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Bonnies Stretch Win Streak To Seven With Thriller at Middle Tennessee, 66-65

Box Score (PDF)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – St. Bonaventure lengthened its winning streak to seven games Saturday at Middle Tennessee State – and it did so in thrilling fashion, rallying in the final minute and holding on for a 66-65 victory.

Osun Osunniyi paced the Bonnies with 15 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. Four other Bona players posted double-figure scoring – Kyle Lofton delivered 14 points while Dominick Welch, Bobby Planutis and Alejandro Vasquez all finished with 10 points apiece.

A close game throughout, MTSU led by five with two minutes remaining.

Again, the Bonnies kept their winning ways alive thanks to contributions throughout the roster.

Jaren English sparked the Bonnies (8-4) in the final minutes. First, he followed an offensive rebound with a three-point play, then drew a charge on the defensive end as the Bonnies pulled within 62-60.

A put-back dunk from Osunniyi tied the game with 57 seconds showing on the clock, but the Raiders were able to control the offensive glass after a missed field goal and followed with a trey from Antonio Green to lead, 65-62, with 41 seconds to go.

Lofton drove the lane for a quick layup and the Bonnies were down a point with 30 seconds left. Planutis then came away with a steal and a timeout set up the final Bona possession.

Welch, who entered the day with the second-most three-pointers among all Atlantic 10 players so far this year, had been quiet for most of the day. He made noise when it mattered, however, as the sophomore provided the game-winner by rattling home a bucket in front of his bench to move the Bonnies from down one to ahead by the deciding margin.

The drama still wasn't over, though.

MTSU (4-8) got a good look at a three following a timeout, but the attempt rimmed out and Osunniyi secured the rebound to seal the win.

Making the 700-mile trip to MTSU appeared to show its toll in the early going as the Bonnies went over five minutes before scoring their first points after an 0-for-8 start from the floor.

The Bonnies would heat up during the second portion of the first half, though, pushing ahead for the first time on an Osunniyi dunk at the 1:59 mark while holding MTSU scoreless for a three-minute stretch.

MTSU went without a field goal over the final 4:38 of the first half as the Bona defense settled in, allowing the visitors to take a 27-26 edge at intermission.

The lid came off the rim for the Blue Raiders early in the second half, though, as the hosts began to sink shots from long range to push back in front.

From there, the game became a back-and-forth swing of momentum. Just as the Bonnies seemingly would grab control and be poised to pull away, the Blue Raiders would have an answer.

St. Bonaventure seized a 55-51 advantage thanks to a three from Welch and work off the glass from Lofton, but MTSU responded with an 9-0 break for a two-possession lead of its own at the four-minute mark to set up the game's final act.

C.J. Jones had a game-high 26 points for the Blue Raiders including six threes as MTSU went 8-for-13 from distance during the second half to stay in it.


  • Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt earned his 300th career win - 218 have come at St. Bonaventure. 
  • St. Bonaventure starters – Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jaren English, Osun Osunniyi and Justin Winston.
  • Saturday's game was just the second meeting all-time between the Bonnies and Blue Raiders and first since 1993. SBU is now 2-0 all-time vs. MTSU.
  • Osunniyi recorded the ninth double-double of his career. His 16 rebounds tied a season-high.
  • SBU shot 42 percent from the field while MTSU finished at 41 percent.
  • Bona owned a 36-33 advantage in rebounding.
  • Vasquez has scored in double figures in each of the past three games. 
  • Middle Tennessee has an undergraduate enrollment of over 19,500 students - over 17,000 more than SBU's undergraduate enrollment.

"We came out sluggish. We knew they had their two big guys back and it was a struggle early on. We missed a number of layups and lost momentum and then they got up, but Jaren changed the game with that offensive rebound and then the and-one. Dom struggled with his shot all game, but he got the big one at the end. We're still a work in progress and we have a long way to go, but to win a game like this on the road says a lot about where we're at. We're getting better. Now we have a few days at home with our families and then we'll get back to work." 

"We defended decently. Jones is a really good player and he started going off in the second half. But, we hung in there and in the end were able to beat a good team. They're very similar to us in that they had a couple key injuries and they weren't the same without those guys. That's a very good team and they're going to do very well in the Conference USA."

"I've said it over and over again, but Osun makes our team defensively. He had 16 rebounds, the big one at the end, and five blocks. He gives us that presence inside offensively, but more importantly we don't win without what he does on defense."

The Bonnies now break for the Christmas holiday and will return to action at Buffalo on Monday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.

For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @GoBonnies and get men's basketball updates @BonniesMBB. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.