By KEVIN L. SMITH
Auburn’s dominant first half and a big lead at the break proved to be too much for St. Bonaventure to overcome in its 77-60 loss to the Tigers on Friday in the Legends Classic championship game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“Auburn is a well-balanced and very deep team. They put us on our heels in the first half,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said after the game.
Bonaventure faced a 20-15 deficit midway through the first half, attempting to keep pace with the Tigers. This was after Auburn put together a 9-0 run for a 15-6 advantage.
The Bonnies, however, proceeded to go 1-of-10 during a stretch of the opening half. This led to the Tigers going into the break with a 48-28 advantage.
“I thought we were hanging in there for a while,” Schmidt said. “(Auburn’s) athleticism got us in the last five minutes of the first half.”
The second half saw the Bonnies make an effort to climb back into the contest. Bonaventure cut it to 67-56 with four minutes left, and even held the Tigers without a field goal for six minutes.
Bonaventure’s attempts to slice more into the deficit fell short, as the team compiled just two field goals in the final minutes of the contest.
“Down 20 at halftime, they could have folded,” Schmidt said. “We had opportunities to cut it to single digits (in the second half). When you’re down 20, you try to find the small victories. Our guys didn’t give up. We just have to get better.”
The Bonnies outscored the Tigers by a 32-29 margin in the second half, but the team’s spotty cold shooting was the difference maker. Bonaventure was 23-of-58 from the field, including 3-of-24 from beyond the arc.
“Against a team like Auburn, they’re long, athletic and press against the ball,” Schmidt said. “We had some open shots and we missed. I still think we have some good shooters.”
Chad Venning finished with 14 points for the Bonnies, but only played 18 minutes due to foul trouble. Mika Adams-Woods had 11 points and three assists. Moses Flowers chipped in nine points, while Noel Brown added eight. Barry Evans contributed five points and seven boards.
“What we did in the second half will hopefully give us some energy going forward,” Schmidt said.
The Bonnies (2-2) host Bucknell this Wednesday at 7 p.m.
- Adams-Woods surpassed the 1,000 career points on Friday. He joins teammates Charles Pride, Daryl Banks III and Moses Flowers in the 1,000-point club.
- Adams-Woods was named the All-Legends Classic tournament team, which also includes Jaylin Williams (Auburn), Javon Small (Oklahoma State), Markus Burton (Notre Dame) and Johni Broome (Auburn).
- The Bonnies and the Tigers met for just the second time in history on Friday. In their first meeting, Bonaventure beat Auburn during the Tampa Invitational in 1967.