Saint Joseph's (20-12) vs. St. Bonaventure (17-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 9, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Boardwalk Hall (10,500) -- Atlantic City, New Jersey. Television: CBSSN-Regional. Home Record: Saint Joseph's 13-3, St. Bonnies 11-2. Away Record: Saint Joseph's 5-8, St. Bonnies 6-8. Neutral Record: Saint Joseph's 2-1, St. Bonnies 0-1. Conference Record: Saint Joseph's 9-7, St. Bonnies 10-6. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 46-17.
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship, the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure hit the floor at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this afternoon to take on the Saint Joseph's Hawks in the quarterfinals of the 36th annual event.
The Bonnies, just 13-28 in this tournament over the years, are the fourth seed this time around after producing a record of 10-6 in conference play this season. The team had been enjoying a four-game win streak late in the regular season before losing the final game a week ago at La Salle, 71-61.
As for the fifth-seeded Hawks, two-time winners of the tourney, they began their road to the Jersey shore on Tuesday night with an 80-64 win over Charlotte, which means the team's record in the tournament all-time is now 32-27, its win total ranking second only to Philly rival Temple (53).
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Hawks lead by a lopsided 46-17 margin, although it was St. Bonaventure that won the most recent meeting just over a week ago, 98-93, in double overtime. The teams have clashed a total of four times in the conference tournament, with Saint Joseph's capturing three wins, although they haven't met in the event since 1997 when the Hawks posted a 75-59 win in the quarterfinals and eventually went on to win the title.
The winner of this outing will move on to the semifinals on Saturday to clash with the survivor of the UMass/Temple battle for the right to move on to the title game on Sunday afternoon.
Carl Jones scored 23 points, leading five players in double figures, as Saint Joseph's delivered the 16-point win over the 49ers in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament at Hagan Arena three nights ago. Also hitting for double digits for the Hawks were Langston Galloway with 18 points, Halil Kanacevic 16, and both Ronald Roberts and C.J. Aiken with 10 points apiece. Kanacevic filled out his stat line with a game-high 11 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots in order to offset his five turnovers. The hosts made good on 54.7 percent from the field overall and 10-of-21 on the perimeter, while limiting the visitors to just 5-of-19 shooting beyond the arc. Through 32 games this season, of which he has appeared in and started all but one, Jones leads the Hawks in scoring with 16.5 ppg and is also one of the top passers with his 100 assists, while Galloway checks in with 15.9 ppg. Aiken and Ronald Roberts are both responsible for 11.0 ppg and combine for more than 11 rpg as well for the Hawks.
Even though he stumbled a number of times this season, while being touted as an All-America candidate for the Bonnies, Andrew Nicholson ended up being named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year just the same for the Bonnies. He came on strong down the stretch for the program as he averaged 25.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg in the final eight conference games. A two-time pick for the A-10 First-Team, Nicholson is a 2,000-point scorer who became the first player since Bob Lanier in 1967 to deliver a game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. But Nicholson can't do it all himself and that's where Demitrius Conger comes in with his 12.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg. However, beyond those two the Bonnies have to reach a bit deeper for consistent scorers to help them along as they generate 70.3 ppg. Defensively, the Bonnies have surrendered 64.7 ppg while limiting the competition to just 41.8 percent from the floor and 32.4 percent accuracy beyond the arc.
Even though the Bonnies trail in the series by a huge margin, they recently proved that they can still defeat Saint Joseph's and as long as Nicholson is on top of his game, it could certainly happen again this afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 76, Saint Joseph's 71
03/09 10:41:01 ET