Conger, Wright Propel Bona To Season-Opening Win
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Full Game Replay: SBU 65 - B-CU 55
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Consecutive 3-pointers by Demitrius Conger and Matthew Wright midway through the second half awoke a stagnant St. Bonaventure offense and helped push the Bonnies to a 65-55 season-opening win over Bethune-Cookman at the Reilly Center Friday evening.
Swingman Conger finished with 12 points, while guard Wright added 13, but it was senior Eric Mosley who finished as the SBU high scorer with a 14-point night, 11 of which came in the second half.
Precariously holding a 33-32 lead with 13:14 left in the game, Conger hit his only 3 of the night from the left baseline in front of the Bona bench. Wright then flanked out to the same exact spot on a fastbreak on SBU's next possession and knocked down his only 3 of contest. That pushed the lead to seven, and the Wildcats never got closer than six the rest of the way as the Brown and White improved to 33-0 in the RC in games which serve as both season and home openers.
After the Bonnies raced out to a 17-11 lead not even eight minutes into the contest, the zone-defending Wildcats slowed the game down and turned the Bona offense cold as over the next 18 minutes it mustered just 16 points. The back-to-back 3's not only reignited the 4,215 in attendance, but also the Bonaventure offense as it tallied 32 points over the final 13 minutes of the game.
Mosley knocked down three 3-pointers, accounting for half of St. Bonaventure's team total on the night, and also recorded a game-high two steals in 21 minutes of action off the bench. Conger dished out a game-best four assists and pulled down a game-high-tying seven rebounds, while sophomore Youssou Ndoye matched the Brooklyn native's total on the boards and finished with a career-establishing five blocks.
B-CU scored on its first possession of the game, but a Chris Johnson layup at the 17:36 mark gave SBU a 4-3 lead that it would not relinquish the rest of the night. The Daytona Beach-based squad didn't let the defending Atlantic 10 Champions run away with the contest, however. On four occasions when the Bonnies stretched to a double-digit lead, the Wildcats responded to cut the deficit to single digits, with the last coming under the 3-minute mark until Mosley delivered a four-point play to stretch the SBU cushion from six back to 10.
After shooting 5-11 from 3-point range in the opening half, the Bona defense would limit the Wildcats to just 1-10 in the second half. Conversely, SBU went 2-11 in the first half and connected on 4-of-8 attempts in the second frame. The five first-half 3's by the Wildcats accounted for 60 percent of their 25 points at the intermission.
The 55 points allowed by Bonaventure are the fewest in a season opener since a 68-53 win against New Mexico State on Nov. 17, 2000. Additionally, it's also the fewest points allowed in home opener since a 58-53 victory over Rice on Dec. 3, 1996.
Kevin Dukes netted a game-high 16 points, including a perfect 9-9 from the free-throw line, for Bethune-Cookman. Adrien Coleman added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Malik Jackson contributed 10 points.
The 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship and NCAA Tournament banners were unveiled prior to the game in a ceremony honoring St. Bonaventure's first A-10 title and first appearance in the tournament since 2000.
Bonaventure returns to action on Wednesday in a nationally televised contest at Cornell. The Bonnies and Big Red are scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network, formally Versus.
GAME NOTES: The Conger/Wright photo depicts the back-to-back 3's which were mirror images of each other … Johnson added nine points and five boards, while Ndoye scored seven … SBU finished with 15 assists against 10 turnovers … the Bonnies turned 14 B-CU giveaways into 21 points … Conger made his 64th consecutive start, dating back to the start of his sophomore season …Bona improves to 44-2 in home openers at the RC (43-3 including a win which was later forfeited) … Ndoye's previous career high for blocks was two, done five times last season … he also played a career-best 27 minutes, breaking his previous high of 19 set at Buffalo last December … Ndoye received a technical in the second half for hanging on the rim.