St. Bonaventure is off to an 8-2 start, its best in six seasons under coach Jim Baron. Give guard Tim Winn a lot of the credit for win No. 8.
The 5-foot-10 sophomore from Niagara Falls went on a 10-point tear the last three minutes to lead Bona past Oral Roberts, 70-67, Monday in the semifinals of the Christmas San Juan Shootout. Winn finished with 23 points, his second-highest total this season.
Bona, which has won its last three, will meet 15th-ranked Iowa in the championship game today at 5:30. Iowa had eight players score eight points or more Monday night in an 82-58 semifinal rout of Southern Mississippi.
Winn took care of the rest of the scoring after the Bonnies, who had trailed by as many as eight (48-40) in the second half, came back to within two, 62-60. His personal run began with a three-point shot with three minutes left to give the Bonnies the lead for good, 63-62. Winn's layup made it a three-point advantage before Rock Walls' free throw cut it to 65-63. Winn answered that with another trey.
Oral Roberts, a new member of the Mid-Continent Conference this season, crept back to within one with 42 seconds left after baskets by Derrick Taylor and Walls, but Winn made a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to close out the scoring.
Winn hit 9 of 16 field-goal attempts after an 11-for-46 slump (including 4 for 26 from three-point range) the previous four games. He is averaging 15.1 points.
The Bonnies shot 48.3, their best percentage since a victory at Pittsburgh five games ago.
"We had been struggling shooting the ball . . . tonight we stepped up and made some big plays," Baron said.
Bona, which was outscored, 36-9, from beyond the three-point arc, withstood a barrage of treys in the first half. Oral Roberts made 9 of 13 from outside the arc in the opening half, but only 3 of 10 in the second.
"I thought we defended very well, forcing them to turn the ball over in the second half and getting them out of synch coming off of their screens," Baron said.
Seven of the Golden Eagles' first eight field goals were three-pointers, including three by sophomore guard Eric Perry, as they took a 25-18 lead. The Bonnies then ran off eight straight points, but came back for a 33-31 halftime lead.
Rashaan Palmer had 16 points for Bona. Senior guard Tim Gill led Oral Roberts with 18 points.
Iowa (9-1) hit 11 of 15 shots from three-point range in its rout of Southern Mississippi. Freshman forward Ricky Davis led Iowa with 16 points.