Bona 99, UMass 94
How Bona Won: Whew. If ever a game needed a restrictor plate this was it. UMass used a press to up-tempo the second half and the Bonnies, once they acclimated, sprinted right along. The teams combined for 124 points in the second half alone and Bona finally delivered the knockout punch in a close game after narrow losses to Xavier, La Salle and Richmond.
Player of the Game: A week ago Eric Mosley's season-high stood at 21 points. He broke that by scoring a career-high 30 in the loss at Richmond Saturday. And that set the stage for . . . 39 against the Minutemen. He was sensational -- 12-18 FG, 5-8 on treys and 10-10 FTs. And he might have forced all of one shot.
Best Supporting Role: Think Bona's seniors are feeling a sense of urgency? Chris Johnson struck for a career-high 22 points and made all four crucial free throw attempts inside the final 13 seconds.
Best Performance (Losing Effort): Chaz Williams, the Minutemen's 5-9 junior point guard, is a show unto himself. He went for 26 points -- one below his season high -- and terrorized the Bonnies with his lightning-quick drives to the hoop.
Arm's length: For Youssou Ndoye, Bona's sophomore center, an arm's length seems like forever. It appeared Williams would have a clean look at a tying three with 18 seconds left by Ndoye got out to the perimeter, arm extended, and forced Williams into a high, arching shot that fell well short.
What It Means: Bona improved to 5-7 in conference, inching a half-game ahead of Dayton in the battle the 12th and final A-10 Tournament spot. And they have a road game left with the Flyers. So this one was a major score.
In the House: Student attendance has dropped considerably the last two home games. Oh well. Their loss. The crowd of 3,468 saw a game it will long remember.
Stat Check: Bona came in leading the A-10 in free throw percentage and strengthened its hold by going 32 of 33 (97 percent),
Stat Check II: UMass was whistled for 29 fouls to Bona's 19 and lost three players to disqualification. Bona knows how it feels. It had three players foul out Saturday at Richmond,
Frenzy: The two teams combined to score nine points in a 28-second stretch early in the second half.
They Said It:
UMass coach Derek Kellogg on the flagrant foul assessed Terrell Vinson with UMass up two and 1:53 remaining: "I don't question that he did it. . . . I just thought he might have got hit before that. So it was kind of a reaction when they're up on you, one of those deals."
Kellogg on if he's ever seen a team make 32 free throws: "No. Nope. I haven't."
Bona coach Mark Schmidt on Ndoye's shot-altering defense on Williams: "That's the evolution of a player. He's still learning but, yeah, that was a big play. Some way he got switched onto him and he did a really good job."
Chris Johnson on breaking through in a close game: "We just came out with an urgency. Last couple games we felt like it could have went either way with a possession down the stretch."
Johnson on the pace: "It's a lot of fun, it's a lot of stress too."
Next Up: The Bonnies already have three A-10 road wins. A chance at No. 4 comes Saturday night at Duquesne.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedAtlantic 10 | College basketball | St. Bonaventure