Courtesy of GoBonnies.com
Jaylen Adams posted a game-high 23 points and handed out seven assists while Denzel Gregg delivered 16 points to lead St. Bonaventure past Niagara, 79-69, in the Big 4 Classic at Key Bank Center.
St. Bonaventure (7-3) used a big first half run to take control of Saturday’s contest, stretching ahead by a 32-17 score with 5:46 remaining in the opening stanza.
Niagara would respond by finishing the half on a 14-2 break, closing to a 34-31 margin at halftime following a long three from James Towns a second before the buzzer.
It was just a two-point game, 47-45, with 13:30 to play before Adams hit the accelerator. The junior guard launched a personal 11-0 run, draining three shots from long range and adding a pair of free throws on four consecutive trips down the floor to push the Bona lead back to 58-45.
From there the Purple Eagles got as close as eight on two occasions, but the Bonnies did not relinquish control.
How It Happened:
Saturday’s game saw a slow start from both sides – the teams combined for just six points over the first five and a half minutes.
St. Bonaventure began to take control after a sluggish start. A pair of threes back-to-back from the backcourt duo of Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams ignited a 12-2 run from the Bonnies.
Adams’ 12 points during the first half helped the Bonnies pull ahead, 32-17, with 5:46 remaining in the opening stanza.
The Bonnies went scoreless over the final 3:58 of the first half, however, with Niagara closing on a 14-2 blitz.
Niagara’s first half run came as Adams was forced to sit after picking up his second foul with six minutes remaining before halftime.
A layup by Matt Scott brought Niagara within 47-45 with 13:59 to play before Adams took control. Adams posted a trio of shots from beyond the arc, adding a trip to the foul line as the Bonnies pushed ahead, 58-45, at the 11:19 mark.
The lead remained between eight and 13 points the rest of the way. Niagara cut its deficit to 68-60 with 4:15 remaining, but a layup from David Andoh followed by a Gregg block on the defensive end squashed the Eagles’ rally effort.
Niagara kept itself in the game by going 16-19 at the foul line.
Bona picked up 26 bench points, led by Mobley’s 13.
Quotes From Bonnies Coach Mark Schmidt:
“Both teams got off to tough starts, neither team was able to practice here or shoot this morning and it is a little different shooting in here. I thought we played well in spurts during the first half, but give Niagara credit for making it a three-point game at halftime.”
“It was back-and-forth and I thought Jay was the difference. Jay and LaDarien did a tremendous job. LaDarien gave us a real lift and other than Jay he was the player of the game.”
On Adams’ second-half scoring streak: “Jay picked us up and gave us a big lift. He is a talented player who has the ability to take over games. He did what your leaders have to do.”
“Our veteran guys came out in the second half and got us re-energized in the second half.”
Beyond The Box score:
Sophomore LaDarien Griffin made his first career start.
Griffin hauled in a career-high nine rebounds including five offensive boards. He entered the game with 11 rebounds for the season. Griffin’s two assists were also a career-best as he also set his career high in minutes, logging 28 on Saturday.
Sophomore Nelson Kaputo saw his first action of the season, finishing with three points, one assist and one steal in 10 minutes off the bench.
Gregg went a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor and finished with two blocks, surpassing 100 for his Bonnies career.
Bona shot over 56 percent (18-for-32) from the floor during the second half, finishing at 47 percent overall on the day (31-66).
Up Next: St. Bonaventure returns home to the Reilly Center to face Army West Point on Monday at 7 p.m. Monday is Service Night as the Bonnies honor local service men and women who have served the community. Tickets start at $7 with tickets in the student section available for $15 with a voucher good for a food or drink item at the concession stand.