Courtesy of GoBonnies.com
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure (14-13, 7-7 Atlantic 10 Conference) led the entire game and knocked down nine first-half 3-pointers in a dominating 104-83 win over Charlotte (18-10, 6-8 A-10) Saturday night at the Reilly Center in a pivotal matchup with postseason ramifications.
Eric Mosley scored a game-high 23 points, Matthew Wright netted 16 of his 20 points in the first half, Dion Wright tallied a career-high 15 and Demitrius Conger added 14 as the Bonnies moved into the 9th position in the A-10 standings with their third straight win.
With the victory, Bonaventure moves into a three-way tie at 7-7 with Richmond and Saint Joseph’s for 8th place. All three teams are 1-1 against each other, but the Spiders own a win over VCU, the highest ranked conference foe, giving Richmond the current 8th seed. Three other teams – George Washington, Charlotte and Dayton – are all tied at 6-8 for the 11th spot with just two games remaining as only the top 12 of the A-10’s 16 teams qualify for the conference tournament later this month at the Barclays Center.
The 104 points are tied for the most ever by a Bona team against a current A-10 member, matched during the 1980-81 season against Massachusetts. In its last two home games, Bonaventure is averaging 101.5 points as it scored 99 versus UMass last Wednesday. Furthermore, SBU is averaging 55 points a half in its last three halves at home.
For the fifth time this year the Bonnies never trailed in a game as they raced out to a double-digit lead, 15-5, behind a Mosley 3-pointer not even seven minutes in and extended to a cushion as large as 29, 53-24, after a D. Wright free throw heading into the halftime break.
Charlotte opened the second half with full-court pressure which turned the Bonnies over eight times in the first seven minutes of the stanza as the 49ers were able to get their deficit down to 21, 61-40, but an 8-0 run by the Brown and White extended back to a 29-point lead. From there, Charlotte – which started the A-10 season 5-2 but has now dropped six of its last seven – could get no closer than 17 as the 49ers dropped their fourth in a row by 18 points or more.
The Bonnies finished with 22 assists – their second-highest total of the year – on 30 made field goals, including an impressive 14 on 15 first-half field goals. Combined, 63 fouls were called – easily the most in a Bona game this year – including two technicals and five players fouled out. The game was a matchup of the best and worst free-throw shooting teams in the A-10, and the percentages lived up to that as Bona shot 78.6 percent (33-42) while Charlotte went 68.3 percent (28-41).
Conger played a complete game for the sixth straight contest and stuffed the stat sheet with his 12th career double-double and fourth this year. The Brooklyn native grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds – tying his season high – and also dished out a season-best seven assists while going 8-8 from the free-throw line.
Mosley knocked down five 3-pointers for the fourth time in the last six games and also corralled a season-high five rebounds. D. Wright came off the bench to record his first double-figure scoring game of his career in just 11 minutes – an unexpected scoring source considering the California native had scored 17 points all year and not at all since Dec. 19. The freshman had many high-quality looks, shooting 6-7 from the floor and 3-4 from the line while also grabbing four rebounds.
E. Victor Nickerson led the 49ers with 18 points, while Terrence Williams added 17. Three other Charlotte players reached double-figure scoring: Ivan Benkovic, 15, Pierria Henry, 12, and Chris Braswell, 10.
Bonaventure connected at a season-best level from the floor, shooting 58.8 percent (30-51), including 61.1 percent (11-18) from 3-point range. SBU went 9-12 (75 percent) from 3-point range in the first half, while Charlotte went 6-24 total from the field in the opening stanza.
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Bonnies are once again making a late-season push and playing their best ball when it matters most. Last year SBU finished the year by winning four of its last five, including four in a row, to storm into the postseason and win its first A-10 Championship title.
St. Bonaventure returns to action in another huge A-10 contest Wednesday at Dayton. The Flyers have won two straight to get to 6-8 in conference action. The Bonnies will be gunning for their fifth league road win of the year, which would set a program single-season record. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be televised back to New York State by Time Warner Sports.
GAME NOTES: The two teams combined to score 101 points in the second half (59-51), the second straight Bona home game in excess of 100 points in the second half … Mosley moves into a tie for 7th on the program’s single-season list for made 3-pointers with 74 … Conger has now played 444 out of a possible 450 minutes over the last 11 games … the Bonnies are 11-1 when leading at the half … SBU turned the ball over 15 times in the second half compared with seven in the first … Youssou Ndoye scored six points and grabbed three rebounds … Michael Davenport tallied six points and secured a season-high five rebounds in help aid in SBU’s 39-36 rebounding edge … Jordan Gathers also netted six points, while Chris Johnsoncontributed nine … Charlon Kloof (three) and Marquise Simmons (two) rounded out the Bona scoring.