DALLAS – They say everything is bigger in Texas. In terms of what tonight’s game means for the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, this saying couldn’t be any truer.
Coming off Tuesday night’s 65-58 victory over UCLA, the Bonnies earned their first NCAA tournament win since 1970 and punched their ticket to Dallas.
With a loser-goes-home situation eminent, the Bonnies look to expand on their winningest season in program history and advance to the next round.
Tonight, the No. 11 seeded Bonnies (26-7), face off against the No. 6 Florida Gators (20-12) at American Airlines Center in Dallas during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Bonnies come into this game with 26 wins, one win more than the team had in 1970 when it made it all the way to the Final Four.
Nov. 17, 2016, marked the last meeting between the Bonnies and Gators, where the Bonnies would eventually fall 73-66. Aside from playing in front of a national audience, one of the greatest differences between the two squads’ last meeting: the addition of Courtney Stockard to the Bonnies’ lineup.
Having missed the last two years with the same foot injury, Stockard will finally have his shot at the Gators. The redshirt junior forward is averaging 24 points over his last five games, including 26 points in a win against the most decorated college basketball team in history, UCLA, Tuesday night in Dayton. Stockard also compiled 12 three-pointers and 39 rebounds in those five games, easily making him the Bonnies most consistent player during that time.
Senior guards Jaylen Adams (37.3) and Matt Mobley (37.5) come into tonight averaging the most minutes played each game this season. Bonnies fans will look to this backcourt tandem to carry the game’s momentum and pace against the third best team in the SEC.
Florida lost its first game of the SEC tournament against Arkansas after a six-day layoff following the conclusion of the regular season. Coming into tonight’s game, the Gators have had another six days since their last competition.
Now in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, St. Bonaventure will look to take advantage of the Gators’ layoff and continue playing on the biggest stage this team has seen in program history. Tip-off is set for 9:57 (EST).
TAPinto Greater Olean reporters Christian Gravius and Lucas Sperduti will be bringing full coverage of the game live from press row at American Airlines Center.
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