ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Behind a near triple-double from senior Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure (20-11) won its first Atlantic 10 Championship title and clinched its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 with a 67-56 win over Xavier Sunday afternoon.
Nicholson finished with game highs of 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks en route to being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Performer. Nicholson's eight rejections are a championship game record, and the 14 rebounds are one shy of tying the title game record.
Xavier led on only two occasions – both coming in the first four minutes of the game – as the Bonnies led by as much as 17 early in the second half to claim their first win over Xavier since Feb. 9, 2002.
Nicholson was the lone Bonaventure player to reach double-figure scoring as the Bonnies shot 48.3 percent from the floor in the first half before cooling off to a 27-percent clip in the second half.
After SBU opened up that 17-point lead, Xavier rattled off an 11-0 response as it held Bonaventure scoreless for six minutes. However, it was a pair of free throws from Nicholson – who finished 10-10 from the stripe on the day – which halted the Musketeers' run. A subsequent dunk from the Ontario native pushed the Bona cushion back to double digits with 11:30 to play.
Demitrius Conger joined Nicholson on the All-Championship Team despite tallying just five points and pulling down seven rebounds against Xavier. The junior dished out a career-best eight assists in Bona's semifinal win over Massachusetts on Saturday.