NICEVILLE, Fla. — St. Bonaventure played without its top returning scorer, couldn’t hit a three-point shot all night and was on the short end in most other statistical categories, yet the Bonnies somehow managed to beat a bigger, stronger Maryland team.
After his team trailed most of the night, Courtney Stockard hit a driving layup in the closing seconds to give St. Bonaventure a 63-61 win over Maryland on Friday in the semi-finals of the Emerald Coast Classic.
“I thought our guys out-scrapped, out-worked (Maryland),” said St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt. “It was a blue collar approach. . We are not going to out-talent guys. We have a chance to out-work guys. That’s what we did.”
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon didn’t argue with that analysis.
“They played hard from the beginning,” Turgeon said. “We tried like crazy to get control of the game. It took us about 10 minutes to finally get going. . In the end our defense let us down. We gave them too many opportunities to get to the basket during their run. We didn’t make them shoot jumpers.”
St. Bonaventure (3-1) will meet Texas Christian (5-0) for the tournament title Saturday at Northwest Florida State College.
Matt Mobley led the Bonnies with 16 points while Stockard had 14. Josh Ayeni added 11. Anthony Cowan was the only Terp to score in double figures with 13.
The two teams battled back and forth all night ringing up 11 ties and eight lead changes. Maryland (5-1) held the lead most of the game, 25:42 to 5:55 for St. Bonaventure, but the Bonnies had it when it counted.
They came back from an eight-point second-half deficit to pull into a tie and then Stockard made the winning basket with 3.2 seconds left. Maryland was unable to get off a shot in the remaining time.
“I got the screen,” Stockard said. “I was just thinking attack. I found a lane and took it.”
The Bonnies again were without senior guard Jaylen Adams, their top returning scorer. Adams who averaged 20.6 points last season, has missed all four regular season games so far after spraining an ankle in an exhibition game.
Maryland: The Terps suffered their first loss of the season despite leading in most statistical categories. They outrebounded the Bonnies 36-29 and had a 42.2 percent to 38. 2 percent advantage from the field including a 5-0 edge in three-pointers, but they lost the game on the free-throw line. St. Bonaventure hit 21 or 25 from the charity stripe to 18 of 23 for the Terps.
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies won’t get a true picture of their potential until Adams returns. Until then they will have to rely of Mobley for senior leadership as well as scoring. They won even though Mobley had a sub-par night. He entered the game averaging 25 points, but made only three of 12 shots from the field. Mobley, though, was perfect from the free-throw line, making all 10 attempts.
LONG TIME NO SEE
It was the first ever meeting between the two schools although both have storied basketball histories that date back more than a century.
Maryland: The Terps face New Mexico (2-3) in the Emerald Coast consolation game on Saturday after the Lobos lost to Texas Christian 69-67 in the other semi-final. Adams is not expected to play.
St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies play on Saturday for the tournament title against undefeated TCU (5-0).