Undersized and shorthanded, St. Bonaventure nearly overcame those obstacles but ultimately lost to TCU Saturday night in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic, 89-79.
TCU, which is now 6-0, outscored the Bonnies in the paint 46-20 and held a 38-23 advantage in rebounds.
Still, the outcome was in doubt until the final minutes. Courtney Stockard made two free throws that pulled the Bonnies within 79-71 with 2:13 remaining. The Horned Frogs, though, converted a pair of layups when St. Bonaventure pressed hoping to create turnovers, and the Bonnies could not close the gap any more than seven points.
The Bonnies (3-2) started the game well and grabbed an early 12-10 lead. TCU then scored 12 of the next 14 points to seize a 22-14 advantage.
Freshman Izaiah Brockington drained a three-pointer and Stockard followed with two free throws to pull St. Bonaventure within 22-19. The Horned Frogs again opened an eight-point cushion at 39-31 before Brockington sank a three-pointer. Two free throws by Brockington with 34 seconds to go were the final points of the first half, and the Bonnies trailed 39-36 at the break.
The Bonnies led 42-41 early in the second half when TCU scored eight unanswered points to go ahead 49-42. It was about that time that junior point guard Nelson Kaputo left the game after re-aggravating his groin and did not return. St. Bonaventure again was without All-Conference senior point guard Jaylen Adams, who has not played this year due to a sprained ankle.
Brockington's three-pointer at the 11:43 mark brought the Bonnies within five at 60-55, but that was as close as they came the rest of the night.
Two Bonnies players, Mobley and Brockington, were named to the All-Tournament team for their play not only in Florida but over all four games of the event. Brockington scored a game high 20 points against TCU on 5-9 shooting, including 4-8 from long range. Mobley scored 18 points with five assists. Stockard had his second straight double-figure scoring game with 16 points. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. LaDarien Griffin finished with 13 points and five rebounds.
The Bonnies knocked off Maryland on Friday to reach the championship.
Stats Of The Game
St. Bonaventure was outrebounded 34-17, helping TCU score 46 points in the paint.
Quotes From Coach Mark Schmidt
"We had chances. We got close a couple times in the second half but could not get over the hump. It seemed like (TCU) got a loose ball or a rebound every time they needed it."
"Josh (Ayeni) was in foul trouble, and Nelson (Kaputo) got hurt, so we were a little bit out of sync because we had to change the rotation."
"Give TCU credit – they are a very good team. They beat us badly on the backboard. We didn't do the job rebounding tonight."
"We made strides here (in Niceville). We got better. We're better than we were against Niagara (in the season opener). This tournament was good for us. We need to continue to play better as a team."
Beyond The Boxscore
- This was the first-ever meeting between the schools.
- St. Bonaventure entered the game looking for its first in-season tournament title since the 2000 Fresno State Classic.
Up Next: St. Bonaventure will face Siena on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in Albany at 7:00 in the annual Franciscan Cup game.