One night after one of the best out-of-conference victories in recent St. Bonaventure men's basketball history, coach Mark Schmidt's team didn't have the offensive power, inside play and the legs to stand up to a well-balanced Texas Christian team Saturday night in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla., in the Florida Panhandle.
The TCU Horned Frogs easily held off the gritty Bonnies (2-2) for an 89-79 victory to stay undefeated (6-0).
Playing again without their top scorer and offensive leader Jaylen Adams, the Bonnies couldn't match the firepower of the Horned Frogs, who put five players in double figures and piled up a 37-23 rebound advantage.
Sophomore guard Jaylen Fisher led coach Jamie Dixon's TCU team with 20 points. Six-foot-7 Kenrich Williams, a junior college transfer, had 16 points while 6-7 Australian Kouat Noi had 14 points and 6-11, 230 Vladimir Brodziansky had 11 points for the winners. Williams also had 12 rebounds.
Freshman Izaiah Brockington, making his second career start, led the Bonnies with 20 points on 5 for 9 shooting (4 of 8 from three-point range). Guard Matt Mobley had 18 points but struggled through a tough shooting night. He was 3 for 11 with all three baskets from outside the arc. Mobley made nine of 12 free throws.
Channing Stockard, the hero of Friday night's 63-61 upset of Maryland, had a career-high 16 points for Bona. LaDarien Griffin had 13 points in the loss.
Bona led, 12-10, but trailed 41-36 at halftime. It was an uphill struggled the rest of the way.
Whether Adams will be back for Bona's road games this week, at Siena on Wednesday and at the University at Buffalo on Saturday afternoon is not known. One thing is certain, they could use him, especially against tough opposition.
Facing a Maryland team which was 24-9 last season with a 12-6 record in the Big Ten was a difficult enough challenge without Adams, but somehow Schmidt's team persevered in their victory late Friday.
True, Maryland was a relatively young team, but the Terps had three outstanding sophomores who were in coach Mark Turgeon's regular rotation last season. They were point guard Anthony Cowan, 6-7 forward Justin Jackson of Toronto and guard Kevin Huerter, who was New York State's Mr. Basketball two years ago when he led Shenendehowa High of Clifton Park to a state championship. Also Maryland went into the game with a 5-0 record, four on its home floor including a win over Butler. On Saturday, the Terps rolled over New Mexico, 80-65.
Ten-point underdogs, the Bonnies pulled off the upset when Stockard scored on a layup with 3.2 seconds left. Maryland had tied the game on two free throws by Cowan with 25 seconds left. Bona set up the play for Stockard to win it with the help of a screen from Josh Ayeni. The winning basket gave Stockard a career-high 14 points, a rewarding development for a player who has dealt with bad injury luck since he arrived at Bona. He missed the last two seasons with foot injuries and was out of the lineup for two games this season with a groin injury.
Mobley led Bona with 16 points, including 10 for 10 at the free throw line. Ayeni scored 11.
Brockington played 32 minutes, scoring eight points. Griffin scored eight poinits with five rebounds and had a highlight-reel dunk off a lob from guard Nelson Kaputo in the first half.
Kaputo helped the defensive effort with four of Bona's 12 steals. Changing defenses frequently, the Bonnies force 20 turnovers that led to 20 points.
"I thought our guys out-scrapped, out-worked (Maryland)," said Schmidt. "It was a blue collar approach. . We are not going to out-talent guys. We have a chance to out-work guys. That's what we did."
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon didn't argue with that analysis.
"They played hard from the beginning," Turgeon said.
Neither side shot the lights out. Bona won despite not making a three-point basket in seven attempts but the defense hounded Maryland into a 5-23 performance from outside the arc. Bona shot 38.3 overall (21 of 55) while Maryland was 42.2 (19 of45). The Terps had a 36-29 rebounding advantage.
More important, Bona's defense held down the Terps' three sophomore stars. Cowan was the only Maryland player in double figures with 13 points on 4 of 10 shooting. Jackson scored just nine with a game-high eight rebounds. Huerter had five points, but shot only 2 of 9 and was just 1 of 7 on three-pointers.
It was St. Bonaventure's fourth win all-time over a Big 10 team, not including 11 wins against Penn State when the Nittany Lions were in the Atlantic 10.