Fontan leads Fordham to dramatic win over Bonnies
Jan. 28, 2009
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Freshman Jio Fontan scored a season-high 25 points to lead visiting Fordham to a dramatic 67-65 Atlantic 10 win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night at the Reilly Center.
The win is the first in conference play for the Rams, who snap an eight-game losing streak to move to 3-15 overall and 1-5 in the A-10. Meanwhile, the Bonnies drop their third game in a row and fifth in the last six games, slipping to 11-9 on the season and 2-5 in league action.
"It's disappointing loss, but give Fordham credit, give Fontan credit. He was a big key and coming into the game we knew we needed to control him," said head coach Mark Schmidt. "In this league, if you're not ready to play, I don't care if you're home or away, you're going to lose."
Fontan's presence was felt the most over a two-minute stretch late in the second half with Fordham trailing, 57-54. The St. Anthony's product helped prevent the Rams from falling further behind by scoring eight consecutive points to keep it a two-point game, at 64-62 in favor of the Bonnies.
Fontan's heroics set the stage for fellow freshman Trey Blue who sank the final two buckets of the game to vault Fordham to victory. Blue knotted the game at 65-65 with a three-pointer off an assist from Fontan with 2:37 to go and then struck again, this time on a layup off another feed from Fontan in transition to put the Rams up, 67-65, with 56 seconds left on the clock.
The chances were there for St. Bonaventure to tie or take the lead, though, as it failed on all three attempts.
St. Bonaventure's best chance came after a missed front end of a one-and-one free throw, as senior Tyler Benson corralled the rebound and called timeout with 28 seconds remaining.
The Brown and White were forced to call another time out with 16 seconds left after the first play failed to produce an open look. On the second try, though, sophomore Malcolm Eleby beat his defender along the right baseline, but missed the game-tying layup that would have sent the game to overtime.
After a St. Bonaventure foul, Fordham again missed the free throw with four seconds remaining, but Eleby's half court heave sailed wide.
For the game, Fordham shot a season-best 48 percent (30-62) from the floor and turned the ball over just seven times. St. Bonaventure finished with a solid 45 percent clip (28-62) from the field and a 40-30 edge on the glass, but was hampered by 16 turnovers and 4-of-19 shooting from long range.
Four players finished in double figures for the Brown and White, led by 16 apiece by junior Jonathan Hall and freshman Andrew Nicholson. Junior Maurice Thomas finished with his sixth double-double of the season via 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior Chris Matthews sank four three-pointers for 12 points and tied a career-high with seven assists.
Fontan's second 20-point game of the season against the Bonnies came on 11-of-23 from the field in a full 40 minutes of work. Senior Chris Bethel was solid off the bench with 15 points and seven rebounds.
St. Bonaventure will put an end to a hectic January when it heads to Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday, Jan. 31, to take on Duquesne (13-6, 4-2 A-10). The game will be the ninth of the month for the Bonnies and their second against the Dukes this season. Tip time at the Palumbo Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.