|Posted on March 13, 2018 at 11:20 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The UCLA Bruins began their "First Four" contest with the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in what sounded like a crowd tilting toward the Bonnies in Dayton Ohio, as the dual 11-seeds squared off to take the spot outright with the opportunity to move on to face the 6th-seeded Florida Gators on the line.
UCLA started out with a 5-0 lead amidst the dominant voices that were pro-Bonnies.
St Bonaventure would tie it up on their own 5-0 run at 5-5 all.
Then, the Bruins went on a 9-0 run before traffic at the rim bounced one in for the Bonnies to make it 14-7 Bruins at the 15:40 mark.
Senior guard Matt Mobley took his defender to the rim from out by the three-point line to get St. Bonaventure within two possessions, 14-9.
After a three by freshman guard Jaylen Hands, Mobley would respond right back with a deep shot of his own to get back to a five-point deficit, 17-12.
Multiple offensive rebounds following a steal led to points at the rim for the Bonnies, bringing the Bruins' lead to two, 17-15.
Then, junior forward LaDarien Griffin threw down at the rim following yet another St. Bonaventure steal to tie it up at 17 apiece.
Junior guard/forward Courtney Stockard would take off toward the rim, see trouble coming, and slam it home through the traffic to get the Bonnies' deficit down to one, 20-19.
Bonnies' junior guard Nelson Kaputo would take a trip down the lane and flip the ball up on an off-balance try that would fall to get St. Bonaventure back within one, 22-21.
Stockard would attack the rim with just under five minutes to go in the first half, and would get fouled, making both of his free throws to give St. Bonaventure their first lead of the game, at 23-22, with 4:52 before the break.
Following the media timeout at the 3:20 mark, senior guard Jaylen Adams would head to the rim for two to get the Bonnies out ahead by three, 25-22.
A 1-for-2 outing at the line by Stockard would provide St. Bonaventure with a four-point advantage, 26-22.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Prince Ali would make it a one-possession deficit for UCLA by going 1-for-2 himself at the line right before the one-minute mark.
Senior guard Idris Taqqee would knock down a jumper next to the free-throw line before the halftime buzzer, sending the Bonnies into the locker room ahead by two possessions, 28-23.
At the close of the first half, St. Bonaventure had seven steals to UCLA's one, and had forced 11 turnovers while UCLA had forced three.
A tip-in before the 16:30 mark of the second half by Ali, though, placed the Bruins even with the Bonnies at 32-32.
Ali would lay it in to answer Stockard to keep things even at 34-34 to follow.
UCLA and St. Bonaventure would trade the lead back and forth shortly after, with St. Bonaventure tying and taking the lead at the line thanks to Mobley going 2-for-2 to make it 38-37 St. Bonaventure.
But, junior guard Aaron Holiday's three would give the lead right back to the Bruins, at 40-38.
Both teams combined to go 6-for-7 from the field in a three-minute span from approximately the 15-minute mark to 12 minutes remaining in the game.
Stockard would tie it up for the Bonnies at the line, at 44-44, but redshirt-sophomore forward Alex Olesinski would take the lead back 10 seconds later at the rim.
Olesinski would connect on a jumper to aid the Bruins back out to an advantage, this time up five, 51-46.
Stockard would head outside for a three and Griffin would grab a contested loose ball and finish at the rim to tie the game for St. Bonaventure at 51-all.
Then, Stockard would steal the ball and make an acrobatic move at the rim, getting the ball off the glass, and his teammate Mobley would get two of his own to move the Bonnies out to a 55-51 advantage with under six minutes to play.
Mobley's three elevated St. Bonaventure up to a seven-point advantage, 58-51, with just about four minutes remaining, with the team on a 12-0 run.
That run was broken by Holiday's jumper that brought UCLA within five, 58-53.
Ali would make a long-distance connection shortly after to get the Bruins to a one-possession game, down 58-56.
A foul called on Adams placed Holiday at the line who made both of his freebies to knot it up at 58 apiece.
Immediately following, Adams went to the other end and launched a deep two that was graced by the inside of the nylon to get St. Bonaventure back ahead, 60-58, with under a min to play.
Adams went to the line himself with 27 seconds to go and made both of his free throws to move the Bonnies out to a 62-58 lead.
He would make another at the line with 20.1 seconds left in the contest, putting St. Bonaventure up 63-58.
Two charges were called on Holiday in the final 30 seconds of the game, fouling him out.
Mobley would step to the line with 11.2 seconds to go and make both of his free throws, giving St. Bonaventure a seven-point lead, at 65-58, a lead they would take to the end of the match.
For the game, the Bonnies had 11 steals to the Bruins' one, while the Bruins turned the ball over 20 times to the Bonnies' six.
Stockard led all Bonnies with 26 points on 9-for-20 shooting.
Holiday had the most points for the Bruins, with 20, before fouling out.
As the outright 11-seed, St. Bonaventure has a match-up with the 6th-seeded Florida Gators in the Round of 64 in Dallas, Texas.