the team’s 90-point outing, passing out 10 assists while committing just one turnover.

The difference in the game came in the opening eight and half minutes when Xavier bolted out to a 26-6 lead by the 11:31 mark. The Musketeers sank 11 of their first 17 from the field during the run, including three trifectas.

St. Bonaventure battled back, though, cutting the deficit to single-digits, 38-30, with 1:23 to go. The Bonnies out-scored the Musketeers 22-10 over a nine-minute span to make the 10,031 fans at the Cintas Center a little restless. Junior Ogo Adegboye and Matthews each provided to threes during the run.

Xavier wasted little time in getting its double-digit lead back and Halloway’s runner as the half expired gave the home team a 42-30 advantage at the break.

Freshman Demitrius Conger played a career-high 21 minutes, finishing with six points and a career-best and team-high nine rebounds. Adegboye was the final Bonnie in double figures with 10 points.