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"We got no pressure on us."

---The Bonnies appear loose and carefree, apparently because they've heaped all the pressure on Florida State.

“Florida State is supposed to win,’’ Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. “They got the pressure on them. Going into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, we weren’t supposed to win that. I think when you go out there and play like it’s a pickup game, you have a better chance. You don’t have that monkey on your back. We’ve got some good players that play well together but when you play loose, you have a better chance. That’s not to say we’re going to win, but no one has expected us to be here.’’

The Bonnies are currently six-point underdogs.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Audio from Nashville: McKissic, DiCesare preview Bona-Florida St.

NASHVILLE -- Rodney McKissic and Bob DiCesare preview Friday's NCAA Tournament matchup between the No. 14 seed St. Bonavanture Bonnies and No. 3 seed Florida State Seminoles:


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Earlier today, McKissic and DiCesare reported about the atmosphere at the Bonnies' practice.

Audio from Nashville: McKissic, DiCesare at Bona practice

NASHVILLE -- Rodney McKissic and Bob DiCesare report from the Bonnies' practice, a day before they face Florida State in the NCAA Tournament:


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Because of Nicholson, scouts will come

---NASHVILLE, Tenn. -One of the main attractions to St. Bonaventure for guard Matthew Wright, in addition being close to his home in Toronto, was the presence of Andrew Nicholson.

Guards like to play with talented big men – they free up space to shoot, make them look better on assists, clog up the middle when they get beaten defensively, etc. – and Nicholson forced NBA scouts to come to Olean to watch practice, giving his teammates exposure as well.

“As a guard, you want to affiliate yourself with a good big man and me knowing that he’s getting a lot of looks by NBA team, he draws the NBA scouts to practice,’’ Wright said. “If you practice well, they also see you.’’

Point guard Charlon Kloof said it was one of the greatest moments when coach Mark Schmidt informed the team that scouts were in attendance.

“At first you’re nervous, but then that’s why I like my seniors that much and my coaches so they’ll walk you through it,’’ Kloof said. “Once you’re comfortable, then it’s over but it’s a great experience.’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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Bona-Joe's Highlight Package

Here's a highlight package from Bona's double-OT victory over Saint Joseph's Wednesday night. Look for yourself and decide if that was a foul at the end of regulation. I don't see it. But it ended up turning the game into a classic.

-- Bob DiCesare

 

Bona-Saint Joseph's Game Analysis

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.

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.

@RodneyMcKissic | rmckissic@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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