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Bonnies Fall Just Short vs. Vermont, 61-59

Alejandro Vasquez battles a Vermont defender Friday night. (Photo: Craig Melvin)
Alejandro Vasquez battles a Vermont defender Friday night. (Photo: Craig Melvin)
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Box Score (PDF)

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – In a game that saw momentum swing back and forth throughout the night, the pendulum went the way of visiting Vermont in the end as the Catamounts prevailed for a 61-59 victory Friday night at the Reilly Center.

St. Bonaventure's defense held Vermont All-American Anthony Lamb to a "quiet" 15 points on 3-of-12 shooting overall including 0-for-7 from distance, but the America East champions did just enough to pull out the road win.

Four players reached double-figure scoring for the Bonnies – Kyle Lofton led the way with 14 points, six assists and five rebounds. Dominick Welch posted his first career double-double of 13 points, 11 rebounds while Amadi Ikpeze finished with 11 points and Justin Winston chipped in 10.

Vermont (1-0) grabbed control in the very early going with a 12-5 advantage.

St. Bonaventure (0-2) stormed back, however, embarking on a 15-2 break to lead by as much as six midway through the half.

Momentum went back in favor of the visitors before the break as the Catamounts entered the locker room on a 14-4 run to lead by four at intermission, 28-24.

As the second half began, the Bonnies pulled back in front when Alejandro Vasquez brought The RC crowd to life with a trey and a foul which resulted in two at the line for a 33-32 advantage.

The game remained tight with the Bonnies taking what turned out to be their final lead, 40-39, following work inside by Ikpeze with 11 minutes to go. Vermont then used a 12-0 sprint to finally establish control, 51-40 with 7:44 to play.

The Bonnies battled back in the waning minutes, closing to within 56-52 following a drive of the lane by Ikpeze with 3:05 showing on the clock. Every time the Bonnies had an opportunity to seize the game, though, it seemed as though a good look would result in a shot going around and out in a series of frustrating near misses.

Vermont never led by more than six in the final three minutes, but the hosts could never close inside a two possession deficit until a Lofton bucket and a Welch layup following a turnover as time expired.

Everett Duncan added 14 points for the Catamounts, picked in preseason as the America East favorite for the fourth consecutive year.

GAME NOTES

  • The Bonnies used a starting lineup of Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Alejandro Vasquez, Bobby Planutis and Amadi Ikpeze.
  • St. Bonaventure played without Osun Osunniyi who missed the game due to injury.
  • Winston not only scored his first career points, but reached double figures in nearly 15 minutes off the bench.
  • Welch surpassed his previous career-best of nine rebounds set vs. Rhode Island in last year's Atlantic 10 Tournament.
  • St. Bonaventure shot 31 percent from the floor (19-for-61) while Vermont finished at a 35 percent clip (17-for-48). Neither team found rhythm from behind the newly pushed back three-point arc: The teams combined to go 7-for-47 from distance.
  • Bona won the battle of the boards, 44-41. Twenty-nine of Bona's rebounds came from the trio of Welch, Ikpeze (9) and Planutis (9).
  • As part of its Centennial Season celebration, St. Bonaventure welcomed back Paul Hoffman '71 and Roger Bauer '66 as honorary captains. Hoffman scored 1,103 career points and was a starter on Bona's 1970 Final Four team. Bauer played in 70 games over three seasons and helped the program to the 1964 NIT.

QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT
"I thought we played extremely hard; It was a good college basketball game. If someone told me that Anthony Lamb was going to have 15 points and go 0-for-7 from three, I would have thought we would have won. Give them credit though, they knocked down free throws when they needed to make them. I thought that we were right there."

"We just had some dumb fouls, going over some peoples' backs, probably giving them 8-10 points by just making poor decisions. But, I thought we played hard. We had opportunities to knock down some shots. We didn't. When you shoot 4-for-27 from threes, you're not going to win many games, but at the same time --- we're right there. We're just such a young team. We could have faded. I thought our leadership was good. We fought back, we made it a game and had some opportunities."

"Justin was a bright spot for us. He showed some of his abilities today. I thought Amadi couldn't have played better, having 11 points and nine rebounds. I thought he played tremendous and that he continues to do that. But, we have to go back. We have to play smarter and we have to knock down some shots. If we do that, we'll have the chance to win some games."

UP NEXT
The Bonnies travel for the first time this season, heading to Albany to face Siena in a battle for the Brother Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup Tuesday night.

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