- As it has been for the past month, defense was the key to another St. Bonaventure win, this time in the postseason, as the Bonnies held George Mason to 57 points and 35 percent shooting.
- The Bonnies made 10 three-pointers – four above their season average – led by a career high six by freshman Dominick Welch.
- The Bonnies led 34-24 at halftime and held off a number of Patriots runs to advance into the A-10 Tournament semifinals.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Freshmen Dominick Welch and Kyle Lofton each scored 20 points to lead St. Bonaventure past George Mason, 68-57, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon at Barclays Center.
St. Bonaventure (17-15) advances into Saturday's semifinals, where the Bonnies will face eighth-seed Rhode Island at 1 p.m. The Rams knocked off top seed VCU. The semifinal berth continues a remarkable turnaround for the Bonnies, who were 4-10 in early January but have now won eight of their last nine games.
Friday, the Bonnies got off to a slow start, making just one field goal over the game's first six minutes. St. Bonaventure trailed 6-2 before finding its stride with a 15-2 run to open a 17-8 lead by the 9:31 mark. Four Bonnies scored in the run, capped by two three-pointers by Lofton and a dunk by classmate Osun Osunniyi.
The lead grew to 23-11, then George Mason pulled back within four. But the Bonnies pushed their lead back to 11 points by the 3:47 mark at 30-19. Welch capped the first half with a three-pointer, his team's sixth of the opening stanza, with 56 seconds left. St. Bonaventure took a 34-24 lead into halftime.
Welch opened the second half with another three-pointer and the Bonnies moved their lead up to 42-27 by the 15:57 mark.
Only Justin Kier kept the Bonnies from running away with the game, as the Patriots sophomore scored 14 straight points for his team through the middle of the second half. However, the closest George Mason could come was seven points, that on an Otis Livingston three-pointer with 9:31 remaining.
After that shot, the Bonnies answered with another Welch three-pointer, a fastbreak dunk by Courtney Stockard and a Lofton three-pointer, expanding the lead back to 15 points at 57-42.
George Mason again trimmed the lead down to seven but by that point just 2:26 remained. Osunniyi and Lofton both made two free throws to help hold off the Patriots.
St. Bonaventure ended the game 10-24 (41 percent) from three-point range. Welch's career game included a 6-12 performance from behind the arc as he finished with 20 points, six better than his prior best. In addition to his 20 points, Lofton handed out five assists. Senior forward LaDarien Griffin had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds to go with three blocks. Held to 26 minutes by foul trouble, Stockard finished with six points and six assists. Osunniyi totaled seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
- The Bonnies will make their second straight trip to the A-10 semifinals and eighth overall. Four of those have come under Mark Schmidt, who is now 10-8 in A-10 Tournament games.
- Osun Osunniyi now has 84 blocked shots for the season, a new team freshman record. He broke the mark of 81 set by Andrew Nicholson in 2008-09.
- St. Bonaventure is now 14-0 this season when holding its opponent under 60 points.
- The Bonnies have now held nine straight opponents under 40 percent field goal shooting.
- LaDarien Griffin's double-double was his fourth this season and ninth in his career.
- By Steve Mest, Associate Director of Athletics
Some of the standout statistics from today's #A10MBB Quarterfinal win.#Bonnies leaders:— Bonnies MBB (@BonniesMBB) March 15, 2019
Welch 20 pts (6/12 3-pt FG)
Lofton 20 pts / 5 ast
Griffin 10 pts / 11 reb
Stockard 6 ast
Osunniyi 7 pts / 8 reb
Next up: A-10 Semifinals tomorrow vs. Rhode Island. #Unfurl || #A10BKLYN pic.twitter.com/Trv3W5Eg6O
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