Disappointment shows on faces of Dion Wright, Marcus Posley and Mark Schmidt. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
BY RAY FLORIANI
Brooklyn, NY - The most exciting and pulsating game was saved for last. In the final quarterfinal of the night, Davidson edged St. Bonaventure in overtime, 90-86. The win brought the Wildcats to 20-11. St. Bonaventure is 22-8, and will play the waiting game until Sunday. Davidson faces VCU in the second semifinal Saturday at Barclays Center.
First Half: The first five possessions saw Davidson get out to an 8-6 lead at the 16:54 mark. The first five appeared to be a microcosm of Davidson’s attack, two threes and a two point field goal. The Bonnies spent a good part of the half in an attack the rim mode. Mark Schmidt’s club is pushing the ball, getting out for a favorable scoring opportunity. Davidson fell behind by six early and did not waver from their game plan. Trailing a good part of the half, St. Bonaventure goes on a run fueled by Marcus Posley. Barclays Center is erupting with Bona fans, as they take a 37-32 lead into the break. For Mark Schmidt, halftime should be addressed in slowing down Jack Gibbs (13 points), Davidson’s lone double-figure scorer. Bob McKillop’s concern is stopping transition by the Bonnies.
Halftime: St. Bonaventure 37, Davidson 32
Possessions: St. Bonaventure 35, Davidson 34
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bonaventure 110, Davidson 94
Second Half: The first five is not complete, as Davidson calls a timeout after three possessions. The Bonnies scored on their first three trips to build a 12-point lead. Bona ‘wins’ the first five by a 7-2 count. The Wildcats have settled down after that timeout, and are more effective offensively. The Bonnies are getting some nice interior passing, with the extra passes leading to lay-ins. At the 12-minute mark, the Bonnies lead by eleven. This is a game of runs, and you can expect at least another one from Davidson. Defensively, the Wildcats are defending the interior a little better, looking to eliminate the uncontested close shot. With under four minutes to play, the Bonnies lead by five. Gibbs is a handful to guard. Not only does he shoot it very well, he is in constant motion, running off screens, cutting, anything to get open. With a minute left, the Bonaventure lead is one. There are 10.9 seconds left in a tie game before Posley misses a 13-footer at the buzzer.
End of Regulation: 75-75
Overtime: Davidson buries threes in consecutive trips (none by Gibbs) to open a six-point lead. The Bonnies cut it to two with just over a minute left. Davidson’s Brian Sullivan buries a huge three beyond NBA range. Interestingly, Gibbs has not scored a field goal in overtime. The Bonnies have ball down three with 18 seconds left. VCU coach Will Wade; doing advance scouting, says, “go for two or thre./” I say two, as there is a lot of time left. He agrees. The Bonnies go for three and miss, but get the rebound as Davidson fouls. The Bonnies make and miss as Davidson rebounds to seal it.
Final: Davidson 90, St. Bonaventure 86
Offensive efficiency: Davidson 117, St. Bonaventure 112
eFG%: Davidson 48, St. Bonaventure 51
Free Throw Rate: Davidson 34, St. Bonaventure 21
Offensive Rebound%: Davidson 29 , St. Bonaventure 29
Turnover Rate: Davidson 7, St. Bonaventure 9
What St. Bonaventure did well: Get in the paint. Posley did knock down five treys while the likes of Wright got in the lane and more often than not, finished. Bonaventure held a 54-32 edge on points in the paint.
What Davidson did well: Stay resilient and not give in. “We were down 12 in the second half,” said Davidson’s Jack Gibbs. “We just stayed positive and determined to come back one possession at a time.”
NOTES: The overtime game had 77 possessions, yet both teams had turnover rates coaches can dream about. Raw numbers saw Davidson with five turnovers and the Bonnies seven. Wright led all rebounders with 15. Peyton Aldridge, who hit three free throws to tie the game late in regulation, paced the Wildcats with 10. Posley committed three of the Bonnies’ seven turnovers, but did add a team high five assists. Gibbs led all in that category handing out seven assists, against one turnover in 43 minutes. The Bonnies were 9-of-16 from the foul line, a performance not in line with their prior showings, and an accurate reason as any as to why they came up short.
“Terrific game, both teams emptied their tanks. We have had moments like this and talked about it in the huddle. We were down last year against LaSalle and pulled it off. It was exhilarating to hear our players’ conversations and being positive on the bench. Credit our assistants for suggesting some sets to run. We have great assistants that came up with some great contributions. VCU tomorrow, I honestly can’t think about that right now.” - Davidson coach Bob McKillop
“I took the free throws (to tie) one at a time.” - Peyton Aldridge of Davidson
“Brian (Sullivan) is one of the best shooters I ever played with. He hit two big threes a lot of people couldn’t hit.” - Jack Gibbs of Davidson
“Great game, give Davidson credit for making plays. We did a decent job guarding. We made those plays this year, tonight they made them. We had our chances and came up short. End of regulation, we ran a two-man game with Dion (Wright) and Marcus, (Posley) and I thought he (Posley) had a good shot. Long shots create long rebounds. They got some long ones, but didn’t see the stats and rebounding totals. They just made some very good plays. Didn’t have that third and fourth guy scoring. Jay (Adams) struggled with his back bothering him a bit. Disappointed, our goal was to come here and try to win it. Hopefully our resume is good enough, we had some good wins against some top 50 teams. I think we are deserving.” - St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt
“We didn’t execute at the end. Great support from our fans, they have been consistent supporting us all year.” - Marcus Posley of St. Bonaventure
“It hurts. I played hard, my teammates played hard, but we came up short.” - Dion Wright of St. Bonaventure