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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: So close

     March 16, 2000 -- Appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament have been few and far between for St. Bonaventure over the last several years. Their game in the tournament on this date was a terrific one, though.

     Kentucky, one of the most fabled programs in the sport, needed double overtime to beat the Bonnies, 85-80 in Cleveland.

     St. Bonaventure hadn't been to the Big Dance since 1978, and just missed recording the Big Four's first tournament win since 1970. The Bonnies came into the game as the 12th seed in their region, and they had the fnas in the Cleveland State Convocation Center cheering for them in their upset bid.

     "I've never been so proud of a basketball team," said Bona coach Jim Baron, whose team's 21-10 record was its best in 22 years. "I thought the crowd gave us tremendous support and our kids played to win the game. They fought very, very hard. "I told them, 'If you play that way in the game of life, you're going to come out ahead regardless of what the score is.' It was a tremendous effort."

     Freshman Patricio Prato tied his career high with 20 points for St. Bonventure. Cleveland native J.R. Bremer came off the bench to add 17.

--- Budd Bailey

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