QUEENS, N.Y. – Andrew Nicholson's game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds left - his second consecutive game-winning shot – lifted St. Bonaventure (5-2) to a 67-66 victory over host St. John's (5-2) Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena.
The Bonnies trailed by as many as 10 with 13:02 left in the second half, but rallied for their second straight dramatic win and snapped the Red Storm five-game win streak.
"It's a great victory," said head coach Mark Schmidt of the Bonnies first victory at St. John's since Jan. 2, 1922. "I told the guys with five seconds left in the game that it was the same situation as last year (when St. John's won 69-68). Last year we didn't finish and this year, we wanted to finish."
After Nicholson's traditional three-point play with 1:31 left gave his team the lead, St. John's D.J. Kennedy went the length of the floor for a layin to regain the lead again, 64-63.
Bonnies' forward Da'Quan Cook drew a foul and made both free throws to get the lead back, before Dwight Hardy – who finished with a game- and career-high 24 points – contorted for a tough finish at the rim with 29 seconds left.
St. John's nearly got its 20 turnover of the game on the Bonnies' ensuing inbounds play, but after regaining composure, Adegboye and the offense found Nicholson free at nearly the same spot on the floor from which he knocked down the game-winner versus Buffalo on Saturday.
Nicholson finished with 19 points and 13 boards for his third straight double-double, while junior G Mike Davenport poured in a career-high 22 points and paced the Bonnies throughout. Senior backcourt mate and reigning Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week Ogo Adegboye knocked down three of his five 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.
St. Bonaventure trimmed the St. John's lead with a 12-2 run powered by seven of Nicholson's 17 second-half points. After just a pair of free throws in the opening stanza, the junior Mississauga native came alive in the second with 17 points and eight boards in 15 foul-limited minutes.
In the first half, the Red Storm got out to a 13-2 lead to start before SBU answered with a 15-2 spurt of its own to knot it at 17 at the 8:14 mark. Still tied, 28-28, with 2:32 to play in the half, Justin Brownlee's dunk helped St. John's to a five point cushion before a Davenport triple cut the lead to two.
The Bonnies return to the Reilly Center on Saturday for another non-conference tilt against Niagara. The tip is scheduled for 4 p.m.
NOTES: The Bonnies used the same starting lineup for the seventh straight game … St. Bonaventure athletics director Steve Watson and associate director Steve Mest hosted a New York alumni gathering prior to the game … the win also marked the Bonnies' first over a Big East opponent since Nov. 23, 2008 (Rutgers) … Nicholson is now just one point shy of 1,000 for his career … his game winning jumper was reviewed and could have made him the 38th player at SBU to accomplish the feat.