Bonnies Bounce UMass

July 9, 2010 Updated Jul 8, 2010 at 3:29 PM EDT

By WKBW Sports

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Bonnies Bounce UMass

July 9, 2010 Updated Jul 8, 2010 at 3:29 PM EDT

AMHERST, Mass. — For the second straight game it was the sophomore class to the rescue, as a game-high 26 points from Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ontario/Father Michael Goetz Secondary) and Michael Davenport’s (Cincinnati, Ohio/Moeller) first career double-double helped St. Bonaventure hold on for a 70-69 Atlantic 10 win at Massachusetts on Wednesday night at the Mullins Center.
The road win is the first of the season for the Bonnies, who improve to 9-8 on the year and 2-2 in the A-10. The Brown and White have now taken two straight from the Minutemen, as they fall to 7-11 on the year and 1-4 in the conference.
Nicholson’s 26 points came on 10-of-18 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Nicholson used his entire 7-foot-4 wingspan to also add seven boards and five blocks. Davenport’s first career double-double featured 16 points on 7-of-11 from the floor and a game-high 10 rebounds. The Bonnies are now 7-1 this season when Davenport reaches double figures.
“I’m really proud of our guys because we fought for the entire 40 minutes,” said head coach Mark Schmidt. “Andrew was spectacular on both ends, but Michael was the real hero. He did a great job of attacking the boards and grabbed a couple huge rebounds that got use the defensive stops we needed.”
The Bonnies shook off a sluggish performance on the offensive end in the first half and shot 57 percent (16-28) in the second half to finish a shade under 50 percent (27-56) for the game. UMass entered as the fourth-best rebounding team in the A-10, but the Brown and White owned a 40-32 edge on the glass en route to a 20-13 advantage in second chance points.
Another key to the offensive turnaround in the second half was St. Bonaventure’s ability to take care of the basketball. After committing 10 turnovers in the first half, the Bonnies handed out 12 assists with just six giveaways over the final 20 minutes. Senior Chris Matthews (Washington, D.C./Lutheran Christian Academy) had all five of his assists in the second half without committing a turnover.
UMass was led by senior All-Conference guard Ricky Harris who scored 22 points, including 14 in the second half. Junior Anthony Gurley chipped in 16 points, while freshman Freddie Riley scored 12 points off the bench.
Nicholson was one of the few highlights in a sloppily played opening 20 minutes by both teams that featured eight lead changes and six ties. The rangy 6-foot-9 forward accounted for half of St. Bonaventure’s 30-27 lead, while also collecting five rebounds and four blocks.
The two teams combined to shoot just 22-for-58 from the field in the first half, including 1-for-16 from long range. The Brown and White were hampered by 10 turnovers, but made up for it by scoring 11 points off six offensive rebounds and going 8-of-12 from the free throw line.
A fast-paced second half saw the Bonnies fight off an early 32-32 tie and build a seven-point lead, 45-38, thanks to six consecutive points. Two straight buckets by Davenport and a breakaway layup by Malcolm Eleby (Philadelphia, Pa./Franklin Learning Center) off a pass from Matthews accounted for all six points.
St. Bonaventure built up the only double-digit lead, 57-47, with just under 10 minutes to play until a quick 7-0 UMass run brought the home team within three, at 57-54.
Trialing by three with a chance to tie the game, the Minutemen committed a costly turnover when Matthews stepped in front of crosscourt pass and found a streaking Eleby for a streak-breaking layup at the 8:44 mark.
The Bona lead reached two possessions on a pair of occasions until a three-pointer by Riley and four consecutive points by Harris, including a dunk that forced Schmidt to call a timeout tied the score at 68-68 with 2:54 remaining.
After a big offensive rebound by sophomore Da’Quan Cook (Elizabeth, N.J./Miller School) gave the Bonnies another possession, they went inside to Nicholson who drew the foul and proceeded to make both free throws for a 70-68 lead.
Gurley made 1-of-2 at the other end on the next possession for the final 70-69 score. Both teams had possessions down the stretch, but it was Riley’s open look from the right wing with three seconds that caromed off the rim and gave the Bonnies the road victory.
St. Bonaventure will stay on the road for its next A-10 contest when it heads to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne (9-8, 0-4 A-10) on Saturday, Jan. 23. Tip time at the Palumbo Center is slated for 7 p.m.

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