Forty-eight years of frustration came to an end on Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, for St. Bonaventure, as the Bonnies toppled UCLA, 65-58, in the NCAA Tournament's First Four.
St. Bonaventure had not won an NCAA Tournament game since 1970, but Courtney Stockard, Jaylen Adams, Matt Mobley and their teammates brought the Bonnies and their fans a night they'll never forget.
Stockard scored a game-high 26 points and Mobley added 14 as the Bonnies held off a late Bruins surge.
The Bonnies demonstrated their tenacity to a national audience, scoring 30 of their points off 20 UCLA turnovers. Led by Stockard's four, Adams with three and LaDarien Griffin also with three, St. Bonaventure came up with 11 steals.
It was battle to the final minute, but a 12-0 run by the Bonnies over a 4:15 span proved decisive. St. Bonaventure trailed 51-46 when Stockard again sparked his club to the delight of the partisan crowd. His three-pointer at the 7:23 mark sparked the run that gave the Bonnies a 58-51 edge with 4:10 remaining.
The Bruins rallied back, however, tying the score at 58 on two free throws by Aaron Holiday with 1:11 left. Adams, who endured had been 1-16 from the field to that point, calmly dropped in a jumper with 48 seconds left to push the Bonnies back in front.
UCLA then turned the ball over and Adams was fouled. He made two free throws to make it a 62-58 game with 27 seconds remaining. The Bonnies forced another turnover and Adams made one of two free throws to make the lead five with just 20 seconds, left. Mobley capped the win with two more free throws, touching off a celebration of Bonnies fans.
Things did not look bright to start the game, as UCLA started off by making its first five shots of the game to build an early 14-5 lead. Stockard, who returned after sitting out the last game with a strained hamstring, scored the Bonnies' first five points.
The Bruins held a 17-9 lead when the Bonnies fought back, using an 8-0 run to tie the game by the 11:21 mark. LaDarien Griffin capped the surge with a dunk.
The game remained tight, and eventually St. Bonaventure took its first lead at 23-22 on a pair of free throws by Stockard with 4:52 left in the first. After Idris Taqqee drained a jumper with four seconds left, the Bonnies led 28-23 at halftime. St. Bonaventure scored the final nine points of the half, holding UCLA scoreless over the last 6:34.
Early in the second half, the Bonnies led by seven, 32-25, but UCLA rattled off a 10-2 run to grab the lead back at 35-34 by the 15:21 mark.
Up Next: St. Bonaventure will move on to Dallas to face sixth-seeded Florida on Thursday night at 9:57 ET in America Airlines Arena.
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