Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bonnies Outlast Rams in OT, Move to First in A-10 Standings

St. Bonaventure Athletics
January 26, 2012
KINGSTON, R.I. - St. Bonaventure (11-7, 4-2 Atlantic 10) erased a 10-point halftime deficit and held on for a hard-fought 72-66 overtime victory over Rhode Island (3-18, 0-6) at the Ryan Center.

The Bonnies started the second half on an 11-0 run, holding the Rams scoreless over a 6:23 span, as Andrew Nicholson came roaring back after sitting all but six minutes in the first half.

Da'Quan Cook poured in a season-high 18 points for the second straight game, while Nicholson shot 7-of-10 from the field for 16 points in 24 minutes. Demitrius Conger rounded out the trio of double figure scorers with 11.

Matthew Wright's jumper with 1:48 to go  in the second half gave SBU a two-point lead, but Rhode Island's Orion Outerbridge grabbed an offensive rebound and made it count after Andre Malone's missed 3-pointer with 1:10 left. Malone also missed a 3-pointer in the dying seconds of the half that would have snapped the tie.

After trading jabs in the overtime period, Youssou Ndoye's two-handed dunk off an inside feed from Wright with 1:17 remaining gave the Bonnies a lead they would not relinquish in securing their first win at Rhode Island since Jan. 6, 2002.

The win vaults the Bonnies into a five way tie for first in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings.

The freshman center dunked, drew a charge, blocked a shot and grabbed the game's final rebound – all in the last 77 seconds – to give the Bonnies a spark. He totaled five points and three rebounds.

The Rams were 0-for-6 from the field in the final frame but trailed 70-66 with 16 seconds left after Wright hit a pair from the stripe. On URI's next possession, Wright chased down Billy Baron – the son of head coach Jim Baron – to swat away a 3-pointer that would have brought the Rams within one.

St. Bonaventure returns to action on Saturday to host Richmond (12-9, 3-3).
NOTES: Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan was among the credentialed media … Ryan is taking in one game at each of the Division I New England-area schools in preparation for the NCAA Regional Championship in Boston March 23 and 24 … Number 23 Chris Johnson scored the Bonnies' 23rd point … representatives from the NBA's Spurs, Celtics, Thunder and Raptors were also at the game.

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