St. Bonaventure is two years removed from an unlikely run through the Atlantic 10 Tournament, and now they are halfway to repeating history after a stunning 71-68 win over No. 18 Saint Louis.
The ninth-seeded Bonnies were able to upset the top-seeded Billikens thanks to a three-pointer at the buzzer from guard Jordan Gathers. St. Bonaventure used a 43-point second half to erase a 10-point halftime deficit, with an aggressive trapping zone defense that left Saint Louis unable to get set on several possessions.
St. Bonaventure was able to scratch its way back and even hold a five point lead late in the second half, but Saint Louis big man Dwayne Evans hit a 3-pointer over Bonaventure’s 7-foot center Youssou Ndoye with 20.9 seconds remaining. Evans had made just three 3-pointers all year.
St. Bonaventure was led by Matthew Wright and Charlon Kloof, who each had 22 points. Gathers, the nephew of late basketball player Hank Gathers, had just two points prior to his game-winning shot.
Prior to the tournament, St. Bonaventure had lost four straight games, but looked strong in an 83-72 opening round win over La Salle. Few expected them to win the matchup against Saint Louis, the reigning Atlantic 10 champion who had been ranked in the Top 25 for most of the season.
The Bonnies will now try to re-create the magic from a 2012 run, when Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and NBA first-round draft pick Andrew Nicholson propelled the team through to the school’s first-ever conference title an a berth to the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure will now play the winner of Dayton and St. Joseph’s.