This game began about as well as St. Bonaventure could have hoped. They scored the first seven points of the game, and FSU star Michael Snaer picked up two fouls in the first two and a half minutes. Andrew Nicholson – with NBA scouts in attendance seeing how he played against an elite defense – couldn’t miss, and the 14-seed Bonnies took a 34-28 lead at halftime. Nicholson made all five of his shots in the first half and scored 12 points.
The Bonnies did a great job controlling the tempo, and FSU rushed shots and played tight.
The 2nd half began with more of the same, with Nicholson making his first three shots. And when he finally missed, the Bonnies got a tip-in.
But then things started to turn. FSU hung close due to the the play of senior Bernard James, and Nicholson began to miss (8 straight shots).
Late in the 2nd half FSU used a 12-0 run to take an eight point lead, and though the Bonnies closed that to 3 on several possessions, they couldn’t make the shot to tie. St. Bonaventure got the final possession of the game and missed a three and two putbacks. It finally ended with a Bernard James block – his 4th of the game – and FSU survived.
FSU wins 66-63 and moves on to face Cincinnati.
It would have been the first major upset of the 2012 NCAA tournament, and the first St. Bonaventure win in the tournament since 1970.
Bernard James made 8 0f 11 shots and led FSU with 19 points and 9 rebounds. The Seminoles’ leading scorer – Michael Snaer – failed to score for the first time in his career.
For the Bonnies, Andrew Nicholson had 20 points and 7 rebounds in his final college game.