DALLAS – There’s a reason it’s called March Madness. In the past six days, the Bonnies traveled from St. Bonaventure to Washington D.C., to Dayton, Ohio, and finally, to Dallas, Texas, all while playing four games.
On Tuesday night in Dayton, the team earned its first NCAA tournament win in 48 years. The Bonnies, however, were not as successful on the court during Thursday’s 77-62 loss to Florida.
While the Gators were the team guarding St. Bonaventure, fatigue may have been the Bonnies biggest competition.
From the tipoff, the Bonnies lacked momentum, and three fouls in the first 10 minutes forced Jaylen Adams to watch the majority of the first half from the bench.
“I’m not one to make excuses, but it’s one of those things,” Adams said after the game. “We were a little gassed, you could tell.
A well-rehearsed Gators’ defense kept the Bonnies struggling to gain momentum early on.
Last season, when the Bonnies and Gators faced off in Lakeland, Florida, the Bonnies leading scoring duo of Adams and Matt Mobley combined for 48 points. Thursday night, the pair combined for a total of just 21 points.
“I think it was definitely to our advantage to understand how good they are individually and obviously as a team,” Florida coach Mike White said. “I think if this was the first time we had played them, we definitely wouldn’t have been as prepared.”
The Bonnies lone glimmer of hope in the Lone Star State came with 5:45 left in the opening half. Matt Mobley came up big with a monster dunk that left the hoop shaking and had the large crowd of Bonnies fans on their feet.
From there, the Bonnies were able to get a brief one point lead, the last one they would see all game, before heading into the locker room at the half trailing the Gators 27-25.
Coming out after the half, Florida began to run away with the game. A missed shot by the Bonnies here, a missed block there, and soon the No. 6 Seed Florida proved to be the better team compared to the No. 11 Seed Bonnies.
“They came out, punched us in the mouth, and we couldn’t really get over the hump after that. So that’s about it,” Mobley said.
“We just lost to a better team tonight,” St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt added.
Courtney Stockard led the Bonnies, ending the night with 14 points, while Adams collected 11 and Mobley added 10.
For Florida, forward Egor Koulechov came up big with 20 points and six rebounds, while Jalen Hudson followed close behind with 16 points of his own.
Perhaps the most under-the-radar player for St. Bonaventure, three-year captain Idris Taqqee, ended his college career with 13 rebounds, along with two blocks and two steals.
“He’s one of the top five most unselfish players that I’ve ever coached,” Schmidt said. “He epitomizes the toughness that we try to play with and the grit and the blue-collar approach.”
While tonight marked the end of the road for Adams, Mobley and Taqqee, the 2017-18 season will go down in history as one of the Bonnies greatest of all-time.
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