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St. Bonaventure’s 3OT win over Davidson is our Game of the Year

This game had it 15 minutes

Photo: Vic Ozogar

I had planned on going to bed early on the night of Feb. 27.

I was in the midst of a string of marathon work nights, and even though there were a few late games scheduled, I was confident that if anything crazy happened, another editor here could handle it.

After Saint Joseph’s inexplicably demolished Rhode Island on the Rams’ senior night, I figured I’d watch most of St. Bonaventure’s game against Davidson — the second of three games that night on CBS Sports Network — before going to bed with maybe 10 minutes left.

Then...all of this happened:

St. Bonaventure 117, Davidson 113 3OT
Reilly Center, St. Bonaventure, NY

The first half was fine, but unremarkable. The Bonnies raced out to an early lead behind four unexpected threes from Courtney Stockard, and Davidson responded with a run of its own to go up four at the break. By the time we got to the 10-minute mark, the game was tied again.

It wasn’t a surprise that this game was close, of course. Bonaventure had hit its stride after stumbling out of the gate to begin Atlantic 10 play and was starting to look like one of the conference’s best teams. As for the Wildcats, they had won four in a row and seven out of eight. Led by senior Player of the Year candidate Peyton Aldridge, they were beginning to prove that we had overlooked them in the preseason.

I had hoped that by this point St. Bonaventure, objectively the better team at that point, would have separated itself so I wouldn’t feel like I HAD to stay up and watch the rest. And so I decided to watch until the under-8 timeout.

The problem was, play never stopped. The teams traded baskets as the clock went under eight minutes. Then seven. Then six. During one stretch that took 1:07, Kellan Grady gave Davidson the lead on a jumper, Nelson Kaputo took it right back, Jon Axel Gudmundsson then made a layup, and Jaylen Adams responded with a three.

In that wild spurt, the score went from 65-64 Bonnies to 70-68 Bonnies, with three lead changes in between.

I wasn’t going to bed at that timeout.

Then the under-4 came, seemingly seconds later. The first play out of that break was a three from Aldridge, and when Grady dunked to make it 77-74 Davidson, I really thought the Wildcats would hold on. The Bonnies were missing free throws and open looks. It just didn’t seem like their night.

LaDarien Griffin had other ideas.

After an Aldridge missed free throw with 18 seconds left, Griffin came down and tied the game, sending us to overtime.

OK so I was committed to seeing this one through.

Matt Mobley and Aldridge opened the overtime by trading threes, which set the tone for hte first overtime. As Davidson stayed close, Adams hit two from downtown. Mobley hit another to put the Bonnies up by four with just under a minute left. Aldridge again responded with one of his own.

A pair of clutch free throws from Grady with three seconds left sent us to the second overtime. Neither team scored a field goal in the final two minutes of that one, but Adams fouled out, and it appeared that the path was clear for Davidson to survive. But again, the teams traded free throws down the stretch and Grady hit the tying pair to push the game into a third OT.

Davidson scored the first four points of the period, but with 3:59 to go, Aldridge fouled out of the game. He finished with 45 points, eight threes, and 12 rebounds. Seconds later, a three-point play from Mobley tied it. With Mobley having taken over in Adams’ absence, the Bonnies had momentum. When the Wildcats went back up three, Caputo was fouled on a three and promptly tied the game.

St. Bonaventure never trailed again. Mobley hit seven free throws in the final 1:07 to seal the game.

What they said

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt:

“It was a great game. A great game to coach. I give kudos out to our community. Without our students here, they rallied around us and they came and they were terrific. We wouldn’t have won without them.”

Davidson coach Bob McKillop:

“I’m just thrilled with the way our guys fought. They played their hearts out. They did everything they could to win the game. Just everything they possibly could have done. We are a better team because of this experience.

“They emptied their tank. They gave every ounce of effort they possible could have.”

Weird stats

  • Eight players fouled out
  • Eight players played at least 40 minutes and three players (all for Davidson) played at least 50
  • Grady shot just 3-14 from three but still finished with 39 points. He hit all 16 of his free throw attempts.
  • Aldridge was 8-11 from three
  • Three players (Adams, Mobley, and Stockard) combined for 96 of St. Bonaventure’s 117 points
  • Davidson’s starters took 71 of the team’s 75 field goal attempts
  • St. Bonaventure committed only 11 turnovers in 55 minutes