NCAA BK

Xavier fails in bid to win 1st A10 title since '06

Share This Story

   
 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP)

Coming into the Atlantic 10 title game, coach Chris Mack and everyone on Xavier knew the key to success was keeping Andrew Nicholson of St. Bonaventure out of the middle and away from his sweet spots on the floor.

The Musketeers failed miserably against the conference player of the year.

Nicholson had 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots, and St. Bonaventure won its first Atlantic 10 title by holding off Xavier 67-56 on Sunday.

In a 14-point win over the Bonnies in January, Xavier limited Nicholson to 20 points and eight rebounds. This time, he dominated on both ends.

''We had a good plan that we were able to execute in game one and really crowded him and made it difficult,'' Mack said. ''He did a better job, he out-executed our plan. He's unselfish. He gives it to you any way you want it.''

Not only did Nicholson hurt the Musketeers (21-12), they hurt themselves, falling behind by 16 points early and shooting 34 percent from the field.

''Everybody has off shooting nights,'' Xavier senior center Kenny Frease said. ''I don't know if it was anything they were particularly doing. A lot of shots that we were taking, we usually make.''

Da'Quan Cook and Charlon Kloof added nine points apiece for the fourth-seeded Bonnies (20-11), who will be returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000.

This is a rebirth for St. Bonaventure, a program that was embarrassed in 2003 for using an illegal player and then allowing its players to boycott the final two regular-season games after the conference suspended the player.

As the clock wound down, players hugged on the court and coach Mark Schmidt walked the bench and high-fived players.

''This is a great moment for the program and for the school,'' said Schmidt, who has turned things around in five seasons. ''From where we have come it's been a long, hard battle. A lot of times, you work and you work and you work and you still don't have success. But someone is looking over us, and I told the guys in the locker room, we worked and worked and worked and got lucky. We had success.''

Tu Holloway had 17 points and Mark Lyons added 16 for third-seeded Xavier, which last won the league title in 2006.

Nicholson, the 250-pound power forward from Canada, was clearly the difference in this one. The senior shot 7 of 13 from the field, hit all 10 of his free throws and single-handedly prevented Xavier from getting to the basket for most of the game.

Not only did Nicholson dominate inside, he showed a soft touch, hitting two 3-pointers in an early 22-5 run that gave the Bonnies a 16-point lead.

''He is an NBA player. Man, is he good,'' Mack said. ''He's extremely long, he's skilled, he's unselfish - a poor man's Tim Duncan. By far the best player in our league and an NBA team needs to take him in the first round.''

St. Bonaventure built the margin to 41-24 in the opening minutes of the second half, but Xavier, which has been to the last six NCAA tournaments and could make it seven with an at-large bid, made a run.

The Musketeers outscored St. Bonaventure 21-9 over a 10-minute spurt to get within 45-41 on a three-point play by freshman Dezmine Wells with 10:03 to play.

Demitrius Conger got St. Bonaventure back on track with a spinning drive that turned into a three-point play.

After Wells scored in the lane, the Musketeers had a chance to cut their deficit to two points, but a 3-pointer by Dee Davis hit off the rim and Nicholson eventually made it 50-43 with two free throws with 8:23 to play.

Xavier never got closer than five the rest of the way as Nicholson added six points down the stretch and Kloof iced the game with four free throws.

The Musketeers struggled from the field, shooting 34 percent (20 of 59). They were 2 of 13 from long range and were outrebounded 42-29.

Tagged: St. Bonaventure, Xavier, Tu Holloway, Andrew Nicholson

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..