St. Bonaventure got back to defense and that translated into a return to the win column.
Wednesday night in the Reilly Center, the Bonnies gritted out a 70-67 win over Saint Joseph's in the second meeting of the teams in an 18-day span. The victory moved St. Bonaventure to 13-6 overall and 3-4 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The Bonnies held the Hawks to a single point over the game's final 4:10, turning a 66-62 deficit around. Nelson Kaputo, who came off the bench to play a key role in this game, brought St. Bonaventure to within one a 66-65 with a three-pointer at the 3:48 mark.
After a Saint Joseph's free throw, Courtney Stockard found LaDarien Griffin cutting to the basket for a dunk that tied the game at 67 with 1:24 remaining.
The Bonnies forced a missed three-point shot by the Hawks and called timeout to set a play. With 19 seconds left, senior point guard Jaylen Adams showed why he is a two-time All-Conference player, slicing down the lane to score the go-ahead layup.
That still left plenty of time for Saint Joseph's, however. But freshman Taylor Funk was whistled for an illegal screen, giving the ball back to the Bonnies. Stockard made one of two free throws with six seconds to play, and a last-second heave by the Hawks' Nick Robinson was off line.
Save for a mid-second half run, the Bonnies held Saint Joseph's in check most of the night. Saint Joseph's made only 39.7 percent of its shots overall including 5-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range. The Hawks also missed 12 free throws (16-28).
Adams led four Bonnies in double figures with 16 points. Both Stockard and Griffin recorded double-doubles as St. Bonaventure dominated the rebounding margin 46-33. Stockard earned the first double-double of his career with 15 points and a career high 13 rebounds. Griffin's 10 points and 11 rebounds were his fourth double-double this season. Matt Mobley finished with 11 points and five assists.
Adams led the way for the Bonnies in the first half, scoring 13 points. The teams were tied at 33 at halftime.
The start to the second half proved crucial for St. Bonaventure. The Hawks scored the opening bucket, but the Bonnies then reeled off 11 straight points to surge ahead 44-35. Griffin capped the run with a dunk.
By the 13:48 mark, the Bonnies opened their largest lead of the game at 52-40. However, Saint Joseph's climbed back with a 16-2 run to regain the lead at 56-54 with 9:26 left. From that point, the teams engaged in another back-and-forth game so typical of this series. There were four ties and three lead changes over the last 8:50.
St. Bonaventure is now 7-1 at the Reilly Center this season. Wednesday was the Bonnies' second home game this month and the first game with students back on campus since Dec. 9.
Stats of the Game
Rebounding proved pivotal as the Bonnies, led by Stockard and Griffin, out-rebounded the Hawks 46-33, including a 14-9 edge in offensive rebounds. It was the second-largest rebound margin of the season for St. Bonaventure and helped the Bonnies to 18 second-chance points.
Quotes From Coach Mark Schmidt
"We were desperate for a win. We found a way. I thought our defense was much, much better than it had been. It was a physical game. It was a tough game to referee, but I think we found a way. Our offense wasn't terrific. Give St. Joe's credit on that. But (Stockard) has a double-double, (Griffin) has a double-double, and then the last play, Jay (Adams) made a great read."
"I thought Nelson (Kaputo) was a big player in this game ... he hit two threes, came off the bench and really gave us a lift when we needed it. But I am not surprised. He's a junior, he's been there before."
(On the physicality of the game) "This is how we won early in the season. You win with defense, you win with rebounding ... and we defended them. We fouled too much, but we defended. That's the ingredient. Our offense isn't always going to be there. We're going to struggle at times... but we got back to where we were playing defensively and hopefully now our offense can come around."
Up Next: St. Bonaventure will host George Washington this Sunday, Jan. 28, at noon on NBC Sports Network.
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