Bonnies Advance to Semifinals With Win Over Saint Joseph's
Quotes: St. Bona | Saint Joe's
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Andrew Nicholson posted his third double-double in four games, and sophomore guard Charlon Kloof scored a career-high 19 to lead No. 4 seed St. Bonaventure (18-11) to a 71-68 win over No. 5 Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship at Boardwalk Hall.
The Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Nicholson posted 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but it was a pair of defensive plays on the Hawks'(20-13) final possessions that helped seal the win.
Clinging to a one-point margin, 69-68, in a tight game that featured 24 lead changes, Nicholson stepped in front of Langston Galloway to draw a charge in the lane with 24 seconds showing. After Kloof extended the Bonnies' lead with a free throw, 70-68, Nicholson blocked Carl Jones' baseline floater in the dying seconds – his fourth rejection of the game – to thwart what would have been tying basket.
The Bonnies advance to face No. 8 seed UMass at 1 p.m. tomorrow in a game televised nationally by CBS Sports Network.
Jones led the Hawks with a game-high 24 points and passed out four assists. Galloway and Daryus Quarles added 12 apiece as the Hawks suffered their second loss in nine days to St. Bonaventure.
The Bonnies and Hawks met Feb. 29 in the Reilly Center in a double-overtime thriller, and have now combined to play 90 minutes with neither team holding a lead larger than six points.
Ronald Roberts' dunk capped an 8-2 run that gave the Hawks a 16-11 lead eight minutes in, with SBU rallying to tie it at 21 on a pair of Nicholson free throws five minutes later. After Saint Joseph's reclaimed the lead 30-29, the Bonnies closed out the half with back-to-back dunks from freshman Youssou Ndoye and Nicholson for a 33-30 lead at the break.
Da'Quan Cook's layin at the 12:07 mark of the final period yielded a 49-43 lead for SBU, its largest of the game. Not to be outdone, SJU ran off six unanswered, four by Jones, to knot the score at 49. SBU had built a four-point lead after a triple from the wing by Kloof before the Hawks erased the lead and trailed by just one before Nicholson stepped up.
NOTES: The semifinal appearance is the first for the Bonnies since 2000 … the 2012 St. Bonaventure basketball team is the winningest team ever coach by Sporting News Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Mark Schmidt … Nicholson averages 26.2 points and 10.4 rebounds over his last five games … SBU is 2-2 in its previous appearances in the semifinals and 0-3 opposite UMass in the A-10 Championship.