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St. Bonaventure 64, Rutgers 63 (OT)

HALL, NICHOLSON LEAD BONNIES TO ROAD WIN OVER BIG EAST FOE RUTGERS

Recap: St. Bonaventure finally collected the win it has been looking for over the past few years, beating a Big East team on the road.

Andrew Nicholson continued to impress in his freshman campaign scoring 15 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking five shots in 25 minutes while Jonathan Hall shook off an ankle injury to register 18 points and nine rebounds as the Bonnies downed Rutgers, 64-63 in overtime Sunday afternoon at the RAC.

Chris Matthews’ fast break lay up with 2:35 remaining in the extra session turned out to be the game winner, as the Scarlet Knights could not connect on their final trips down the floor.

Rutgers had possession with nine seconds to play in overtime. After a scramble for a loose ball, Malcolm Eleby’s steal with one second left iced the win for the Bonnies (3-1), who recorded their first win over a Big East opponent in seven tries, dating back to 2001.

Rutgers scored the first four points of overtime, building a 62-58 lead with 4:07 to play. Bonaventure countered with a lay up by Hall, who went out midway through the second half for six minutes after apparently rolling his ankle, and a long two point jumper from point guard Eleby. Then, with 2:35 to play Bonaventure Nicholson blocked a shot and Hall hit Matthews for an easy lay in. With the Bonnies leading 64-62, Rutgers missed a pair of three pointers and Mike Coburn missed the second of two free throws with 44 seconds left.

After Nicholson made two free throws with 36 seconds to play in regulation, the Bonnies held a 58-54 advantage. Rutgers earned a trip to the foul line when Eleby was called for a hand checkwith 26 seconds to play. Rutgers guard Anthony Farmer connected on the front end, but then missed the second free throw. The Bonnies could not corral the loose ball, and it made its way out to RU freshman Mike Rosario on the wing. The freshman showed no nerves, as he drained the three ball with 20 seconds to play, tying the game at 58. J.R Inman would block a Jonathan Hall layup with 4 seconds to play, sending the game into an extra frame.

The game featured 22 ties and 16 lead changes. Neither team ever led by more than four points.

Forward Gregory Echenique led the Scarlet Knights with 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting and 14 rebounds. Guard Mike Rosario, a McDonald’s All-American last year, also had 14 points but connected on just 6-of-17 field goals.

The Good:

  • 51 Rebounds. 23 offensive rebounds; leading to a 22-7 edge in 2nd chance points
  • 8 Blocked shots.
  • Nicholoson and Hall’s individual stat lines. Combined for 33 points, 20 boards, 6 blocks and 6 assists.
  • Eleby 6 assists with just one turnover. Also added three steals.

The Bad:

  • Chris Matthews. Just 2 of 11from three point land, and just 3-14 from the field total. The Bonnies are just 4-34 from three in their last two games, after Matthews himself connected on ten threes in the first two contests.
  • Only attempted 5 free throws while the Scarlet Knights shot 21 freebies (making just 11)
  • 3 players played 38 minutes or more (Hall, Matthews and Eleby). Schmidt would like to play more guys equal minutes due to his uptempo style. (Blackburn 1-7 from field and Cook 1-6 from field didn’t help).
  • Mo Thomas. Was seen in a travel suit on the Bonnies bench…No official word on his status.

Player of the Game: A toss up. We’ll give the edge to Hall over Nicholson after both turned in very solid all around games. Simply put, Hall is the most complete player on the floor. He finds ways to help the Bonnies in numerous areas of the game. He is their best scorer, and at times is their best rebounder and defender. Hall uses dribble penetration more then anyone on the team, and uses it to find teamates open looks. He made his living today by driving to the basket and finshing at the rim. We hope the ankle is not a major concern for Tuesday’s game.

Unsung Hero: D’Lancy Carter. Carter had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals in the game. Most importantly however, Carter knocked down two huge 15 foot jump shots late in the second half to keep the Bonnies even with the Scarlet Knights. On jumper tied the game at 46, and the other put the Bonnies up 51-49. He missed a few easy lay ins, but redeemed himself by knocking down some big mid range shots.

Looking forward: The Bonnies take their 3-1 record into the most anticipated game of the year vs. Mississippi State on Tuesday at 7:00 P.M. The Bulldogs lost to eventual National Runner-Up Memphis by four points in the second round of the NCAA Tournment last March. The SEC team is 4-0, with wins of Centenary, Louisiana-Monroe, North Alabama, and Fairleigh Dickinson. They are lead by 6’9″ forward Jarvis Varnado, who lead the nation in blocked shots last year.

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.