February 29, 2012 - 11:18 PM
ST. BONAVENTURE 98, SAINT JOSEPH'S 93 (2OT)
How Bona Won: Remember when this team couldn't put away anybody down the stretch back in December? Look at how it's matured. Key moments abounded, beginning a huge offensive rebound by Demitrius Conger late in regulation, Matthew Wright's three near the end of regulation and Andrew Nicholson's three at the end of the first overtime. The Bonnies were reeling for a spell in the first half but never lost their composure or their focus.
Player of the Game: Could Nicholson be on his way to an unprecidented fourth straight A-10 Player of the Week Award? Can will officially crown him Player of the Year? He went off for 32 points and 14 boards in what might have been his final game at the Reilly Center. He found Wright for the big basket at the end of regulation. He nailed the three that forced a second overtime. And Saint Joseph's is anything but weak up front. This game might have pumped up his NBA stock.
Unsung Hero I: Wright made a three at the end of regulation, another with 13 seconds left in regulation and added a third in OT. So much for that slump.
Unsung Hero II: Conger rebounded a Nicholson miss with 50-some seconds left in regulation and the Bonnies down four. That set up Nicholson's three with 49.7 seconds left that pulled Bona within one. Without that board -- one of Bona's 20 offensive rebounds -- there's no victory celebration.
Stat of the Game: The teams came in ranked 2-3 in the A-10 in rebounding. Final tally: Bona 49-30.
Stat of the Game II: Bona committed just nine turnovers. And the Hawks did them one better.
Are You Kidding Me?: The foul call on Charlon Kloof at the end of regulation mystified. But you have to give C.J. Aiken credit for converting the one and one in enemy territory with 1.1 seconds on the clock.
They Said It ...
Hawks coach Phil Martelli: "Nicholson is a real tribute to the league. He's a real tribute to the league. . . . I just like everything about him and I'll be anxious to see how he does at that next level."
Bona coach Mark Schmidt: "This game was one of the best games if not the best games I've ever been associated with. It was the best game I've been associated with as a head coach."
Schmidt on call at end of regulation: "The play was over, the call was made. We got to refocus and that's what was said in the huddle. Let's go out there and win the next five minutes."
Nicholson on whether he liked the look of his three at the end of OT No. 1: "Yeah."
What It Means: Bona's guaranteed a top-four finish and a bye into the A-10 quarterfinals. They'd finish third with a win at La Salle on Saturday.
In the House: The students were on break but the town picked them up. There were 3,539 on hand and they were loud.