Courtney Stockard Leads St. Bonaventure Past UCLA in 2018 NCAA First Four

Courtney Stockard Leads St. Bonaventure Past UCLA in 2018 NCAA First Four

UCLA has more national championships than any other program in men’s college basketball history, but that did nothing to help it during Tuesday’s First Four game in Dayton, Ohio, in the 2018 NCAA tournament.

The Atlantic 10’s St. Bonaventure Bonnies defeated the Pac-12’s Bruins, 65-58, setting up a showdown with the sixth-seeded Florida Gators in the round of 64 in the East Region.

Jaylen Adams played the role of hero with a jumper to break a 58-58 tie with less than a minute remaining even though he was a miserable 1-of-15 from the field before said shot.

While Adams hit the shot and three critical free throws on the ensuing possessions, Courtney Stockard led the way with 26 points and four steals in a game that took on a David vs. Goliath vibe thanks to UCLA’s 18 Final Four appearances and 11 national championships.

Crunch time consisted of multiple runs, as St. Bonaventure used a 12-0 spurt to seize a 58-51 lead before the Bruins answered right back with a 7-0 burst of their own. That’s when Adams put the game in his own hands, showing zero lack of confidence despite his abysmal shooting efficiency on the night.

This was not St. Bonaventure’s first dalliance with a school from a marquee conference this season. It beat both Maryland and Syracuse during the nonconference portion of its schedule, and it looked anything but intimidated in the one-and-done environment.

Adams (19.8 points per game) and Matt Mobley (18.5 points per game) are typically the driving forces for the offense, but UCLA’s defense kept each in check for most of the contest. Mobley finished with 14 points and seven rebounds but was just 4-of-12 from the field.

That the Bonnies advanced despite two uncharacteristically poor performances from their leaders could spell trouble for the Gators, especially if Stockard continues to serve as a matchup problem for opposing forwards with his ability to shoot from deep and attack the lane off the bounce.

St. Bonaventure needed someone to fill the void with Adams and Mobley struggling, and Stockard figures to give the Bonnies a third option moving forward after shining on the bright stage Tuesday.

As for UCLA, scoring a mere 58 points comes as a disappointing surprise.

According to Ken Pomeroy’s pace-adjusted metrics, the Bruins came into Tuesday boasting the No. 23 offense and the No. 110 defense in the country. However, their offense was nowhere to be found Tuesday, as they finished with 20 turnovers and a 10-of-30 shooting clip from deep.

Aaron Holiday is typically UCLA’s most reliable option, but he turned the ball over 11 times, nullifying his 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He forced the issue multiple times in the final minute, leading to crucial turnovers when the Bruins were still within striking distance.

St. Bonaventure focused additional attention on Holiday from the opening tip since UCLA’s second-leading scorer, Kris Wilkes, didn’t start because he was late for the team bus Monday, per Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.

He was part of the rotation in the second half and posted 10 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the offense of Stockard and UCLA’s turnover issues.

The Bonnies can now focus on their upcoming clash with Florida on Thursday. The Gators have wins over Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Auburn and Kentucky on their resume and made the Elite Eight last season, which suggests many will consider them the favorite in this matchup.

However, St. Bonaventure proved it can come through in pressure-packed situations against marquee programs Tuesday. The Bonnies will look to do so again in the round of 64.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page

March 13, 2018 at 09:20PM


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