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Bonnies Punch Ticket To A-10 Championship Game With Convincing Win Over Billikens

Jalen Adaway led all players with 17 points Saturday night. (Photo by: Keith Lucas)
Jalen Adaway led all players with 17 points Saturday night. (Photo by: Keith Lucas)
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Box Score (PDF) || Postgame Press Conference

RICHMOND, Va. – Entering into Saturday's Atlantic 10 semifinal contest between St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis, much had been made of the Billikens' recent success against the Bonnies – a battle to the wire in the 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship Game and a win on home court last month included in three straight victories in the all-time series.

Saturday night, though, the Bonnies gave an emphatic reminder of why they were the A-10's regular season champion, punching their ticket to Dayton and next Sunday's Championship Game with a 71-53 victory at the Seigel Center.

Jalen Adaway led all scorers with 17 points, adding seven rebounds. Kyle Lofton added a double-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds along with six assists; Jaren Holmes produced 15 points and seven boards and Osun Osunniyi was again dominating on defense with seven blocks to go along with eight points.

Alejandro Vasquez gave the Bonnies an early spark, hitting two quick threes off the bench to ignite an 11-0 run.

Jalen Shaw and Eddie Creal gave the Bonnies more bench production as they both had buckets to grow the Bona lead to 19-9 with 8:45 left in the opening half.

Saint Louis pulled within four, but another quick 6-0 sprint put the Bonnies back ahead 10 and they would ultimately take a 33-25 advantage to halftime despite Dominick Welch playing just seven minutes after picking up two fouls.

A bucket from Jalen Adaway started the second half to push the cushion back to double digits, and a pretty give-and-go from Lofton to Osunniyi stretched the advantage to 41-29.

Both Osunniyi and Welch picked up their third fouls with 14:36 to go, but the Bonnies maintained their momentum thanks to tremendous play by Adaway who gave the top seed a 52-34 lead with a spin move in the lane.

By then, Bona's defense was suffocating. Saint Louis did not hit 50 points until 1:19 was left on the clock, and by then the game had been decided with the Bonnies leading by 20.

The Bonnies limited Saint Louis to 36 percent shooting for the game and just 5-of-17 from beyond the arc after the Billikens delivered 11 treys in the regular season meeting.

Bonaventure owned a 35-27 margin on the glass and a 34-20 advantage in the paint after the Billikens had produced two of the just six times the Bonnies had been outscored in the painted area during the past two seasons.

St. Bonaventure finished the game shooting 47 percent from the floor and hit 12 of 14 free throw attempts.

Jordan Goodwin led Saint Louis with 11 points. 

GAME NOTES

  • Osunniyi had six blocks in the first half alone and tied his career high with seven total. He was just one off the program A-10 Tournament record of eight swats set by Andrew Nicholson in the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship Game.
  • Saturday's game was a rematch of the 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship Game won by Saint Louis, 55-53.
  • Lofton's 10 rebounds represent a career-best. Now with 417 assists, he is just one off of Norman Clarke '84 for sixth in program history. He passed Mark Jones '82 for seventh on Thursday. 
  • SBU, the top-ranked defense in the A-10 and eighth-ranked defense in the nation, held an opponent to under 60 points for the sixth straight game.
  • The Bonnies will play VCU in next Sunday's Championship Game, the fifth in program history. St. Bonaventure is now 16-6 when it is the higher seed in A-10 Tournament games.
  • Saturday's win gives the Bonnies another resume builder for a possible NCAA Tournament bid. Already ranked No. 28 in the NCAA NET rankings as of Saturday, the Bonnies improved to 5-3 against Quadrant 1 and 2 teams by defeating Saint Louis, which was ranked No. 36 in the latest NET. 

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