By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93
March 15, 2012
After St. Bonaventure’s Atlantic 10 Tournament championship last year, the student body did not have to wait long for another game. After returning to the campus late at night on the previous Sunday, a thousand or so students boarded buses and cars on this day and drove down to Nashville, Tenn. for the NCAA Tournament 2nd Round game to be played on March 16.
The minute the bus let the students off outside Bridgestone Arena on Friday, the “This Is Bona Territory” chants were deafening. The entire plaza was filled with people in Bonas attire. The smallest school in the tournament had the biggest crowd in the Nashville Regional bracket.
In addition to the students at (and around) Bridgestone Arena, countless alumni were present, enjoying something most of them never had the chance to experience and trying to take everything in. It truly was one of the most memorable days.
Once the game started, the excitement continued. Little St. Bonaventure (under 2,000 students) hung with mighty Florida St. (over 40,000 students) until the very end. Down three points, senior Da’Quan Cook missed two mid-range jumpers in a row as the clock expired. However, a Florida St. player had his foot on the line when he inbounded the ball with under a minute left. Who knows – the ending may have been different.
The 14th-seeded Bonnies were led by senior Andrew Nicholson’s 20 points, but 3rd-seeded Florida St. had just enough to erase a six-point halftime deficit and escape with a 66-63 victory.
Bonaventure had not won a tournament game since reaching the 1970 Final Four.
“This was a special game for Bonaventure,” coach Mark Schmidt said. “This was a new beginning for Bonaventure.”