PHILADELPHIA – Andrew Nicholson scored his 2,000th career point and finished with 18 to go with nine rebounds in St. Bonaventure's 71-61 loss to La Salle on Saturday.
The Bonnies (17-11, 10-6) secured the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship and will play the winner of the No. 5 Saint Joseph's/No. 12 Charlotte matchup in the quarterfinals at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 9. [Championship bracket]
The senior Mississauga native entered the game just six points shy and reached the milestone – with an assist from Jordan Gathers - while being fouled with 18:19 to play in the second half. He became the fifth player in school history to record 2,000 or more career points, joining Greg Sanders, Earl Belcher, Bob Lanier and Tom Stith.
He completed the traditional three-point play with a free throw for his 2,001st tally in the Brown and White. His nine rebounds also moved him into fourth on the school's all-time list (850).
Nicholson scored just four points in the first frame and La Salle (20-11, 9-7) took full advantage, building a lead as large as 16 after outscoring Bona 28-8 during a 10-minute span.
Nicholson, the leading candidate for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year came alive in the second half, pouring in 15 points in the final 20 minutes and helping SBU mount a charge to within two, 51-49, midway through the final period.
Demitrius Conger totaled 18 points and nine rebounds, including the layup with 9:41 to play that put Bona within one basket of tying the game or taking the lead.
After a timeout impeded the Bonnies' momentum, La Salle rattled off 11 of the game's next 13 points to take control for good. Sophomore guard Tyreek Duren led the Explorers with 21 points and netted 13 of the Explorers final 14 points to seal the win.
The Explorers earned the No. 7 seed in the Championship and will host No. 10 Richmond on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to face No. 2 Saint Louis in the quarterfinals on Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
NOTES: La Salle SID Kevin Bonner secured the game ball to give to SBU ... St. Bonaventure becomes the 17th school in the country, third in the Atlantic 10, with at least five 2,000-point scorers … Nicholson ends the regular season with 2,013 points in 119 career games (16.9 ppg) … representatives from the NBA's 76ers, Timberwolves, Bulls, Spurs, Jazz and Rockets were on hand … All but two NBA teams have been credentialed for a Bona game this season … University president Sister Margaret Carney took in the SBU women's game at Saint Joseph's before making the trip over to see the men's game … The Explorers have won the last two meetings with SBU, the last coming in double-overtime at the Reilly Center in the opening round of the 2011 A-10 Championship.