Toss out the hyperbole and just let this sink in: St. Bonaventure won at Syracuse.
Friday night, the Bonnies gritted out a 60-57 victory in overtime to earn their first win ever in the Carrier Dome and first win over Syracuse since 1981. But history is less important than what the game means to the 2017-18 season. This was the Bonnies' seventh consecutive win and gave them a 10-2 record heading into Atlantic 10 Conference play.
On a night decided by defense, a charge drawn by Courtney Stockard and a blocked three-pointer by LaDarien Griffinwere decisive. With the Bonnies clinging to a 58-57 lead, Stockard stepped in front of a driving Oshae Brissett and got the call with 12 seconds left. After the Orange fouled Jaylen Adams, he made two free throws to push the lead to 60-57. Griffin then blocked a potential game-tying shot by Howard Washington with six seconds remaining in the overtime.
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The Bonnies led by seven at halftime and pushed their advantage to as many as 13 points in the second half, going up 49-36 on the strength of a 9-0 run. A three-pointer by Matt Mobley and a dunk by Griffin with 12:59 left capped the surge.
It was a 51-38 game with 11:45 left when Syracuse rallied, using a full court trap to force the Bonnies into several turnovers. St. Bonaventure got a dunk by Amadi Ikpeze with 7:17 left in regulation that made it a 53-44 score, but, incredibly, that was the last field goal scored by the visitors – the whole night.
It took until the 1:18 mark but the Orange eventually tied the game at 53 on a three-point play by center Paschal Chukwu. The Bonnies had two three-pointers miss the mark, then got a defensive stand in the final 10 seconds to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Orange struck first, but Stockard made one free throw with 3:16 left, then added a pair at the line to put St. Bonaventure up 56-55 at the 2:48 mark. Two more Stockard free throws with 2:24 left pushed the Bonnies ahead 58-55.
Brissett scored in the lane to again make it a one-point game with 1:08 remaining to make it 58-57, setting the stage for the closing minute.
Adams was spectacular in the first half, scoring 21 of his game-high 23 points. He was 4-5 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes. Adams also grabbed nine rebounds and had two assists. He was the only Bonnies player to reach double figures. Griffin ended with nine points while Idris Taqqee and Mobley each scored eight.
The loss was just the second of the year for the Orange (10-2) and their first at home.
Stats of the Game
Taqqee led St. Bonaventure's defensive gem. Even as their offense struggled, scoring just 13 points in the second half, the Bonnies held Syracuse to five second half field goals on 23 shots (21 percent). St. Bonaventure also scored 17 points off 16 Syracuse turnovers.
Beyond The Boxscore
- St. Bonaventure's last seven-game winning streak was in the 1982-83 season.
- The Bonnies' 10-2 start is the program's best since the 1999-00 team opened 12-2.
- St. Bonaventure now has two wins over Power 5 programs this season (Maryland is the other) and five wins over top 125 RPI teams. Syracuse entered the game eighth in the NCAA.com RPI.
- Entering Friday's game, Syracuse had won the last 14 meetings with the Bonnies. The all-time series between the schools is now 24-4.
St. Bonaventure will break for the Christmas holiday and then return to action next Saturday, Dec. 30, at home against UMass as Atlantic 10 Conference play begins. Game time will be 2:30 at the Reilly Center.