☝️down ✌️ to go pic.twitter.com/R4aC5zEBAi— Bonnies Men's Basketball (@BonniesMBB) March 5, 2021
RICHMOND, Va. – St. Bonaventure looked the part of a No. 1 seed Friday morning, dispatching ninth-seeded Duquesne, 75-59, in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals at the Siegel Center.
With the win, the Bonnies advance to Saturday's semifinals and will play fourth-seeded Saint Louis, a winner over UMass. That game is slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff on CBS Sports Network.
Osun Osunniyi had a dominating effort of 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Dominick Welch just missed a double-double of his own with 18 points, nine rebounds. Osunniyi's 14 rebounds were one off the Bonnies' A-10 Tournament record of 15 set by Dion Wright and Denzel Gregg in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
St. Bonaventure (14-4) has owned the recent series with Duquesne, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings over the past six years. That stat alone doesn't tell the entire story, though, as the majority of those games have been absolute battles with seven of the previous 12 meetings being decided by seven or fewer points.
That would not be the story Friday.
St. Bonaventure set the tone with a dominating first half.
After Duquesne took an early lead in the first minutes, fresh off their win over Richmond Thursday, the Bonnies established control.
A 14-2 run from the regular season conference champions pushed the Bonnies in front, 18-9, and the lead expanded to 23-11 as Welch posted 12 points in the first 13 minutes.
Bona never allowed the Dukes to gain any type of momentum offensively, limiting Duquesne to 7-for-25 from the floor during the first 20 minutes while the top seed grabbed a 40-19 cushion at the break.
Duquesne (9-9) would make things interesting out of the break, however.
A 12-0 burst from the Dukes brought Duquesne back into the game. Following an exchange between teams that saw words swapped and a technical foul assessed to St. Bonaventure, Duquesne pulled within 47-39 with still 13:42 to play.
The Bonnies seemed energized by that exchange, though, surging ahead once more after their brief cold spell. The Bona defense forced a shot clock violation, then a pull-up jumper in the lane from Holmes followed by a dunk by the junior guard on the next possession quieted the rally.
That sparked a 16-3 break from the Bonnies with the exclamation point coming on a three from Welch for a 63-42 lead with 5:52 to go. Bona never looked back.
SBU owned a 40-36 on the glass and outscored the Dukes 50-30 in the paint.
Michael Hughes led Duquesne with 15 points.
The Bonnies limited Duquesne to 34 percent shooting for the game while connecting on better than 49 percent of their efforts.
QUOTES FROM HEAD COACH MARK SCHMIDT
"We got off to a really good start. We knew Duquesne is a really physical team and whoever controlled the paint was going to win the game. Osun was terrific, offensively and defensively. Duquesne fought back and our guys dealt with some adversity. We gained some confidence and got the game back under control. We didn't come here to go 1-0, we came here to go 2-0 so we're halfway there. Hopefully, we can play better tomorrow."
"We passed the ball from side-to-side better than we did on Monday. When it gets stuck, everything slows down and the defense sets itself. We have to get the ball moving and when we do, we're a pretty good offensive team."
"We've been successful with defense and rebounding, and that's what we did today. Duquesne pounds the ball inside and we were able to force perimeter jump shots and limit possessions to one shot and for the most part, we did that today."
- Osunniyi registered his fourth double-double of the season and 15th of his career. The six assists were one off his career-high of seven set in January at Fordham, the most assists in a game by a Bonnies center during the Mark Schmidt Era.
- With four three-pointers Friday, Welch now stands ninth in program history with 161 for his career.
- The Bonnies have reached the Atlantic 10 semifinals for the third consecutive season, not counting last year when the tournament was canceled. Bona has now won at least one A-10 Tournament game in each of the past four seasons where the tournament was completed.
- Bona produced 17 second chance points to Duquesne's six.
- Saturday's semifinal game will be a rematch of the 2019 A-10 Championship Game between the Bonnies and Billikens.
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