By Kevin Sweeney
For most of the night, the high-powered St. Bonaventure offense was kept at bay.
In the end, however, the Bonnies, especially the guard duo of Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams, got going, and it was enough to lead a comeback win, 67-63 over St. Joseph’s at the Reilly Center in Olean, NY.
Adams scored a game-high 19 points, while Mobley scored all 13 of his points in the final 12:18 to help the Bonnies comeback from an 18 point second half deficit.
From the outset, things were a struggle for St. Bonaventure offensively. The Bonnies went over 7:30 without a point in the early stages of the first half, conceding a 13-0 run over that stretch to fall behind 13-2. That opening run set the tone for the entire half, as St. Joe’s held the double-digit lead for the entirety of the first half. While the Hawks have struggled offensively since losing Shavar Newkirk for the season to an ACL tear, they had no such issues in the opening period, posting 42 first half points. A half-court buzzer-beater from Idris Taqqee did give the Bonnies some momentum, but they still trailed by 15 at the break.
It seemed like more of the same early in the second half, with the St. Joe’s lead stretching back to 18 on a Lamarr Kimble jumper with 14:07 to play. Kimble led the Hawks with 14 points.
It was all Bonnies from then on.
A quick 11-2 run got SBU back within striking distance, and it was during that stretch that Mobley got comfortable in the game with a 3 and a pair of assists.
“The first 30 minutes were terrible, probably the worst 30 minutes I’ve played in my life.” Mobley said. “After I saw that first three go in, it gave me confidence and I picked it up in the last 10 minutes.”
However, things still looked bleak for St. Bonaventure when they trailed 61-51 with 4:22 to play. But Mobley heated up, draining triples on back-to-back possessions to bring the Bonnies within 5. After Mobley finished through contact on a strong drive to the rim to cut the deficit to just 1, freshman big man Josh Ayeni drained a mid-range jumper to give the Bonnies their first lead since 2-0.
What really keyed the comeback for SBU was the ability to get stops on defense. St. Joe’s slowed down the tempo, which seemed to take away the flow from their offense. This allowed the Bonnies to hold the Hawks to just 2 points in the final 4:22.
Adams sealed the deal by going 4-4 from the free throw line in the final 30 seconds.
It’s a huge win for St. Bonaventure, who moves to 5-2 in A-10 play to stay 1 of the pace for first in the conference. Meanwhile, it’s yet another setback for the Hawks, who are now 2-5 in conference play.