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Bonnies Win First NCAA Tournament Game in 48 Years

A victory over UCLA puts St. Bonaventure in the round of 64

March 14, 2018 - 3:08 am
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DAYTON (WBEN) - Those who traveled to Dayton, Ohio, to see their Bonnies play in the First Four on Tuesday night certainly had plenty to cheer about, as they saw the program's first NCAA Tournament victory in 48 years. St. Bonaventure used some tenacious defense, forced turnovers and timely shooting to claim the win over the UCLA Bruins. Now, the Bonnies head to Dallas where they'll face sixth-seeded Florida in the round of 64 on Thursday night.

Let the madness commence.

After a slow start for St. Bonaventure, especially in the shooting department, the team used its speed and defense to wreak havoc for the Bruins' offense. UCLA committed 11 turnovers in the first half alone, and the Bonnies eventually found their offensive enough to go into halftime with a 5-point lead.

"We just had too many turnovers," said UCLA Head Coach Steve Alford. "We've been a team, over the past month, that has really handled the ball well, and we had a lot of live-ball errant passes today...that's really hard to overcome."

St. Bonaventure guard, Atlantic 10 co-player of the year and all-time leading scorer, Jaylen Adams, said the team knew it would take a great defensive effort to win. Adams admitted his struggles throughout the game, as he only shot 2-16 from the floor and finished with eight points.

"We understood that the game was going to be won on the defensive end," said Adams. "Credit the UCLA defense. I couldn't hit shots early; I couldn't get into a rhythm. There were a lot of nerves going out there into that first game, and I'm glad we could them out of the way, so I look forward to Thursday."

Despite the poor shooting performance, Adams scored five points in the final minute, including a huge jump shot.

UCLA battled back in the second half and even held a five-point lead with about eight minutes to play. But the overall play of the game was tilted fairly heavily to the side of the St. Bonaventure, who really controlled the pace.

Bonnies' Junior forward Courtney Stockard stepped up without consistent production from Adams, as he accounted for 40 percent of St. Bonaventure's points. He registered a game-high 26 points, and defensively, he added four steals. Stockard, who was not available in a loss to Davidson in the Atlantic 10 Tournament due to a hamstring injury, said he's still not at full health, but was happy with the way he played.

"I still wasn't 100 percent yet, but I'm feeling way better than I did when I left the Richmond game, so I can't let an opportunity like this pass, and I'm just out here playing,"said Stockard. "Coming out today, I wanted to be aggressive, especially knowing that they were going to key in on [Adams] and [Matt Mobley]."

Bonnies' Head Coach Mark Schmidt said he's happy with the way his team played, but also insisted that this win was not the end goal.

"I'm proud to be the head coach of St. Bonaventure; I'm proud of our team and the accomplishments they've had," he said. "But we're not done. We can look at all of those records that we have once this is finished. We know we're having a heck of a year, but we want to continue. That 2 a.m.. flight is going to be the best flight I've ever taken."

With the victory, St. Bonaventure set a program record for single-season wins with 26.

The Bonnies will tip-off against the Gators on Thursday night. Game time is scheduled for 9:57.

 

 

 

 

 

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