Three-OT Thriller Proves Bonnies Are Tourney Team
ST. BONAVENTURE — At 12:17 a.m. Wednesday morning, Jaylen Adams waved to the crowd as he walked off Bob Lanier Court with fellow seniors Matt Mobley and Idris Taqqee for presumably the final time.
If St. Bonaventure’s 117-113 triple-overtime win over Davidson was indeed the trio’s last game inside the Reilly Center, what a sendoff it was.
Twenty-three lead changes and 15 ties.
Two-hundred and thirty points combined.
One-hundred and forty-eight field goal attempts.
“It was the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of,” Adams said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I mean … we could’ve finished it in regulation, but this was a special game that is probably going to go down in history.”
“Those three seniors will never forget this day the rest of their lives,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt added. “I’m glad I was a part of it.”
Five players scored at least 30 points between the two teams, led by Wildcats senior Peyton Aldridge, who knocked Steph Curry out of the top-five single-game scoring performances at Davidson with a career-high 45-point night.
The Leavittsburg, Ohio native also moved into third on the Davidson all-time scoring list with 2,069 points before fouling out with 3:59 left in the third overtime.
Freshman phenom Kellan Grady, who very well may be playing in the NBA in the near future, added 39 points while making all 16 of his free throw attempts.
“Aldridge and Grady are two of the best players in our league and they showed it tonight,” Mark Schmidt said.
Junior Courtney Stockard actually tried to steal the show from the seniors very early in the game, scoring the Bonnies’ first 17 points in 4:29 as they jumped out to a 13-point lead. That included four 3-pointers from the St. Louis native who had made just 9-of-31 (29 percent) treys entering the night.
Adams, who had just 8 points at halftime, finished with a team-high 34 and made sure the spotlight shifted to him late in regulation. The Baltimore native scored 20 points in the second half, including a 3-pointer that gave St. Bonaventure a 70-68 lead with 5:47 remaining, and another that gave his team a 73-70 lead just 47 seconds later.
During the first overtime, Adams got in one of those long-range zones he has gotten in so often over the past four years. With 2:27 left, the 6-foot-2 guard gave his team an 84-82 lead with his fourth 3-pointer of the night and less than a minute later broke an 84-84 tie with his fifth and final trey of the game.
Taqqee did what he has done over the entirety of his time at St. Bonaventure. He only finished with 3 points, but they were big free throws that all came in overtime to either help the Bonnies hang around, or hold onto their lead. The Snellville, Georgia native also grabbed eight rebounds, blocked three shots and handed out a pair of assists while being a leader on the defensive end of the floor.
But the end of the night belonged to Mobley, who entered the three extra sessions with 11 points, but finished with 33, including five 3-pointers and 14-of-16 shooting from the charity stripe.
“You are only as good as your seniors. … Playing 55 minutes isn’t easy to do at this level,” Schmidt said of Mobley. ” … He played terrific and made his foul shots at the end.”
With the other four St. Bonaventure starters disqualified due to fouls, Mobley became the only legitimate option on the floor. The Worcester, Massachusetts native tallied 11 of the Bonnies’ final 16 points — nine from the free throw stripe — and was their emotional leader down the stretch.
“It’s a special place. … It was a great atmosphere,” Mobley said. “I told the guys we weren’t going to leave until we got the win.”
Following the game, ESPN reported that it was the first time in 20 years that three teammates eclipsed 30 points in the same game.
Other depth players played their roles as well. Amadi Ikpeze played just 20 minutes, despite starting for St. Bonaventure, and grabbed four huge rebounds in the third overtime. Nelson Kaputo played 11 minutes — mostly after Adams fouled out — and made three huge free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, while also coming up with a huge assist on a Tshiefu “Chef” Ngalakulondi dunk in the third overtime.
“I told the team after the first overtime that someone was going to have to step up off the bench that hasn’t played,” Schmidt said. “We did. We ran the play and Chef had a dunk. We made enough plays, especially when Jay went out of the game and we were shorthanded.”
It was a total team effort by St. Bonaventure (23-6, 13-4), which won its record 11th straight game, locked up the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament and broke the school record for regular-season victories.
“We wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are right now without Idris and Matt and Jay,” Schmidt said. ” … I’m just proud and happy that they were able to go out this way … having a memorable game, a game that will go down in the history of the Reilly Center as probably the best one.”
I challenge any member of the NCAA Tournament selection committee to watch next week’s action in Washington, D.C. in person and argue that the Atlantic 10 is not at least a two-bid conference.
St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island should be dancing in the Field of 68.