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Bonnies Survive in Heart-Stopping Win over La Salle

St. Bonaventure defeated La Salle 75-73 this evening to advance to the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals. The Bonnies were led by Mika Adams-Woods and Chad Venning with 15 and 12 points respectively. La Salle was led by Jhamir Brickus’ 18 and Rokas Jocius’ 16 points. Both teams shot the basketball well in today’s game while also taking care of the basketball. Relive the back-and-forth second-round game right here.

Following an empty possession for both teams, star guard Jhamir Brickus opened the scoring for the Explorers with a layup. The Bonnies immediately responded with Chad Venning in tight for two. Those buckets momentarily opened flood gates as Khalil Brantley knocked down the first three of the game.  Bonaventure once again countered immediately as Charles Pride tipped back a miss by Venning. Pride then gave the Bonnies their first lead of the game splashing a straight-away triple. La Salle continued to struggle on the offensive end of the floor while Bonas continued to get second and third looks on the other end. Mika Adams-Woods was next to score at the rim as the Bonnies led 9-5 at the game’s first media timeout.

The Explorers broke their almost four-minute drought on the other side of the break as Daeshon Shepherd slipped free to the rim for a layup. That bucket opened a 6-0 run for La Salle. Anwar Gill grabbed a layup following a Bonaventure shot clock violation before Ryan Zan got a midrange jumper to fall. Moses Flowers then got into the scoresheet and ended the Explorer run with a layup of own. The first half ticked under 11 minutes to play with the teams knotted up at 11.

The Bonnies retook the lead as Pride checked back into the game and got to the rack for a pair. A quick stop then led to Noel Brown being fouled down low. Brown split from the free throw line as the lead was now three. That lead would expand off a quick steal from Adams-Woods as Pride was fouled in transition. The fifth-year senior split from the line but grabbed his own miss on the second shot. That led to Brown laying one home later in the possession. St. Bonaventure’s 8-0 run would come to an end as Gill made a deep two as the shot clock expired. The Bonnies would keep their foot on the gas, however, as Assa Essamvous splashed a smothered wing triple. Next it was Brown going back to work in the post with a nice move and a layup. Boans was on a 13-2 run and led 22-13 with 7:25 to play in the first.

Shepherd worked his way to the line on the next possession as he was fouled by Assa. The junior guard made both his free throws before hitting a three on the La Salle’s next trip down the floor. Just as it seemed the Explorers had some momentum going, Gill fouled Pride beyond the arc. Pride knocked down all three of his free throws, pushing his personal total to 11 and the lead back to seven. Rokas Jocius and Venning then traded layups next before Tunde Vahlberg Fasasi banged a corner triple. Pride once again went back to the line as he was fouled driving to the hole. He hit both his shots once again as the Bonnies led 29-23 with just over four minutes remaining in the half.

Next it was Jocius’ turn to head to the line, but this time it would be after a made bucket. However, the sophomore center missed his and-one free throw. Following the miss, Daryl Banks III chased in a wide-open, straight-away three but was immediately answered by Jocius on the other end who did the same. The scoring continued to come quickly as Brown flushed a one-handed dunk and Brickus found nylon on a fadeaway jumper.

The three-balls kept falling for the Bonnies as Adams-Woods struck next with a corner three off a Banks feed. Shepherd answered with a layup, but Bonas continued their brisk pace. Just three seconds after Shepherd’s make, Banks cashed a wing three off a long pass by Adams-Woods. Brickus went to the line on La Salle’s final possession of the first half where he knocked in his pair of free throws before Brown banked-in a midrange prayer to beat the buzzer. The Bonnies led 42-34 at the half.

Pride led all scorers in the first half with 13 points while both Brown and Shepherd had nine apiece. Other notable scorers in the first 20 minutes were Jocius with seven, Banks with six and Brickus with six. The Explorers went 13/26 (50.0%) from the field, 4/8 (50.0%) from deep and 4/5 (80.0%) from the free throw line. The Bonnies shot 15/32 (46.9%) from the floor, 5/9 (55.6%) from three and 7/9 (77.8%) from the charity stripe. Bonaventure outrebounded La Salle 22-10 overall and 12-4 on the offensive glass in the first half. Each team committed four turnovers in the opening frame.

The Bonnies stuck first in the second half as a defensive stop led to Venning scoring in close. The Explorers responded to the Venning bucket with a runner from Brantley in the lane before Gill got a layup to fall. Adams-Woods then got to the foul line as both offenses struggled through slow second-half starts. The Cincinnati transfer made both his free throws to push the Bonnies lead back to eight about five minutes into the half.

The Explorers were forced to call a timeout as they became trapped in the corner due to a loose ball. However, that allowed Fran Dunphy to draw up a play that resulted in an easy layup for Jocius. That bucket would open the offensive flood gates over the next few minutes. Brown responded to Jocius’ bucket with a lay in of his own. Brickus then banged a three as Adams-Woods got a teardrop to fall. Brickus then scored again, this time in close, before Adams-Woods responded with a layup on the second straight possession. The Explorers continued to cut away at their deficit as Brantley hit a deep triple. Shepherd was next to score as he made a pair of free throws. La Salle then tied the game at 52 with a runner floater from Brickus. The game hit the under-12 media timeout with the Explorers on a 14-5 run.

The run continued out of the break as Pride fouled Wahlberg Fasasi shooting a three. The freshman made all three of his free throws as La Salle led for the first time since it was 11-9 early in the first half. Flowers ended a 17-5 and 10-0 La Salle run as he split from the free throw line. The Bonnies would get their first field goal in nearly three minutes on the following possession as Flowers got a base-line runner to fall to re-tie the game. Next it was Venning’s turn to go to the line btu would miss both his shots. However, the Bonnies would retake the lead as Adams-Woods found a layup on the follow possession. Bonas led 57-55 with just 7:19 remaining.

The Explorers re-tied the game immediately after the under-eight media timeout as Gill missed a free throw, grabbed an offensive rebound, and then put it back in. Gill went back to work following a Bonnie turnover as he got a bucket and a foul at the rim. He would miss his free throw as the Explorer lead stayed at 59-57. The back-and-forth game continued as Banks was fouled shooting a three. The leading free-throw shooter for the Bonnies made all three shots to put his team back in front. Next it was Jocius finding himself all alone in the corner for three before Venning completed an old-fashioned three-point play seconds later. It was 63-62 St. Bonaventure with just five minutes to play.

La Salle came out of the timeout with another set play that got Jocius an easy bucket. After Venning and Assa missed layups on the other end, Brickus scored from an odd angle to push the Explorer lead to three. Adams-Woods then got his hands dirty with an offensive rebound before he drew the foul. The fifth-year guard made his free throws before Flowers cashed in a massive straight-away triple to put Bonas back up two with under two to play. Brantley would go to the line on the following possession and make his free throws. The game was tied at 68 with just 1:31 remaining.

The Bonnies pulled themselves back in front following the Brantley free throws. Venning made a nice move in the post before laying it in to retake the lead. Then it was Banks taking over. The tournament-seasoned guard drew the offensive foul on one end before grabbing an extremely tough reverse lay on the other. Bonas now led by four with just 26 seconds left. The Explorers refused to go down without a fight, though, as a simply pick and roll got Jocius an easy dunk just six seconds later. Flowers was fouled on the inbound and made both of his free throws. The Bonnies led by four with 17 seconds to play.

La Salle came back down the floor with urgency as Brickus took a deep wing three. He missed but was fouled by Evans. Brickus made all three free throws to cut his teams’ deficit to 74-73 with just 11 seconds remaining. The Bonnies were unable to get the ball to a guard on the ensuing inbound play, so, it was Venning that was fouled. The center split from the line as the Bonnies led by two with 10 seconds to go. The Explorers would get a pair of looks to continue their season on the game’s final possession. Brickus airballed a desperation three. However, it would fall right into Shepherd’s hands who missed a game-tying dunk as time expired. Bonaventure survived and advanced with a 75-73 win.

Brickus ended the game as the leading scorer with 18 points. The Explorers had four other players in double figures in the loss, including Jocius with 15. Admas-Woods led the Bonnies with 15 points while Pride had 13 and Venning had 12. Three other Bonaventure players were also in double figures in the win. La Salle shot 26/53 (49.1%) from the floor, 7/16 (43.8%) from deep and 14/17 (82.4%) from the line. Bonas went 25/58 (43.1%) from the field, 6/15 (40.0%) from deep and 19/24 (79.2%) from the free throw line. The Bonnies outrebounded the Explorers 34-30 while only committing six turnovers compared to La Salle’s nine.

The Bonnies have advanced to Atlantic 10 Tournament Quarterfinals and will take on the Loyola Chicago Ramblers tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.


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